The salmon study controversy. How to write a news release without answering the question

Environment

Fisheries minister Keith Ashfield and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans today issued a news release concerning the controversy over the muzzling of DFO scientist Kristi Miller and her genetic study of Fraser River salmon which suggests a virus may be responsible for the decline of the stock.  Although Miller published her study in the journal Science, she was not permitted to speak the media about it.

The DFO news release from this afternoon is a classic example of not answering the actual question while seeming to assure the public that the minister and department are doing their job. DFO also says it supports the department’s scientists, without mentioning that the DFO was originally willing to make Miller available to the media, it was Stephen Harper’s Privy Council Office that said she couldn’t.

You can read the full  news release. Response to Media Reports about Science at Fisheries and Oceans Canada

On Miller’s study the news release says:

 In fact, the research and report by Dr. Kristi Miller on Pacific salmon was not withheld from anyone; Dr. Miller’s report was published in a broadly circulated science magazine and remains widely available to the media and public through the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website, and as an exhibit through the Commission’s website.

(The Commission refers to the Cohen Commission on the decline of salmon stocks)

The publication of a scientific article in the journal Science is not at question.

What the Privy Council Office did was forbade a prominent scientist the opportunity to explain to the public in layman’s terms the significance of her findings.

Science journalism works like this. The major journals advise the media well ahead of time, under embargo, about the pending publication of major papers. The reason for this simple and supported by both the media and the scientific community. It takes time and effort to craft an accurate report of a scientific paper, whether reporting for a newspaper or the web. Creating an accurate and accessible television item on a scientific paper, a television item that also needs pictures and voice clips is both an art and science. Even in these days of cutbacks, the networks hunger for reporters and producers who can do it in under two minutes. If instead the media has to rush out a story on a scientific article on the day of publication, it is bound to be superficial and inaccurate. This was the process that was short circuited by the Privy Council Office when it, not DFO, muzzled Kristi Miller.

This is the question that the DFO news release ignores.

The news release then raises a smokescreen by saying:

Our scientists have also published hundreds of reports subscribed to by tens of thousands of people throughout Canada and the world. For example, this week, Fisheries scientist Dr. Kenneth Frank released a report about positive signs in the recovery of groundfish stocks off the coast of Nova Scotia. Dr. Frank’s research was published in Nature, the world’s most highly cited science journal, and he spoke to nearly a dozen interested members of the press on his report this week alone.

. While it is true, that the report on the rebound of groundfish stocks is receiving wide attention and as DFO says, Kenneth Frank was made available to the media, a cynical observer would be quick to point out that the Kenneth Frank story is good news for Canada and for the Harper government, while the Kristi Miller salmon virus could be bad news for both the country and the government.

So now it looks that the Privy Council Office is adopting a “good news” agenda. If it’s good, a government scientist can talk to the media, if it’s bad news, bury it.

 Finally the government relies in this case, on the “before the courts” excuse it used when the story of the salmon study first broke in Post Media News, referring to Justice Bruce Cohen’s commission of inquiry into the decline of the Pacific salmon stocks.

 Moreover, at Justice Cohen’s request, the government has provided almost 500,000 documents and many hours of testimony deemed relevant by Justice Cohen to his inquiry. Dr. Miller will also present her research findings at the Commission in the coming weeks along with several other scientists and officials.

Our government has been very clear that judicial inquiries are not conducted through the media. Evidence that may be relevant to Justice Cohen’s findings should be managed through the commission process.

What this means is that government may use the “before the courts” excuse in the future to muzzle any scientific debate on a controversial issue. In reality, of course, that simply means excluding the public and media from a debate on any subject that would likely be discussed openly at any scientific gathering or congress.

Of course, if the Harper government is in favour of something, then a “commission process” appears to be irrelevant. As has been widely reported, the Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver, is ignoring the quasi-juidicial nature of the National Energy Board hearings into the Enbridge Northern Gateway project and the various LNG projects, all potentially using the port of Kitimat, by telling any reporter and any audience that the projects are in the “national interest” when finding the public interest is the mandate of the NEB.

“Call the Americans.” Canadian Coast Guard cutbacks now an issue in the US Senate

The Coast

The controversy over the Harper government’s cutbacks to Canadian Coast Guard resources on both west and east coasts  has now become an issue in the United States Senate.

While most of the media attention last week was on Newfoundland, where there are fears not only of moving the search coordination centre from the island to Trenton, and the possible privatization of the entire search and rescue service, the cutbacks on the northern coast of British Columbia have yet to become a national story, even though the conservative government is increasing its promotion of tanker traffic from Pacific ports.

