Haisla outline where they believe Enbridge Gateway plans are inadequate

Haisla NationIn their filing with the Joint Review Panel, the Haisla Nation point to what they say is inadequate information provided by Enbridge on the Northern Gateway project, including:

To date the material provided by Northern Gateway does not adequately explain the known risks inherent to the proposed project and lacks significant detail with  respect to the extent and degree of potential effects. The material provided by  Northern Gateway does not provide sufficient information to determine how the  risks inherent to the proposed project will be minimized, nor how the potential for  significant adverse effects will be avoided.

There are a number of areas where the Haisla Nation has identified inadequateinformation, including but not limited to:

Design: there is a lack of information about detailed design  considerations and monitoring procedures for pipeline integrity to avoid  accidents and malfunctions due to corrosion, seismic events, and terrain  instability. A notable example of this problem is in the Kitimat River  Valley, where Northern Gateway has identified a high level of risk but has  not offered any solutions. Another is the concern about the corrosive nature of the material to be transported. Northern Gateway denies that  this is a problem, yet the US Department of Transportation Pipeline and
Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) has commissioned a  major study to investigate the corrosive nature of diluted bitumen in pipelines.

Materials to be transported: there is a lack of information about the fate, behaviour and effects of diluted bitumen, synthetic crude and condensate in the cold water marine and freshwater environment. This concern has been identified by federal government participants as well as by numerous intervenors, and Northern Gateway has acknowledged the need for more research and information. Yet, Northern Gateway has not agreed to undertake this work so that it is available for review in this process.

Volume of material to be transported: Northern Gateway’s application is for a pipeline that will transport 525,000 barrels of diluted bitumen per day. Yet the pipeline will be built to have a capacity of up to 850,000 barrels per day, and Northern Gateway’s application materials identifies future phases with increased volumes up to this amount. The risk assessments conducted by Northern Gateway are premised on 525,000 barrels per day, and fail to contemplate higher volumes which would affect a number of matters, including but not limited to: pipeline risk; volume of potential spills; and tanker traffic volume. The risk assessment needs to be revised, to address the risks associated with the pipeline transporting 850,000 barrels of diluted bitumen per day. Without this revision, Northern Gateway is asking the JRP to conduct its assessment on incomplete information that, by definition, understates the true potential risk of the proposed project.

.Baseline information: Northern Gateway has not undertaken the studies necessary to generate baseline ecosystem assessments for the Kitimat River drainage and Kitimat Arm, including seasonal habitat utilization by species and life stages throughout the watershed. This information is necessary to determine both stream crossing construction strategy and to assess the potential impacts of a spill, as well as to determine how to respond to a spill and when. A ‘one-size fits all’ approach to stream crossings during construction and spill response, when adequateinformation about seasonal habitat utilization by species and life stages throughout the watershed is lacking, is not adequate. This information is needed to determine when construction can proceed and what timeframe limitations there are for activities, to ensure that adverse effects to fish and wildlife are avoided. This information is also required, should a spill occur, to enable a proper assessment of the extent and degree of adverse effects as well as to provide a proper basis for restoration of affected habitat.

Past spills: there is a lack of information about the cause, effects, emerging information and lessons learned as a result of Enbridge’s large diluted bitumen spill into the Kalamazoo River. We know that 3,785,400 liters of diluted bitumen were pumped out of the pipeline, with a largeportion of that ending up in to the Kalamazoo River. We know the large volume of the spill was the result of numerous attempts to re-pressurize the pipeline despite repeated spill alarms being triggered. We know that government agencies stepped in to manage the spill because Enbridge’s response was not swift enough. We know that Enbridge’s clean-up costs to date exceed insurance coverage. We know that two years later Enbridge is still under a clean-up mandate from the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and that portions of the Kalamazoo River are still closed to recreational use. What we do not know, however, is what the cause of the pipeline rupture was, what Enbridge has learned about how diluted bitumen behaves once it is released into the environment, or how a local population that relies on the river for fishing, for traditional harvesting and gathering of foods and medicines would have been affected.

Oil spill response: there is a lack of information about oil spill response and planning, including best practices, best available technology and the local on-site equipment and personnel required full-time to respond properly to a spill. This is largely due to the lack of adequate baseline information on which to base response planning. Further, Northern Gateway has demonstrated an unwillingness to fully consider how spill response would be carried out until it receives a certificate for its project.

Yet Northern Gateway seeks to rely on spill response as a mitigation strategy. If Northern Gateway seeks to rely on spill response as a mitigation strategy, it should provide in detail, prior to project approval, what its oil spill response would include and demonstrate that it is logistically, technologically and economically feasible. Northern Gateway has not done this.

.Mitigation measures: there is a lack of information about existing proven mitigation measures and their effectiveness in cleaning up an oil spill, restoring habitat and regenerating the species dependent on the affected habitat. This should be evaluated as part of project review, prior to project approval. Where Northern Gateway seeks to rely on a mitigation measure as a basis for project approval, it must demonstrate that the proposed mitigation will actually work.

Avoidance of any significant adverse effects must be the primary goal and dictate the design and location of the proposed project. Mitigation (e.g. complete resolution) of any potential environmental effects should be the preferred option, when all efforts to avoid such effects fail. Compensation for environmental effects must be a last resort and relied on only when best efforts have been made to avoid or mitigate effects. Unfortunately, the material submitted by Northern Gateway suggests that compensation is the primary option and lack of evidence on project design and procedures makes it impossible to evaluate how potential effects could be avoided or mitigated.

For example, Northern Gateway proposes to have spill interception points (river control points) along the Kitimat River Valley as part of its mitigation, but has no realistic plan in place that takes into consideration response delay times, rates of transportation, access issues or baseline ecosystem, fish and wildlife information for the receiving environment.



Main story Haisla Nation confirms it opposes Northern Gateway, demands Ottawa veto Enbridge pipeline; First Nation also outlines “minimum conditions” if Ottawa approves the project

Haisla Nation Response to NGP Information Request  (pdf)

Haisla Nation confirms it opposes Northern Gateway, demands Ottawa veto Enbridge pipeline; First Nation also outlines “minimum conditions” if Ottawa approves the project

Haisla NationThe Haisla Nation has confirmed in a filing with the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel that it opposes the Enbridge Northern Gateway project.

The document, filed June 29, 2012, is one of the most significant filed with the JRP during all the years of the debate over the controversial Northern Gateway, setting out a three stage process that will govern, whether Enbridge or the federal government like it or not, the future of the Northern Gateway pipeline project.

First, the Haisla Nation affirms that it opposes the Northern Gateway project

Second, the Haisla Nation is demanding that the federal government, in recognition of aboriginal rights and title, reject the Northern Gateway project on Haisla traditional territory.

Third, probably anticipating that Stephen Harper and his government will attempt to force the Northern Gateway on British Columbia, the Haisla are demanding meaningful consultation and set out a stringent set of minimum conditions for the project on Haisla traditional territory.

The Haisla Nation’s lawyers filed the document today late today, June 29, in response to a series of questions posed to the First Nation by Enbridge through the Joint Review process.

The Haisla also say that there already projects that are better suited to their traditional territory, the liquified natural gas projects.