Now the issue has come to attention of  Senator Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat, who is raising alarm bells in the Senate about the dangers of tanker traffic, the possibility of a spill and  the probable inadequacy of the Canadian response to any major shipping accident along the coast.

 


Cantwell’s main concern is upgrading the ability of the United States Coast Guard to respond to such an accident, “This is a major threat to our region,” Cantwell said at hearing on July 20 of the Senate  Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard Subcommittee. “It seems that Canada’s oil spill response plan in the Pacific Northwest is to call the Americans.  …Obviously any such spill in the narrow and heavily populated waters of the Puget Sound or Strait of Juan de Fuca would cause tens of billions of dollars in damage and impact millions of my constituents. … I think it deserves a very robust oil spill response plan.”

Cantwell  says she secured a commitment  from  Rear Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship for the United States Coast Guard, to have the U.S. Coast Guard perform an extensive analysis of cross-border readiness and ability to respond to potential spills given the potentially dramatic increase in oil tanker traffic along the U.S.-Canada maritime border off Washington state.

After the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Cantwell pushed a bill through the U.S. Congress  that, strengthens oil spill protections for Puget Sound and other U.S. coastal waters. The bill, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 15, 2010, includes  provisions that significantly enhance oil spill response and prevention to protect valuable coastal communities and their economies.

Cantwell’s news release  says

The legislation expands the oil spill response safety net from Puget Sound out to the entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, ensuring that Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca have spill response teams and equipment in place. The bill further reduces ship and tanker traffic in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary; enhances spill prevention efforts on vessels transporting oil; and establishes a stronger role for tribes.

Cantwell also fought to include a provision that requires tug escorts for double-hulled tankers in Prince William Sound. Approximately 600 oil tankers and 3,000 oil barges travel through Puget Sound’s fragile ecosystem annually, carrying about 15 billion gallons of oil to Washington’s five refineries. The Strait of Juan de Fuca also has significant outbound tanker traffic originating in Vancouver and carrying Canadian oil. Prior to the 2010 Coast Guard Reauthorization Bill, American industry only had to position oil spill response equipment in Puget Sound, leaving the busy shipping lane in the Strait of Juan de Fuca unprotected.

Cantwell’s provision extended the “high volume port area” designation west to Cape Flattery. As a result, oil spill response equipment, such as booms and barriers, are now prepositioned along the Strait, supplementing the response equipment already in place in Puget Sound.

An oil spill in waters in Washington state interior waterways could be devastating. According to the Washington State Department of Ecology, a major spill would have a significant impact on Washington state’s coastal economy, which employs 165,000 people and generates $10.8 billion. A spill would also severely hurt our export dependent economy because international shipping would likely be severely restricted. Washington state’s waters support a huge variety of animals and plants, including a number of endangered species, all which would be harmed by a spill.

Cantwell says she was successful in protecting a tanker ban in Puget Sound.  Former  Alaskan Repuiblican Senator Ted Stevens attempted to overturn the then 28-year-old protections authored by former Senator Warren Magnuson limiting oil tanker traffic in the Puget Sound. In 1977, Senator Warren Magnuson had the foresight to recognize the great risk that oil supertankers would have on the waters of Puget Sound. He put his findings into law and essentially banned supertankers in the Puget Sound by prohibiting the expansion of oil terminals in Puget Sound.

Enbridge, environmentalists agree

The inadequate Canadian Coast Guard resources in the Pacific region bring rare agreement between Enbridge which wants to build the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline and the project’s environmental opponents.

While Enbridge maintains that safety systems it plans would make a tanker accident a rare event, when officials were questioned at last September’s public meeting in Kitimat, they said Enbridge was worried about Coast Guard resources on the west coast.   They said that Enbridge’s emergency planning scenarios call for it to take 72 hours for the Canadian Coast Guard to respond with its meagre equipment from Victoria and Vancouver to a tanker accident in Douglas Channel.  The Enbridge team admitted under questioning from the audience that the company would urge to Canadian government to call on US Coast Guard resources from Alaska and as far away as California in the event of a major spill, confirming Sen. Cantwell’s statement to the subcommittee that Canada would “Call the Americans.”