The Haisla position that Ottawa must reject the pipeline if First Nations oppose it is the opening round in the constitutional battle over not just the pipeline, but entire question of aboriginal rights and title. So far the government of Stephen Harper has said that First Nations do not have a “veto” on the pipeline and terminal project.

The Haisla also refuse to answer questions that Enbridge posed on the liquified natural gas projects because the filing argues, the questions are beyond the scope of the current Joint Review inquiry.

Detailed excerpts

Haisla outline where they believe Enbridge Gateway plans are inadequate

Haisla outline conditions, concerns for Northern Gateway project



Why the Haisla oppose Northern Gateway

In the filing with the Joint Review panel, the Haisla outline nine reasons for opposition to the Northern Gateway project:

1. Northern Gateway is proposing to site its project in a location that places at risk the ecological integrity of a large portion and significant aspects of Haisla Nation Territory and resources.

2. All three aspects of the proposed project – the pipelines, the marine terminal and tankers – have the potential to impact Haisla Nation lands, waters and resources.

3. Northern Gateway has neither conducted sufficient due diligence nor provided sufficient information with respect to the assessment of a number of critical aspects of the proposed project, including but not limited to project design, impacts, risks, accidents and malfunctions, spill response, potential spill consequences and the extent, degree and duration of any significant adverse environmental effects.

4. There are significant risks of spills of diluted bitumen, synthetic crude, and condensate from corrosion, landslide hazards, seismic events along the pipeline route and at the terminal site; as well asloss of cargo or service fuels from tanker accidents, with no realistic plan provided for spill containment, cleanup, habitat restoration or regeneration of species dependent on the affected habitat.

5. Diluted bitumen, synthetic crude and condensate are all highly toxic to the environment and living systems and the consequences and effects of a spill could be devastating on the resources that support the Haisla Nation way of life, and would therefore have significant adverse effects on Haisla Nation culture and cultural heritage and aboriginal rights.

6. Risk assessments and technology have not overcome the potential for human error, wherein it is well established that 80% of oil tanker accidents that cause oil spills at sea are a result of human errors: badly handled manoeuvres, neglected maintenance, insufficient checking of systems, lack of communication between crew members, fatigue, or an inadequate response to a minor incident
causing it to escalate into a major accident often resulting in groundings and collisions (http://www.black-tides.com/uk/source/oil-tanker-accidents/causes-accidents.php). It has also become increasingly obvious that maintenance of pipeline integrity and the remote detection of pipeline ruptures is inadequate as exemplified by major environmental damage from recent pipeline ruptures in Michigan and Alberta.

7. The proposed project requires the alienation of Haisla Nation aboriginal title land, and the federal government has refused to engage in consultation with the Haisla Nation about the potential impacts of the proposed project on Haisla Nation aboriginal rights, including aboriginal title.

8. The proposed project would require the use of Haisla Nation aboriginal title land for a purpose that is inconsistent with Haisla Nation stewardship principles and with the Haisla Nation’s own aspirations for this land.

9. For the reasons set out above, the proposed project would constitute an unjustified infringement of Haisla Nation aboriginal title and rights. It would therefore be illegal for the Crown to authorize the project.

Canada is obliged to decline approval of the project

Up until now, the federal government has refused to engage First Nations in the northwestern region over the issue of the Northern Gateway pipeline and terminal, saying that the constitutionally mandated consultation will take place after the Joint Review Panel has released its report. However, the government’s Bill C-38, which gives the federal cabinet (actually the prime minister) the power to decide the pipeline means that the JRP report will be less significant than it would have been before the Conservatives gained a majority government in May, 2010.

The Haisla say the nation has “repeatedly requested early engagement by federal government decision-makers to develop, together with the Haisla Nation, a meaningful process for consultation and accommodation in relation to the proposed project.”

The filing says JRP and “the federal government’s ‘Aboriginal Consultation Framework’ have been imposed on the Haisla Nation and other First Nations, with significant aspects of the concerns expressed by the Haisla Nation about this approach being ignored.”

The Haisla says it “continues to seek a commitment from the federal government to the joint development of a meaningful process to assess the proposed project and its potential impacts on Haisla Nation aboriginal rights, including aboriginal title.”

Later in the filing the Haisla say:

The Haisla Nation has…  repeatedly asked federal decision-makers to commit to the joint development of a meaningful consultation process with the Haisla Nation. The federal Crown decision-makers have made it very clear that they have no intention of meeting with the Haisla Nation until the Joint Review Panel’s review of the proposed project is complete…

The federal Crown has failed to provide any clarity, however, about what procedural aspects of consultation it has delegated to Northern Gateway. Northern Gateway has not consulted with the Haisla Nation and has not advised the Haisla Nation that Canada has delegated any aspects of the consultation process.

The Haisla then go on to say:

Canada is legally required to work with the Haisla Nation to develop and follow such a process. If the process establishes that the approval of the proposed project would constitute an unjustified infringement of Haisla Nation aboriginal rights or aboriginal title, then Canada would be legally obliged to decline approval.

Deficiencies and Conditions

Enbridge asked the Haisla that if there are conditions of approval that would nonetheless
address, in whole or in part, the Nation’s concerns; and then asked for details “on the nature of any conditions that the Haisla Nation would suggest be imposed on the Project, should it be approved.”

The Haisla reply that because there are “significant deficiencies in the evidence provided by Northern Gateway to date.” The nation goes on to say that “the acknowledged risks that have not been adequately addressed in the proposed project.” The Haisla Nation then says it “does not foresee any conditions that could be attached to the project as currently conceived and presented that would eliminate the Haisla Nation’s concerns.”

The Haisla then repeat that Enbridge has not provided sufficient information so that

it is difficult for the Haisla Nation to identify conditions to attach to the proposed project as it is still trying to fully understand the potential impacts of the project and the proposed mitigation. This is primarily because there is insufficient information provided by Northern Gateway in its application material.

Although we have attempted to elicit additional information through the JRP’s information request process, Northern Gateway has not provide adequate and complete answers to the questions posed.

The Haisla then anticipate that Stephen Harper will force the pipeline and terminal on British Columbia and say:

Nevertheless, if the project were to be approved AFTER the Crown meaningfully
consulted and accommodated the Haisla Nation with respect to the impacts of
the proposed project on its aboriginal title and rights, and if that consultation were
meaningful yet did not result in changes to the proposed project, the following
conditions would, at a minimum, have to be attached to the project.

The emphasis of the word “after” is in the original document.

The document that then goes on to present an extensive list of list of conditions the Haisla believe should be imposed on the Enbridge Northern Gateway if the project goes ahead.

The conditions include comprehensive monitoring of water quality, fisheries, wildlife and birds, vegetation throughout the Kitimat River watershed, Kitimat Arm and Douglas Channel; development of comprehensive spill response capability throughout the Kitimat River Valley, Kitmat Arm and Douglas Channel.

The Haisla also want soil and erosion control plans; water management plans; control and storage plans for fuels, lubricants and other potential contaminants; detailed plans for equipment deployment and habitat reclamation of disturbed or cleared areas.