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Rex Murphy’s rant on search and rescue cutbacks: National Post

Link The Coast

Rex Murphy: A decision so dumb, only a government would make it

Rex Murphy, writing in The National Post is fully justified in his rant Saturday against more search and rescue cutbacks in Newfoundland by the Harper government. Since it involves his beloved “Rock,” my former colleague is at his rhetorical best (and as the northwest knows the BC coast faces equally dumb cutbacks here)

Scarcely had Mr. Harper captured the PM’s job again, this time as a
majority leader in the last election, when one of his ministers came out
with the equally ludicrous decision to move search-and-rescue
operations: Last week, it was announced that the co-ordination centre in
St. John’s (along with one in Quebec City) was slated for termination,
with services relocated to Halifax and Trenton, Ont.

And according to reports circulating this week, the Department of
National Defence’s search-and-rescue services might soon be privatized.
(Currently, the job is done in partnership between DND and the Coast
Guard, which is overseen by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans). If
that happens, there’s no telling where the services would be relocated.

What is in the air in Ottawa? How do such absurd notions take root in
the federal mind? Would they ever take similar steps in regard to, say,
the regulation of Lake Ontario shipping?

Search and Rescue is not some toy service. It concerns life and
death. And considering the tragedies that fret the history of the
province over the centuries, this would not only be a wrong decision,
but an offensive one, as well.

Rex is certainly right on this issue, but wrong about the weather, when he says about Newfoundland being special:

Newfoundland is unique. It stands alone, shrouded in impenetrable mists and answering to the rhythms of its own weather gods. Newfoundland weather is not a little like the world of subatomic physics; a buzz of random and paradoxical probabilities, a thing that may be observed but not measured or, contrariwise, measured but not observed, and not either, ever, from Halifax. It is a wonder and a despair.

The weather along the BC coast has been shrouded in impenetrable mists for most of this summer (if you can call it summer).

The decision by Coast Guard bureaucrats  to replace the (70 foot, 21 metre) Point Henry in Prince Rupert with a smaller, (47 foot, 14 metre) open motor life boat and the similar move in Campbell River replace the Point Race was protested up and down the coast, and almost cost Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan his seat in the May election. Duncan, of course, is  toeing the Conservative party line now that he is safely back in the Commons.

The decisions on both coasts are equally dumb. The ocean is as dangerous in Newfoundland as on the BC coast.

 But Rex spoils his rant with his own dumb ideological conclusion:

My only explanation is that it serves to illustrate this unshakeable
axiom: Some decisions are so dumb that only governments can make them.

Northwest BC has had been the victim of many really dumb decisions by the private, corporate sector over the years and those dumb decisions are responsible for the economic decline of the region (with no help from government). The difference should be that government decisions may be influenced and changed by the electorate.  There are no checks or balances on corporate decisions.

So if Rex is right and search and rescue is privatized, becomes some sort of  for-profit venture, what dumb decisions are we going to hear from the CEO of SARCAN LLC? Checking someone’s credit score before launching a rescue?

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US proposes handing Alaska halibut allocation dispute to international commission, have charters buy commercial quota

Environment

Editor’s note: With this entry, Northwest Coast Energy News launches its planned expansion of coverage from energy and energy related environment issues to include other environmental and related issues in the northwest, including fishery issues.

For the past year, anglers, guides and outfitters on the British Columbia coast have been concerned about the allocation problems with the halibut fishery, with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans sticking to the original quota system of 88 per cent of the total allowable catch going to the commercial fishery and 12 per cent to the recreational fishery, which includes both recreational anglers and the tourist industry.

There have been parallel problems in the state of Alaska, where the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which governs the US fishery, began moves to take away the licences from many of the halibut charter operators on the lower end of the income scale. That move is currently being challenged in a federal court in Washington, DC.

On Thursday,  NOAA proposed solutions to Alaska halibut dispute,  in effect, handing the hot potato decision on halibut allocationover to the International Pacifc Halibut Commission, suggesting that the Commission decide the split for charter and commercial allocation when making the overall decision on total allowable catch.  NOAA has also proposed allowing Alaska halibut charter operators to buy commercial quota, similar to the Canadian proposal from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans last winter.

The key phrase in the July 21 NOAA news release says

The International Pacific Halibut Commission, through which the United
States and Canada jointly manage the halibut resource from California to
the Bering Sea, would determine total commercial and charter catch
limits for southeast Alaska and the central Gulf of Alaska each year
before the fishing season….

Allocations to the charter and commercial sectors would vary with changes in the number of halibut available for harvest as determined by the best available science.