The Haisla also want much more detailed studies before any construction, including analysis of terrain stability and slide potential throughout the pipeline corridor and at the storage tank and terminal site; engineering designs to mitigate seismic risk and local weather extremes; development of pipeline integrity specifications and procedures including best practices for leak detection; storage tank integrity specifications, maintenance and monitoring; assessment of spill containment, spill response and spill capacity requirements throughout the Kitimat River watershed, Kitimat Arm and Douglas Channel.

On tankers the Haisla want more details beyond the plans already filed by Enbridge including
detailed tanker specifications, detailed tanker and tug traffic management procedures; detailed port management specifications and procedures including operating limits for tanker operation, movement and docking.

The Haisla are also demanding “on going consultation” on all issues involved by the National Energy Board prior to any decision on any changes to or sign off on conditions and commitments to any certificate that is issued.

The Haisla want an independent third party be part of a committee to oversee the construction proecess to monitor certificate compliance during construction of the marine terminal and the pipeline.

Once the pipeline and terminal operational, the Haisla want conditions imposed on the project that include ongoing monitoring of the terrain along the pipeline, a system that would automatically shut down the pipeline shutdown whenever a leak detection alarm occurs.

The Hasila want conditions “on the disposal of any contamination that must be removed as
a result of an accident or malfunction resulting in a spill that will minimize additional habitat destruction and maximize the potential for regeneration of habitat and resources damaged by the spill.”

As well as more detailed parameters for the tankers, tugs, and pilotage procedures, the Haisla want approval of any future changes in those procedures.

The Haisla are also concerned about the “alienation” of a large area of their traditional territory by the construction of the Northern Gateway project as well as the “additional infrastructure” required by adequate spill response capability and spill response equipment cache sites.

The Haisla say “all of the land alienations required for the proposed project would profoundly
infringe Haisla Nation aboriginal title which is, in effect, a constitutionally protected ownership right” and goes on to say “proposed project would use Haisla Nation aboriginal title land in a way that is inconsistent with Haisla Nation stewardship of its lands, waters and resources and with the Haisla Nation’s own aspirations for the use of this land.”

The Haisla filing then goes on to say:

Since aboriginal title is a constitutionally protected right to use the aboriginal title land for the purposes the Haisla Nation sees fit, this adverse use would fundamentally infringe the aboriginal title of the Haisla Nation.

The report also expresses concerns about the ongoing socio-economic affects of such a large project.

It concludes by saying:

These issues are important. They go to the very heart of Haisla Nation culture.
They go to the Haisla Nation relationship with the lands, waters, and resources of
its Territory. A major spill from the pipeline at the marine terminal or from a
tanker threatens to sever us from or damage our lifestyle built on harvesting and
gathering seafood and resources throughout our Territory.

Northern Gateway proposes a pipeline across numerous tributaries to the Kitimat
River. A spill into these watercourses is likely to eventually occur. The evidence
before the Panel shows that pipeline leaks or spills occur with depressing

One of Enbridge’s own experiences, when it dumped 3,785,400 liters of diluted
bitumen into the Kalamazoo River, shows that the concern of a spill is real and
not hypothetical. A thorough understanding of this incident is critical to the
current environmental assessment since diluted bitumen is what Northern
Gateway proposes to transport. However, nothing was provided in the application
materials to address the scope of impact, the level of effort required for cleanup
and the prolonged effort required to restore the river. An analysis of this incident
would provide a basis for determining what should be in place to maintain
pipeline integrity as well as what should be in place locally to respond to any spill.

The Kalamazoo spill was aggravated by an inability to detect the spill, by an
inability to respond quickly and effectively, and by an inability to predict the fate
of the diluted bitumen in the environment. As a result, the Kalamazoo River has
suffered significant environmental damage. The long-term cumulative
environmental damage from this spill is yet to be determined.

Looking to the future, the Haisla are also asking for a plan for the eventual decommissioning of the project, pointing out that “ Northern Gateway has not provided information on decommissioning that is
detailed enough to allow the Haisla Nation to set out all its concerns about the
potential impacts from decommissioning at this point in time.”

Haisla leaders have already expressed concern about the legacy of the Eurocan paper plant. Now it tells Enbridge

This is not good enough. The Haisla Nation needs to know how Northern Gateway proposes to undertake decommissioning, what the impacts will be, and that there will be financial security in place to ensure this is done properly.

Asserts aboriginal title

The section of the report concludes by saying:

The Haisla Nation asserts aboriginal title to its Territory. Since the essence of
aboriginal title is the right of the aboriginal title holder to use land according to its
own discretion, Haisla Nation aboriginal title entails a constitutionally protected
ability of the Haisla Nation to make decisions concerning land and resource use
within Haisla Nation Territory. Any government decision concerning lands,
waters, and resource use within Haisla Nation Territory that conflicts with a
Haisla lands, waters or resources use decision is only valid to the extent that the
government can justify this infringement of Haisla Nation aboriginal title.

The Supreme Court of Canada has established that infringements of aboriginal
title can only be justified if there has been, in the case of relatively minor
infringements, consultation with the First Nation. Most infringements will require
something much deeper than consultation if the infringement is to be justified.
The Supreme Court has noted that in certain circumstances the consent of the
aboriginal nation may be required. Further, compensation will ordinarily be
required if an infringement of aboriginal title is to be justified [Delgamuukw].

The Haisla then go on to say that the preferred use of the land in question is for the liquified natural gas projects:

The Haisla Nation has a chosen use for the proposed terminal site. This land
was selected in the Haisla Nation’s treaty land offer submitted to British Columbia
and Canada in 2005, as part of the BC Treaty Negotiation process, as lands
earmarked for Haisla Nation economic development.

The Haisla Nation has had discussions with the provincial Crown seeking to
acquire these lands for economic development purposes for a liquefied natural
gas project. The Haisla Nation has had discussions with potential partners about
locating a liquefied natural gas facility on the site that Northern Gateway
proposes to acquire for the marine terminal. The Haisla Nation sees these lands
as appropriate for a liquefied natural gas project as such a project is not nearly
as detrimental to the environment as a diluted bitumen export project.

Northwest Coast Energy News is attempting to contact Enbridge Northern Gateway for comment on the Haisla filing. Response may be delayed by the Canada Day holiday.


Haisla Nation Response to NGP Information Request  (pdf)

The Empire Strikes Back I: Enbridge takes on First Nations, small intervenors

Douglas Channel
Douglas Channel at the site of the proposed Enbridge marine terminal, June 27, 2012. (Robin Rowland/Northwest Coast Energy News)

Enbridge is striking back against the First Nations and intervenors who oppose the Northern Gateway pipeline and marine terminal projects by filing questions that those groups must answer as part of the Joint Review Process.

On May 11, 2012, Enbridge filed questions with 24 organizations,  and from the questions, it appears that Enbridge isn’t  just building a strictly legal case in their favour but are preparing to try and discredit opponents.

Enbridge’s questions are part of the legal process. For months, First Nations and intervenors have been filing a whole series of questions asking for clarification of items in the Enbridge’s filings on the project with Joint Review Process and Enbridge has the legal right to ask the First Nations and intervenors to clarify their positions.