The actual details from the US Federal Register states:

The International Pacific Halibut Commission would
divide the annual combined catch limits into separate annual catch limits for the commercial and guided sport fisheries. The CSP (catch sharing plan) allocates a fixed percentage of the annual combined catch limit to the guided sport and commercial fisheries. The fixed percentage allocation to each sector varies with halibut abundance. The IPHC would multiply the CSP allocation percentages for each area by the annual combined catch limit to calculate the commercial and guided sport catch limits in net pounds. At moderate to low levels of halibut abundance, the CSP could provide the guided sport sector with a smaller poundage catch limit than it would have received under the GHL (guideline harvest levels) program. Conversely, at higher levels of abundance, the CSP could provide the guided sport sector with a larger poundage catch limit than it would have received under the GHL program.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council intended the CSP sector allocations to balance the needs of the guided sport and commercial sectors at all levels of halibut abundance.
Although the CSP allocation method is a significant change from the current allocation method under the GHL, National Marine Fisheries Service believes that the allocation under the CSP provides a more equitable management response

On the issue of buying commercial quota, the NOAA release says:

The catch sharing plan would authorize transfers of commercial halibut individual fishing quota to charter halibut permit holders for harvest by anglers in the charter halibut fishery.
Those transfers would offer charter vessel anglers in southeastern Alaska and the central Gulf of Alaska an opportunity to catch additional halibut, up to specified limits.

The news release goes on to say:

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council recommended the rule to
establish a clear allocation between the commercial and charter sectors
that fish in these areas.

Currently, the commercial and charter halibut fisheries are managed
under different programs. The commercial halibut fishery has been
managed under a catch limit program since 1995. The charter halibut
sector has been managed under a different harvest guideline since 2003,
which gives charter fishermen a number of fish they can catch per guided
angler per day, but does not ensure the overall catch stays within a
definitive catch limit.

The proposed catch sharing plan, which is scheduled to be in place by
2012, is designed to foster a sustainable fishery by preventing
overharvesting of halibut and would introduce provisions that provide
flexibility for charter and commercial fishermen.

Those who wish to comment on the draft policy must respond before September 6.

Link to NOAA news release

NOAA draft rule in US Federal Register

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B.C. first nation challenges oil and gas tenures sale: Globe and Mail

Globe and Mail


The sale of oil and gas tenures in northeast British Columbia by the provincial government for $260-million is being challenged in court by a native band.
The Dene Tha, a first nation that straddles the B.C.-Alberta-Northwest Territories boundaries, has filed a petition with the Supreme Court of B.C. The band alleges that the B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines failed to adequately consult with the first nation, or to undertake studies on the environmental impact of gas drilling, before selling the leases in the Cordova Basin, near Fort Nelson. Shale-gas deposits in the Cordova Basin are thought to be extensive.

Encana, PetroChina shale gas deal collapses

A  $5.4 billion deal between Canadian exploration giant Encana, one of the partners in the KM LNG project, and PetroChina collapsed Tuesday, sending shocks through both the financial markets and the energy exploration and production sector.

International analysts are already saying that China may be pulling back in its strategy to get a foothold in key resource areas and perhaps the Canadian energy sector was too optimistic.  Perhaps.

If the analysts are correct,  that means that some of the grand plans to export natural gas, at least to China, may still go ahead, but won’t immediately  turn British Columbia back into the fabled Golden  Mountain that brought the labourers from China more than a century ago to build the railways. Nor does this mean a major threat, at this point, to plans to export gas through Kitimat as there are plenty of buyers in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Malaysia looking at northeast BC shale gas.

    The Wall Street Journal Heard on the Street blog says

E&P executives across North America should also be nervous. While some speculate Canadian-resource nationalism has spread from potash to energy, there is little evidence of this, given other similar deals haven’t been blocked. The alternative explanation is that foreign buyers of North American gas assets may actually care about such quaint notions as return on investment.

That isn’t good news for an E&P sector that consistently lives beyond its means.

London’s Financial Times says

Although China has gained a reputation for buying up resources around the world at any cost, a string of recent failed deals suggests the country’s resources companies are starting to drive harder bargains and are becoming more selective. In April, China’s Minmetals withdrew a $6.5bn offer for Equinox, an Australian-Canadian copper miner, rather than raise its bid after a higher offer emerged from Barrick Gold.

Chinese oil companies have also recently walked away from, or missed out on, prized oil and gas assets in Brazil …

The failure of the Encana-PetroChina deal is a surprise to the industry because Chinese companies have recently been investing aggressively in shale gas assets to gain the expertise needed to develop China’s own reserves.