However, the difference is that Enbridge is a giant corporation which can afford to spend millions of dollars on both the approval process as well as the current nationwide advertising process, while some of the intervenors are made up of volunteers or retirees working on their own time. Sources among the intervenors have been saying for months that they believe that Enbridge is following a perceived policy of working to wear down the opponents so much they burn out and drop out of the process.

A large proportion of the questions Enbridge is demanding that First Nations and intervenors answer are overtly political, rather than technical responses to their filings.

In an apparent escalation of its campaign against its opponents, Enbridge is using the Joint Review process to ask intervenors about funding, naming such hot button organizations such as Tides Canada, which is under attack by the Harper government.  Enbridge is also  questioning  the “academic credentials” of numerous intervenors and commenters, even though the Joint Review Panel has spent most of the past seven months asking people to comment based on “local knowledge,” leaving the technical questions to the documents filed with the JRP

Some key questions directed at both the Haisla and Wet’suwet’en First Nations seem to indicate that Enbridge is preparing to build both a legal and probably a public relations case questioning the general, but not unanimous support for liquified natural gas projects in northwestern BC, by saying “Why not Northern Gateway,” as seen in this question to the Haisla Nation.

Please advise as to whether similar measures would be requested by the Haisla First Nation to deal with construction-related impacts of the Northern Gateway Project.

Black Swan

A series of questions to the coalition known as the Coastal First Nations questions the often heard assertion that an oil spill on the BC coast is “inevitable,” and Enbridge appears to be prepared to argue that spills are not inevitable. Enbridge asks Coastal First Nations about a study that compared the bitumen that could be shipped along the coast with the proposed LNG projects.

Please provide all environmental and risk assessment studies, including studies of “Black Swan” events, conducted by the Coastal First Nations or any of its members in respect of the LNG projects referred to.

Enbridge is referring to Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s now widely known “theory of high-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations in history, science, finance and technology.”

It is Black Swan events that most of the people of the northwest coast fear when it comes to all the major energy projects, but if as Taleb says they are hard-to-predict and rare, how can the studies Enbridge is requesting actually predict those disasters?

Enbridge’s questions to the Haisla Nation runs for 28 pages and many of those questions are political, not technical, including asking for details of the Haisla support for the various Kitimat liquified natural gas projects and who may be funding the Haisla participation in the Joint Review Process. Many technical questions around the questions of “acceptable risk” and it appears, despite the fact Enbridge officials have listened to the Haisla official presentation at Kitamaat Village last January and the speeches of Haisla members this week at the pubic comment hearings, that Enbridge is preparing to use a paper-based or Alberta-based concept of acceptable risk as opposed to listening to the First Nation that will be most directly affected by any disaster in the Kitimat harbour or estuary.

(See The Enbridge Empire Strikes Back II The Haisla “fishing expedition”)

A series of questions seems to negate Enbridge’s claim that it has the support of many First Nations along the pipeline route because Enbridge is asking for details of agreements that First Nations have reached with the Pacific Trails Pipeline. Enbridge has consistently refused to release a list of the First Nations it claims has agreements with the company, but in the questions filed with the JRP, Enbridge is asking for details of agreements First Nations in northern BC have reached with the Pacific Trails Pipeline.

Funding demands

For example, while Enbridge is refusing to name all the backers of the pipeline for reasons of corporate confidentiality, the company is asking who may be funding the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in its appearances before the Joint Review Panel, including the US-based foundations named by right-wing blogger Vivian Krause,  (note Krause recently declared victory and suspended her blog) right-wing columnists and the Harper cabinet:

Please confirm that the Office of the Wet’suwet’en has received participant funding from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to participate in the Joint Review Panel (“JRP”) proceeding.

Please advise as to the amount of participant funding received to date from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

Please advise whether or not the Office of the Wet’suwet’en has received funding within the
last 5 years from Tides Canada, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, or any other similar foundations, to oppose the Northern Gateway Project or to oppose oil sands projects in general.

If so, please provide the amount of funding received from each foundation.

In the case of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Enbridge is asking for details, including a membership list.

Please provide a description of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

Does the Raincoast Conservation Foundation prepare Annual Reports? If so, please provide the most recently published Annual report available.

If the Raincoast Conservation Foundation is a collection of like-minded individuals, please list its members.

Did the Raincoast Conservation Foundation apply for and receive participant funding in this proceeding? If so, how much was received?

While many of Enbridge’s question to the RainCoast Foundation are technical, the company which is currently conducting a multi-million dollar public relations campaign in favour of the pipeline, asks:

Please confirm that the “What’s at Stake? study” was prepared for use as a public relations tool, to advocate against approval of the Northern Gateway.

Enbridge also appears to be gearing up for personal attacks on two of the most vocal members of Kitimat’s Douglas Channel Watch, Murray Minchin and Cheryl Brown, who have been appearing regularly before District of Kitimat council to oppose the Northern Gateway pipeline.


Murray Minchin
Murray Minchin of Douglas Channel Watch addresses protesters at Kitimat City Centre Mall, Sunday, June 24, 2012, He talked about how he has learned as he goes along in examining Enbridge documents (Robin Rowland/Northwest Coast Energy News)


On Murray Minchin, Enbridge asks:

Written Evidence Regarding Proposed Liquid Petroleum Pipelines from the proposed Nimbus Mountain West Portal to the Kitimat River Estuary submitted by Murray Minchin of Douglas Channel Watch…. Supplemental Written Evidence Photographic Evidence Regarding Proposed Liquid Petroleum Pipelines from Nimbus Mountain to the Kitimat River Estuary submitted by Murray Minchin of Douglas Channel Watch….

Mr. Minchin provides extensive opinion relative to geotechnical and other technical matters. Request: Please provide Mr. Minchin’s curriculum vitae which includes his education, training and employment history, to demonstrate his qualifications to provide geotechnical and other technical opinions that appear….

Minchin is one of Enbridge’s strongest opponents in Kitimat and in his various appearances (the latest at the anti-Enbridge demonstration in Kitimat on Sunday, June 24, 2012, Minchin has told the audiences that he is self-taught and has spent much of his spare time over the past few years studying the documents Enbridge has filed with the JRP.

As for Cheryl Brown, a vocal critic of the Enbridge Community Advisory Board process, Enbridge has filed a long series of questions about her involvement with the CAB, including asking how many meetings she has attended (see document below)

Two of Enbridge’s questions about Brown stand out

Has Ms. Brown offered a suggestion for a speaker that would have provided a differing viewpoint from those of Northern Gateway?

Many people in Kitimat, not just the outspoken members of Douglas Channel Watch, say they do not trust the Community Advisory Board process. When the CAB held a meeting recently to discuss marine safety, a meeting that was heavily advertised in Kitimat Terrace area, the CAB facilitators ( from a Vancouver -based company) attempted to bar the media, including this reporter, from this “public” meeting, until apparently overruled by Enbridge’s own pubic relations staff. On the other hand, everytime Douglas Channel Watch has appeared before the District of Kitimat Council to request a public forum on Gateway issues, DCW has always insisted that Enbridge be invited to any forum, along with DCW and independent third parties.

Ms. Brown states that Enbridge has not addressed the hard questions. Please confirm that Northern Gateway responded to questions put forth by the Douglas Channel Watch in Letters to the Editor in both the Kitimat Northern Sentinel and Terrace Standard in August of 2009.

Here Enbridge appears to be basing its case on one letter to the editor that appeared in local papers three years ago. During the public comment hearings that the JRP held at Kitamaat Village earlier this week, numerous people testified time and time again that Enbridge was failing to answer major questions about the pipeline and terminal, by saying that those questions would be answered later, once the project is approved.

Bird watching

In one series of questions, Enbridge is demanding a professional level database from the Kitimat Valley Naturalists, the local birdwatching group. Quoting a submission by the naturalists group, Enbridge asks

Paragraph 2.2, indicates that the Kitimat Valley Naturalists has birding records for the estuary for over 40 years and that Kitimat Valley Naturalists visits the estuary at least 100 times per year.

Paragraph 2.3 indicates the Kitimat Valley Naturalists have local expertise in birds of the Kitimat River estuary as well as other plants and animals that utilize those habitats.

Request: To contribute to baseline information for the Kitimat River estuary and facilitate a detailed and comprehensive environmental monitoring strategy, please provide the long term database of marine birds in and adjacent to the Kitimat River estuary, with a focus on data collected by the Kitimat Valley Naturalists in recent years, and where possible, the methodology or survey design, dates, weather and assumptions for the data collection.

Today the Kitimat Valley Naturalists, three local retirees, Walter Thorne, Dennis Horwood and April Macleod filed this response with the JRP:

Northern Gateway has specifically requested the long-term database of birds occurring over many years within the Kitimat River Estuary. The data we have collected includes monthly British Columbia Coastal Water Survey (BC CWS) and yearly Christmas Bird Counts (CBC). The data from
these bird counts are available on the web or in print form.

For access to BC CWS enter http://www.bsc-eoc.org

For access to CBC data, enter http://birds.audubon.org

Historical results for CBC counts have also been published by the journal American Birds. The earliest CBC count for Kitimat was 1974.

In regard to the long-term database, we have significant numbers of records for the foreshore of the Kitimat River Estuary. The number increases when the larger estuary perimeter is considered. These cover a 40-year period with the majority in the last 20 years. We would be willing to provide this information in a meaningful format.

The Kitimat Valley Naturalists, however, lack the expertise or financial ability to convert the data into a format that would address Northern Gateway’s interest in methodology, survey design, dates, weather, and assumptions for data collection.

Alternatively, we do have access to a consulting firm, which is willing to analyze our data and convert it to a useable and practical design. We assume, since this is a considerable undertaking in both time and cost, that Northern Gateway would be willing to cover the associated fees.

We look forward to hearing back from Northern Gateway and pursuing this with a budget proposal.

Northwest Coast Energy News consulted data management experts who estimated that complying with the Enbridge request would likely cost between $100,000 and $150,000.

First Nations

Some Wet’suwet’en houses have opposed the Pacific Trails Pipeline, and while negotiations with Apache Corporation are continuing, Enbridge is asking the First Nation for details of what is happening with that pipeline.

Is it the position of the Office of the Wet’suwet’en that each First Nation whose traditional territory is traversed by the proposed pipeline has a veto on whether it is approved or refused?

Please confirm that the Office of the Wet’suwet’en opposed approval of the Pacific Trails Pipeline (also known as the Kitimat Summit Lake Looping Project).

Does the Office of the Wet’suwet’en continue to oppose construction of the Pacific Trails Pipeline?

Have the First Nations who are proposing to participate as equity owners in the Pacific Trails Pipeline Project advised the Office of the Wet’suwet’en that they accept that the Office of the Wet’suwet’en has a right to veto approval and construction of that Project?

Please confirm that the First Nations holding an equity ownership position or entitlement in the Pacific Trails Pipeline Project (also known as the Kitimat-Summit Lake Looping Project) include:
• Haisla First Nation
•Kitselas First Nation
•Lax Kw’alaams Band
•Lheidli T’enneh Band
•McLeod Lake Indian Band
•Metlakatla First Nation
•Nadleh Whut’en First Nation
•Nak’azdli Band
•Nee Tahi Buhn Band
•Saik’uz First Nation
•Skin Tyee First Nation
•Stellat’en First Nation
•Ts’il Kaz Koh First Nation
•West Moberly First Nation
•Wet’suwet’en First Nation

The majority of questions filed with the Coast First Nations are technical challenges to studies filed by the coalition. Enbridge also filed questions with the Gitga’at, Gitxaala, Heiltsuk Nations and the Metis Nation of Alberta.

(Disclosure: The author, who is also a photographer, sometimes accompanies members of the Kitimat Valley Naturalists to photograph birds during the time they are doing the counts)

Enbridge Cover letter to JRP Information Requests to Intervenors (pdf)

Information Request Coastal First Nations (pdf)

Information Request Haisla (pdf)

Information Request Douglas Channel Watch (pdf)

Information Request Living Oceans Society (pdf)

Information Request Raincoast Conservation (pdf)

Information Request Wet’suwet’en (pdf)

Information Request Kitimat Valley Naturalists (pdf)

Kitimat Valley Naturalists response to Enbridge (pdf)


Anti-Enbridge group adopts Quebec students’ “red square” campaign

An anonymous group opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline is calling for a demonstration at the site of an oil and gas export conference in Vancouver on May 30 and 31 and asking participants to wear the red square that has become symbolic of the Quebec student protests first against tuition fee hikes and later against Bill 78 aimed at controlling demonstrations in the province.

A notice posted on the website Infoshop News, which describes itself as an anarchist news service, calls for the demonstration at the Four Seasons hotel in Vancouver, site of the Canada Oil and Gas Export Summit. The notice is being widely circulated on Twitter.

The notice adds: “Don’t forget your red squares. Let’s bring the Maple Spring to BC and join Quebec students in opposing the 1% agenda of austerity and environmental destruction.”

Calling the demonstration, “Green Jobs, Not Oil Spills,” the notice says:  “On May 30th/31st the 1% are meeting at the Four Seasons hotel for a two day conference to plot their strategy for Exporting raw tar sands bitumen across BC and overseas to China via pipelines and super tankers.”

The website for the Canadian Oil and Gas Export Summit,  says “The oil and gas industry is at a critical crossroads and now is the time to take a hard look to alternative outlets for Canadian oil and gas,” meaning alternative markets to the United States.  The energy companies are worried about the future of  their American market share due to the effect of political gridlock on the US economy and the growing exploitation of American shale gas deposits which are cutting into Canadian export markets.