Reuters reported from Edmonton that it was Encana who walked away from the deal:

Encana, Canada’s No. 1 natural gas producer, said the two companies could not find common ground, despite a year of negotiations, and walked away from a deal that would have seen PetroChina take a one-half stake in Encana’s massive Cutbank Ridge field in northern British Columbia.

“We just reached the point where we determined we just couldn’t go forward” said Alan Boras, a spokesman for Encana.

The deal would have been the largest in a string of investments by Asian companies in North America’s prolific shale gas discoveries, while Encana investors were counting on the cash to shore up a balance sheet battered by more than two years of weak natural gas prices…

The CBC report had analysts disagreeing on Encana’s role:

John Stephenson, portfolio manager with First Asset Investment Management in Toronto, called the scuttled deal “a complete and utter failure.”

“I think they just couldn’t agree on anything and I think they were premature maybe in announcing this before they had an operating agreement in place,” he said….

But Lanny Pendill, an energy analyst with Edward Jones in St. Louis, commended Encana for its discipline….Its willingness to walk away from a deal after a year of work shows “if push comes to shove, they’re going to make the decision that’s in the best interest of Encana and Encana shareholders.

The Globe and Mail says Encana has plenty of assets in shale gas, especially the Horn River developments which were often mentioned as the main source for shale based natural gas that could be shipped through Kitimat:

With the PetroChina joint venture out of the picture, Encana still has lots of potential. For starters, back in April, the company said it was looking to start discussions on joint venture proposals for its Horn River and Greater Sierra assets. On the heels of Tuesday’s announcement, Encana said that the prospects for these projects are looking up, and raised its 2011 expected proceeds from them to between $1-billion and $2-billion, up from $500-million and $1-billion

Encana news release (on Encana site)

Encana news release 0621-petrochina-jv-negoiations-end.pdf

Here’s how the Enbridge hearings will proceed

387-Jointreviewbriefing_June_16_2011.jpg

Staff of the Northern Gateway Joint Review panel explain the hearing process to residents of Kitimat at Riverlodge Recreation Centre, June 16, 2011.  (Robin Rowland/Northwest Coast Energy News)


It will take more than year for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel to complete hearings and taking evidence before it even begins to consider a decision whether or not to approve the controversial pipeline proposal. 

Even then, the worries of the residents of northwest of British Columbia will be only one factor in the panel’s decision. 
The Joint Review panel information town hall reached Kitimat on the afternoon of Thursday, June 16. One of the information sheets handed out at the town hall explained the Joint Review Panel this way: 
 In deciding if the Project is in the public interest, the Panel will consider whether Canadians would be better or worse off if the Project was approved. The public interest includes all Canadians and refers to a balance of economic, environmental and social considerations that change as society’s values and preferences evolve over time. 
(Emphasis in original)
 Here is a summary of how the process will work: 
This summer, those who wish to formally participate in the hearing process must register with the panel.
 For those who wish full intervenor status, the deadline to apply is July 14, 2011.
For those who wish to make oral statements in the community round of hearings, the deadline to apply is October 6, 2011. 
Those formal intervenors who wish to request information from Northern Gateway have two deadlines. August 25, 2011 is the deadline for the first round, after which Northern Gateway must respond by October 6. The intervenors then can ask Northern Gateway a second set of questions, with a deadline of November 3, 2011. Northern Gateway must respond by November 24, 2011. 
The deadline for intervenors to file written evidence with the panel is December 22, 2011.
Community hearings
 On January 10, 2012, the Joint Panel will begin the “community hearings” phase where anyone who met the registration deadline, either as an intervenor or a community participant, can make a presentation to the panel. 
 These community hearings will be held across northern BC and Alberta, along the route of the pipeline and down the coast, with, sources say, a significant session slated for Kitimat.
The community hearings are expected to take several weeks.
 Those who made oral comments to the panel then have until March 13, 2012 to file follow up letters. 
Final hearings
 The community hearings are then followed by another round of filing by the intervenors and government participants.
 On June 16, 2012 the Joint Review Panel will then open the more formal “final hearings” at a location to be determined. 
 Around the same time, the Joint Review Panel must prepare an environmental assessment report that will be submitted to the Minister of the Environment. 
Again, according to the handout material, there is a caveat in the panel’s mandate 
 The significance of any negative environmental and socio-economic effect is only determined after considering the actions that are proposed to prevent or reduce the effects.  (Emphasis in the original)
 In other words, as those who have attended Enbridge’s briefing sessions know, the company has outlined a whole series of safety measures, for example, adding navigation aides to Douglas Channel and parts of the coast.
If the environmental movement wishes to challenge the voluminous reports, likely costing millions of dollars that Enbridge has already filed as part of its application to the Joint Review Panel,  the environmental concerns will have to be backed up with solid and expensive expert evidence.
 Once the Minister of the Environment has the environmental assessment, the government then responds: 
The government response will set out whether the Government of Canada agrees or disagrees with the conclusions and recommendations made the Panel by the panel regarding the potential environmental and socio-economic affects of the Project. The Governor-in-Council [ the federal cabinet] must approve the government response. This approved response will be made available to the public.
The decision
 After it hears the government response on the environment, the panel makes its decision,  whether or not the project can proceed. 
The Panel will issue its Reason for Decision which will include a decision whether or not the Project is in the Canadian public interest.