The site says the conference highlights include:

  • The latest updates on opening new market opportunities – Moving Canada oil and
    gas exports beyond U.S. markets
  • The impact of the U.S. pipeline decision on the Canadian oil and gas sector
  • The benefits for Canadian producers to tap into Asian markets and
    addressing the perceptions of the two markets
  • The most cost effective strategies of getting to market in light of opposition
  • Infrastructure requirements necessary for accessing Canada’s East and West Coast
  • The legal and regulatory issues surrounding west coast energy corridors, terminals and
    shipping in British Columbia

The conference speakers will tackle a large number of hot button issues in BC, from the energy industry point of view: Paul Fisher, vice present, Commercial, Western Access for Enbridge Pipelines speaks on “Exploring Canada’s Ability to Compete in a Global Marketplace.” Gordon Houlden, Director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta, has a talk touching on “Balancing the complexities of unresolved land claims, environmental and infrastructure issues and the economic development of Western Canada.” Tracy Robinson, Vice President Marketing & Sales, Canadian Pacific Railway, speaks on exporting crude by rail. Douglas Ford, of Communica Public Affairs Inc. handles a large number of issues from the PR point of view, including “the regulatory processes related to British Columbia coastal development,” “the complexity of project development in BC vis a vis First Nations,” with advice on “How to effectively engage community, NGOs, and aboriginal stakeholders.” Van Zorbas of Deloitte Canada speaks about the problems from the current labour shortage.


US National Transportation Safety Board releases photos, documents on Enbridge Kalamzoo oil spill

NTSB staff examine ruptured pipe
US National Transportation Safety Board staff examine a ruptured pipe from the Enbridge oil spill in August, 2010. The photo was released by the NTSB May 21, 2012. (NTSB)

The United States National Transportation Safety Board today released more than 5,000 pages relating to its investigation of the 2010 of the Marshall, Michigan, Enbridge pipeline rupture and oil spill.

The NTSB release says it is adding the documents to the “public docket” on the case.

About 11:17 a.m. EDT on July 26, 2010, Enbridge Energy Partners was notified of a leak on a 30-inch diameter crude oil pipeline (Line 6B) in Marshall, Michigan. The pipeline had ruptured 17 hours earlier and spilled about a million gallons of crude oil into the immediate area resulting in extensive environmental damage to Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River.

Fifty-eight photographs and 170 documents totaling more than 5000 pages are in the docket. The information being released is factual in nature and does not provide any analysis.

Additional material may be added to the docket as it becomes available. Analysis of the accident, along with conclusions and its probable cause, will be determined at a later date.

This is a document release only; no interviews will be conducted.

Documents are available at this link

More than 800,000 gallons of heavy bitumen crude spilled from the pipeine near Marshall in Calhoun County, Michigan. NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said Monday the NTSB expects to reach a conclusion on the spill sometime this summer.

On May 10, Enbridge announced it would spend $1.6 billion to upgrade and replace portions of the pipeline through Michigan and Indiana. The broken pipeline, however, would be decontaminated and “abandoned in place.”

Enbridge says Northern Gateway could carry upgraded petroleum sometime in the future

In a blog post on the Northern Gateway website Enbridge says the Northern Gateway pipeline could eventually carry upgraded crude—but doesn’t say when in the future that will happen.

The blog is promoting an opinion piece by Northern Gateway spokesman Paul Stanway : “who decides the national interest when it comes to our energy exports?” that was published in the Vancouver Sun.

Expanding on the opinion piece, the Enbridge blog says

Northern Gateway expects to ship upgraded oil Some Canadians don’t like the idea of shipping bitumen from the oil sands without upgrading it first. Others note that Alberta upgraders and refineries are currently operating at peak capacity and it could be some time before new upgrading capacity is built. Still others note there is a shortage of skilled workers already in the oil and gas industry, and while creating new jobs is certainly important, there are plenty of opportunities for qualified job seekers at this time.

Regardless of your position on the upgrading issue, that debate is peripheral to Northern Gateway—we expect to ship upgraded oil. Like most of Canada’s economic resources, from natural resources to human services, market demands play a large role in determining what is sold, where and when.

Crude oil was Canada’s most valuable export in 2010, amounting to $50 billion in exports. If we include all of Canada’s energy exports—a market worth $94 billion in 2010—nearly 25 per cent of all exports from Canada were energy products.

The article repeats the argument that Canada can no longer depend on one customer, the United States, for its petroleum exports and also links to a page on the Gateway site that repeats the valid argument that coal is more dangerous for the climate than the bitumen sands.

The argument that Enbridge might someday ship upgraded petroleum through the Northern Gateway seems to be an attempt to win over those who support a pipeline carrying a more refined product, but without a timeline and the fact that there are no current plans to create new upgrading capacity in Alberta, means that if the pipeline does go through, it will be carrying bitumen for the foreseeable future.

Financial meltdown hits oil tanker fleets

Energy Business Tankers

648-P1050771.jpgA tanker entering Prince Rupert harbour. (Robin Rowland/Northwest Coast Energy News)

The world’s oil tanker companies are in financial meltdown, a crisis little noted outside the industry itself and the financial media, a crisis caused, experts say, by combination of the weakening world economy and an over abundance of the giant vessels that ply the world’s oceans filled with crude .  

 Although oil prices are generally on the rise, this has not helped the tanker fleets, because overall demand for oil is down and  there is a  “glut” on the tanker  market, with too many vessels, so chartering and transportation fees are dropping. ( One ship broker reports that “day rates for leasing tankers” have dropped 47 percent since the start of 2010.  Rates for tankers were $229,000-a-day  at the peak of the market in  2007. By mid-November that had dropped to  $28,829).

The crisis in the tanker industry first hit the financial news in mid-November.

649-TORM_Logo.jpg On November 16, 2011, Torm, a Danish tanker company warned investors that it was revising expectations and stated that the company expected to lose $175-$195 million US (pdf) for 2011, because freight rates  in the second half of 2011 for tankers, especially the large tankers, had  been “lower than expected.”

650-gmc.jpgOn November 17, 2011, General Maritime Corp., a New York based major American crude transportation company that describes itself “one of the world’s largest and most diverse fleets of tankers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  GMC is said to be the second largest American flagged crude carrier.

According to Reuters,the same day, Torm told the markets it was  in talks with creditors. Three days later, on Nov. 20, Torm (pdf) cancelled an order for a new tanker that would have been delivered in 2013.

651-frontlinelogo.jpgOn Nov. 22, Frontline Ltd, based in Bermuda, reported that the company could run out of money in early 2012.  Frontline has one of the world’s largest tanker fleets, including Very Large Crude Carriers. The company has $1 billion in bonds and loans due in the coming decade, and is looking for new cash.

 652-acmlogo.jpgOn Nov.  23, ACM Shipping, a  British company, told The Financial Times  that company was taking a £6.85 million write-off largely due to poor market conditions. The paper added that ACM had strong cash reserves and ACM CEO Johnny Plumbe was confident about ACM’s  medium to long-term prospects.

The Financial Times says the oil tanker industry is facing “the worst market conditions in 25 years.” The FT adds that the oversupply of ships has pushed earnings for most tankers to well below the level required to cover operating costs   The paper also noted that ACM is “one of a handful” of tanker companies publicly listed on stock exchanges, raising questions about the state of the books of privately held tanker companies, which do not report.

Both the Reuters report and  the financial website The Street quoted analysts as saying that more tanker company bankruptcies were expected.  The analysts say at least in the near future, the tanker companies will probably have trouble getting bank financing. The reports also say that the Eurozone crisis could make things worse, but if the economy rebounds, the industry could recover in late 2012, or 2013.

General Maritime Corp listed total assets of $1.72 billion and liabilities of $1.41 billion as of September. The private equity company  Oaktree Capital Management will provide it with $175 million in equity.  Creditors will defer cash payments of about $140 million to June 2014. GMC.

 ACM said its revenue decreased by 9% to £13.2 million mainly due to adverse currency movements and the company still made a before tax and amortization of  £2.3 million. It said it had a strong cash position of £4.9 million at 30 September 2011 and no debt (£5.0 million as at 31 March 2011)

Frontline’s third quarter report said it had a net loss $44.7 million in the third quarter of 2011. The company’s long term outlook says world oil consumption is rising but American imports (at least by tanker) will continue to decline unless that country’s economy recovers.
According to Bloomberg, John Fredriksen, the Norwegian-born billionaire who controls a 34 percent stake in Frontline and serves as its chairman, “has the funds available and he is prepared to go in and try to find solutions” if creditors go along, says Tor Olav Troim, one of his aides.

The Financial Times notes that the shipbrokers – who arrange the buying, selling and chartering of ships – suffer earnings declines as their commission is dependent on earnings by the shipowner.

The financial crisis in the tanker industry is going to add new factors to the debate over current and proposed tanker traffic along the west coast of  British Columbia, especially with the energy industry and the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper pushing for greatly increased tanker traffic along the coast on the assumption that the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline is approved.

That’s because Enbridge has acknowledged that company is no longer legally responsible for the bitumen crude once it has been loaded on a tanker for shipment to a customer.  Enbridge, has however, filed thousands of pages of contingency plans for handling any oil spill that may occur in Kitimat harbour, along Douglas Channel or the British Columbia coast.

Under Canadian and international law, the tanker owners are legally responsible for any damage caused by a wreck or spill along the coast.  Under plans filed by Enbridge with the Joint Review Panel, the tanker companies are also supposed to  have to have special training for officers and crew, not only to ply the waters of British Columbia but what do in the case of an accident at sea, in the Douglas Channel and the Kitimat terminal.

Many of the tankers that will call at the proposed Enbridge terminal will be the Very Large Crude Carriers.  Frontline, one of the companies’ in financial difficulty, owns many of the world’s VLCC (see list)

While there are international contingency funds marked to handle spills, one question has to be whether or not a bankrupt company, now or, if in the future if still in bankruptcy protection, be able to able or willing to pay compensation for a spill.

It is highly unlikely that tanker rates will return to the highs seen in 2007.  Operating costs are likely to be a problem for tanker companies in the future, even if the economy comes back to life.

As has been seen in other industries, financial problems, even if a company is not bankrupt, usually leads to cutbacks in areas such as maintenance and training.

See also Huffington Post Frontline Shares Down On Dismal Earnings, Oil Tanker Company Needs Cash, Debt Restructuring


China Petroleum plans expansion in Canada: China Daily

Energy Link

CNPC plans steady overseas expansion

China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the country’s biggest energy company by production, said on Thursday that its overseas expansion will continue to focus on the upstream division with Canada and Australia as the major targets.

CNPC’s overseas oil and gas output is expected to reach 100 million tons of oil equivalent this year, of which equity-based production will account for 50 percent, according to Jiang Jiemin, the company’s general manager.

In 2010, the energy conglomerate’s overseas oil and gas output stood at 86.73 million tons.

“Our company’s foreign sales and profits will both hit a record high this year,” Jiang said. He added that CNPC plans to continue to rapidly and consistently expand overseas and that it regards Canadian and Australian assets as its top priorities because of the two countries’ abundant natural resources and steady investment environment.

Who Are America’s Top 10 Gas Drillers? ProPublica


Who Are America’s Top 10 Gas Drillers?

by Nicholas Kusnetz ProPublica, Sep. 1, 2011, 4:12 p.m. ET

Natural gas–often touted as an abundant, comparatively clean source of domestic energy–has come under intensifying public scrutiny in recent months, with U.S. federal regulators and reporters challenging some of the industry’s rosy business projections.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is probing whether gas companies have exaggerated their reserves [1] and have adequately disclosed the risks to investors from drilling’s potential environmental damage [2]. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has requested similar information [3] from several companies.

Natural gas production has grown steadily in the United States since 2006, reaching new highs this year. But who are the leaders in this burgeoning field?

More than 14,000 oil-and-gas companies, many of them small businesses, were active in the United States in 2009, according to the Energy Information Administration. But multinational giants like Exxon Mobil and BP now produce much of the nation’s gas. The 10 biggest drillers account for one-third of all production, data from the Natural Gas Supply Association and the EIA show. The 40 largest producers pump more than half of all domestic natural gas.

We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 drillers in the country, ranked by their daily natural gas production, and pulled together some key facts about their operations. Though there are other ways to measure these companies–revenue, market capitalization, reserves–industry experts say production numbers give the best snapshot of today’s landscape and also separate drillers’ gas operations from oil.

The list features both “integrated” oil-and-gas giants, such as Exxon Mobil, which refines and sells gasoline around the world, and “independents,” such as Chesapeake Energy, which are primarily in oil and gas exploration and production. Though industry P.R. initiatives often emphasize independent mom-and-pop drillers [4], most of the companies on our list are Fortune 500 corporations.

Much of the growth in gas production has come from drilling into shale formations, which provided 23 percent of the nation’s gas in 2010, according to the EIA. Our list shows how integrated behemoths have expanded into this area as production has become proven, sometimes by swallowing up independents that led the way. Last year, Exxon (No. 8 in 2009) bought XTO (No. 2 in 2009) [5] to catapult to the top of the list. Also last year, Chevron (No. 9) bought Atlas Energy [6] (No. 50 in 2009 and an early entrant into Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale).

1. Exxon Mobil

The biggest natural gas producer is also the country’s biggest oil company and one of the most profitable corporations in the world. Exxon has operations in every continent but Antarctica. Its oil and gas operations range across several states, from Pennsylvania to Colorado, and it also has wells in the Gulf of Mexico and off the California coast.

With the purchase of XTO, Exxon produces nearly 50 percent more gas than its closest competitor. Earlier this year, Exxon began running ads touting natural gas as a safe [7], clean source of domestic energy. About two-thirds of the company’s domestic reserves are now in natural gas, with the rest in oil.

Average Daily Natural Gas Production: 3.9 billion cubic feet.

Revenue, 2010: $370 billion.

Reserves, 2010: 8.9 billion barrels of oil (2.3 billion in the U.S.), 2.1 billion barrels of bitumen (none in the U.S.), 681 million barrels of synthetic crude (none in the U.S.), 78.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (26.1 trillion in the U.S.).

Executive Compensation, 2010: Rex Tillerson, Exxon’s chairman and CEO since 2006, received almost $29 million in total compensation.

2. Chesapeake Energy

Chesapeake calls itself the most active driller in the country, with operations in 15 states, from the Rockies to Texas to Pennsylvania. The company is a good example of how “independent” doesn’t necessarily mean small. As of last year, the company owned an interest in 45,800 wells, of which 38,900 were primarily gas wells.

Chesapeake has built itself as a gas company, but it is increasingly looking for “liquids-rich plays,” according to its annual report. Gas wells generally produce oil and other hydrocarbon liquids as well in varying amounts, depending on the geologic formation. With oil prices high and gas prices low, many companies are seeking more wells that are oil- and liquids-rich, particularly in North Dakota, southern Texas and Pennsylvania.