If the Panel decides the Project can proceed, its Reasons for Decision will include conditions that Northern Gateway must meet before, during and after the construction of the Project.

If the Panel decides that the Project should proceed, the Panel will send its decision to the Governor in Council who can either accept or reject the decision but cannot modify it.

The Governor in Council means the federal cabinet, so the final decision will rest with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

388-gatewaymap.jpg

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Latest entrant in LNG scramble wants NEB, BC to consolidate approvals: Reports

LNG World News

Progress Energy wants consolidated process for LNG projects in Canada

Progress Energy Resources Corp, which signed a C$1.07 billion ($1.09 billion) shale gas alliance with Malaysia’s state oil company, is pushing for a consolidated regulatory process for pipelines and liquefied gas export plants, its chief said on Monday.

A big driver for Progress’s deal with Petronas is a plan to build an multibillion-dollar LNG plant on the West Coast to take all of the shale gas production from the partner’s lands in the North Montney region of British Columbia….

Progress Chief Executive Michael Culbert said federal and provincial authorities should consider combining regulatory proceedings for multiple plants and pipelines, with so many proposals now in the works.

The current pipeline capacity to British Columbia’s Kitimat region is about 100 million cubic feet a day, far below what will be required to support an export industry, he told reporters after a speech to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers investment symposium.

Canadian Press

LNG terminals planned for West Coast have enough gas to go around: executives

Northeastern British Columbia’s shale fields contain more than enough natural gas to feed a myriad of West Coast export terminals in the works, energy executives said at an industry conference Monday.

But some say collaboration may be necessary to ensure the gas makes its way across the Pacific in the most cost-effective way possible.

Penn West president Murray Nunns …said he sees the various LNG proposals joining forces at some point.

“The scale of the initial projects at a (billion cubic feet) or two probably isn’t suitable relative to the size of the resource in Western Canada,” he told reporters.

“I think in the end, it may only end up as one or two facilities but I think they’ll be substantially larger than what’s been considered.”

Canadian oil boom may bring many more tankers to Northwest waters: Seattle Times

Seattle Times

Canadian oil boom may bring many more tankers to Northwest waters

[F]ights over Canada’s oil sands could have an impact much closer to home. One company is hoping to boost oil-sands shipments to Asia through Northwest waters — plans that would quadruple tanker traffic through Vancouver, B.C., and dramatically increase the amount of oil traveling through the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Some of the tankers the company hopes to accommodate could carry four times more crude than the Exxon Valdez, the supertanker that spilled 11 million gallons of crude into Prince William Sound….

“That’s definitely a lot more crude carriers,” said Chip Booth, a manager with the Washington state Department of Ecology’s spills program. “It certainly represents a bit of a higher risk.”

But it’s far too soon to say how much more.

Liquid natural gas exports will need infrastructure push: DCN

Daily Commercial News and Construction Record

Liquid natural gas exports will need infrastructure push

A growing number of energy industry players are looking to connect plentiful supplies of natural gas on this side of the Pacific with ravenous demand on the other.

It will be costly and complicated to link production from northeastern British Columbia’s vast shale natural gas fields to Asian consumers, but it’s an undertaking several observers say is worthwhile.

Ralph Glass, vice-president at AJM Petroleum Consultants in Calgary, likens the task to the construction of Canada’s major railways and seaways…..

It’s clear to energy consultant Glass that there’s enough Asian demand to soak up Canadian supply, but he’s less sure about the logistics of connecting the two.

He said there currently is not enough pipeline infrastructure between northeastern B.C. and the coast to accommodate the volumes necessary for each of the proposed projects. Getting new pipelines approved and built can be a slow process.