Average Daily Natural Gas Production: 2.6 billion cubic feet.

Revenue, 2010: $9.4 billion.

Reserves, 2010: 14.3 trillion cubic feet of gas equivalent (10 percent of that is oil or other liquids, converted to the equivalent volume in gas).

Executive Compensation, 2010: Aubrey McClendon, the chairman and CEO, is also the company’s founder. He has the unusual option of purchasing a small stake in every well the company drills [8]. He received $21 million in total compensation.

3. Anadarko

Anadarko is one of the biggest independent oil and gas producers in the country, with exploration or production work in all major domestic drilling areas as well as in South America, Africa, Asia and New Zealand. The company was a minority owner in BP’s Macondo well, which exploded last year, killing 11 people and spilling more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico [9].

Worldwide, natural gas makes up just over half of Anadarko’s reserves, but 87 percent of the new wells it drilled in the United States last year were gas wells. Like many other companies, Anadarko is increasingly looking for oil- and liquids-rich production this year.

Average Daily Natural Gas Production: 2.4 billion cubic feet.

Revenue, 2010: $11 billion.

Reserves, 2010: 749 million barrels of oil and condensate (458 million in the U.S.), 320 million barrels of natural gas liquids (307 million in the U.S.), 8.1 trillion cubic feet of gas, all in the United States.

Executive Compensation, 2010: James Hackett, the chairman and CEO, received $24 million in total compensation.

4. Devon Energy

Devon is an independent driller primarily active in the United States and Canada. The company is in the process of divesting operations in Angola and Brazil, its only holdings outside of North America.

More than 90 percent of Devon’s U.S. reserves are in natural gas, with most of that lying in Texas’ Barnett Shale. Like its peers, however, Devon says that this year it will focus on drilling in areas rich with oil and other liquids.

Average Daily Natural Gas Production: 2 billion cubic feet.

Revenue, 2010: $9.9 billion.

Reserves, 2010: 681 million barrels of oil (148 million in the U.S.), 479 million barrels of natural gas liquids (449 million in the U.S.), 10.3 trillion cubic feet of gas (9 trillion in the U.S.).

Executive Compensation, 2010: J. Larry Nichols, the chairman, received almost $19 million in total compensation. John Richels, president and CEO, received almost $18 million.

5. BP

Fortune lists BP as the fourth-largest corporation in the world. The company drills in 29 countries and sells its products in 70. While BP is headquartered in London, 42 percent of the company’s assets are in the United States. BP reported a $3.7 billion loss last year after spending nearly $41 billion on cleaning up the Gulf oil spill and compensating those who were affected.

The company remains primarily an oil producer, with about 40 percent of its reserves in natural gas.

Average Daily Natural Gas Production: 1.9 billion cubic feet.

Revenue, 2010: $297 billion.

Reserves, 2010: 10.7 billion barrels of oil (2.9 billion in the U.S.), 42.7 trillion cubic feet of gas (13.7 trillion in the U.S.).

Executive Compensation, 2010: Chief Executive Robert Dudley received $1.7 million in total compensation.

6. Encana

Encana is one of the largest independent gas companies in the world, with operations mostly in the western United States and Canada, where it is based. The company has focused almost exclusively on gas.

Average Daily Natural Gas Production: 1.8 billion cubic feet.

Revenue, 2010: $8.9 billion.

Reserves, 2010: 93.3 million barrels of liquids (38.5 million in the U.S.), 13.8 trillion cubic feet of gas (7.5 trillion in the U.S.).

Executive Compensation, 2010: Randy Eresman, president and CEO, received $10 million in total compensation.

7. ConocoPhillips

ConocoPhillips is currently an integrated oil corporation, but it recently announced plans to split into two companies, one focused on refining, the other on production [10]. The company has listed acquiring more shale reserves in North America among its top strategic goals over the past couple of years and drills in several western states, as well as in Louisiana and Arkansas. It is exploring for shale gas in Poland and has operations in six continents.

Average Daily Natural Gas Production: 1.6 billion cubic feet.

Revenue, 2010: $198.7 billion

Reserves, 2010: 3.4 billion barrels of oil and natural gas liquids (1.9 billion in the U.S.), 1.2 billion barrels of bitumen (none in the U.S.), 21.7 trillion cubic feet of gas (10.5 trillion in the U.S.).

Executive Compensation, 2010: James Mulva, chairman and CEO, received almost $18 million in total compensation. John Carrig, who retired as president in March, received more than $14 million.

8. Southwestern Energy Co.

Southwestern is another independent driller that focuses exclusively on natural gas. The company has operations in Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania, with most of its production coming from the Fayetteville Shale formation underlying parts of Arkansas.

Average Daily Natural Gas Production: 1.3 billion cubic feet.

Revenue, 2010: $2.6 billion.

Reserves, 2010: 1 million barrels of oil, 4.9 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Executive Compensation, 2010: Steven Mueller, president and CEO, received $5.7 million in total compensation.

9. Chevron

Chevron is the second-largest oil company in the country, and the third-biggest company overall in terms of revenue. It has been building its gas reserves recently, most notably with the purchase of Atlas Energy, an active shale gas driller. Still, more than 60 percent of the company’s worldwide reserves are in oil.

The majority of Chevron’s oil and gas production comes overseas. Domestically, Chevron operates in seven states, including Pennsylvania, Texas and California, and in the Gulf of Mexico.

Average Daily Natural Gas Production: 1.3 billion cubic feet.

Revenue, 2010: $198.2 billion.

Reserves, 2010: 6.5 billion barrels of oil and other liquids (1.3 billion in the U.S.), 24.3 trillion cubic feet of gas (2.5 trillion in the U.S.).

Executive Compensation, 2010: John Watson, chairman and CEO, received $16 million in total compensation.

10. Williams Energy

Williams is an independent producer focused largely on natural gas. It owns 13,900 miles of pipelines, which it says deliver 12 percent of the natural gas consumed in the United States. The company recently announced plans to separate its exploration and production activities from its other operations.

Williams has holdings in many of the major shale basins across the country, from Pennsylvania to North Dakota to Texas. The company also owns interests in several international companies.

Average Daily Natural Gas Production: 1.2 billion cubic feet.

Revenue, 2010: $9.6 billion.

Reserves, 2010: 4.3 trillion cubic feet equivalent (3 percent of that is oil or other liquids, converted to the equivalent volume in gas).

Executive Compensation, 2010: Alan Armstrong, president and CEO, received $2 million in total compensation.

Sources: The production numbers are from the Natural Gas Supply Association and reflect the average for the first half of 2011. Revenue figures are from the companies’ 2010 annual reports and reflect total revenue from all sources, not just gas production. Revenue may include sales and other income and may not be adjusted for taxes. Reserves numbers are from the companies’ annual reports. Bitumen and synthetic crude represent oil from Canadian tar sands or other unconventional reserves. The compensation information is from Forbes and Bloomberg Business Week.

Editor’s Note: Encana, company number six in Pro Publica’s list, is a partner in the Kitimat LNG  (KM LNG) project.