Cullen renews calls for tanker ban on west coast: CFJW

CFJW 

Skeena Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen is using World Ocean’s Day to call on Prime Minister Stephan Harper to immediately legislate an oil tanker ban off the north coast.

 The Federal Natural Resources Critic says the the voices of BC First nations, municipal leaders and residents are incredibly strong and united on the urgent need for a legislated tanker ban.”

Enbridge still short on pipeline support: Globe and Mail

Globe and Mail

Enbridge Inc. is struggling to win aboriginal support for its Northern Gateway project, despite major financial promises and efforts to curry support through sponsoring golf tournaments, powwows and rodeos, regulatory documents filed by the company show. 

 Enbridge has pledged some $1-billion in financial sweeteners to first nations, including a 10-per-cent equity stake in the project and promises of hiring guarantees and hundreds of millions in spending on aboriginal businesses….

But documents filed with the National Energy Board by Enbridge… show that a surprising number of groups do not appear interested in the offer….

The ghost of Enbridge haunts the second day of Kitimat LNG hearings

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Lawyer Robert Janes, representing the Gitxaala First Nation, cross-examines consultant Roland Priddle at the second day of the KM LNG hearings before a National Energy Board panel in Kitimat, June 8, 2011.  (Robin Rowland/Northwest Coast Energy News)
The ghost of  the Enbridge  Northern Gateway proposal is always  behind the scenes in the stuffy meeting room at the Riverlodge Community Centre as the National Energy Board considers KM LNG’s application for a liquified natural gas export licence through the port of Kitimat.
Officially, in the view of the board and the lawyers in the room, the Enbridge proposal is neither,  legally nor practically, part of the proceedings. 
The two hearings are quite different.  The KM LNG is,  in the view of the National Energy Board, nothing more an application for an export licence.  The Joint Review is considering the Northern Gateway “facility.” That is much wider.
   Today, one of the key issues about the Northern Gateway proposal came to the forefront: the question of responsibility for tankers, whether those tankers carry bitumen or cryogenic cooled natural gas.
Wednesday was a hot summer day, the meeting room at  Riverlodge  even hotter, with no air conditioning, just a few lazy ceiling fans.  In the opening moments of the hearings,  one of the lawyers joked about not wearing his tie, reminiscent  the opening courtroom scene in the play and movie, Inherit the Wind, based on the Scopes Monkey Trial, where Clarence Darrow (played by Spencer Tracy as Henry Drummond) confronted William Jennings Bryan (played by Frederic March as Matthew Brady)
The subject of Wednesday’s proceedings was, on the surface, dull and purely economic, charts and graphs, “Export Assessment,” guaranteed to make most of the people in the warm room to nod off.
The main witness  on the panel of export experts was Roland Priddle, an Ottawa-based  “consultant in energy economics.”
The initial questions were routine, about imports and exports of natural gas in Canada. The experts said the use of shale natural gas is expected to increase from two per cent of the Canadian market to 34 per cent over the next 25 years.  The panel estimated that there are more than 40 shale gas “plays” are under  development or planned in Canada.
For the public, the NEB hearings are a bit opaque. Unlike a public inquiry or a court hearing, the direct testimony has already occurred, in the documents the companies, consultants and experts  have  filed.  The lawyers then ask questions on those filings.
Robert Janes, of  the Janes Freedman Kyle law firm, specializing in aboriginal law cases,  based in Vancouver and Victoria, represents the Gitxaala, a small coastal  First Nation, based in Kitkatla on the northern BC coast.
Janes began his cross-examination of  Priddle, asking about the supply chain and later  at what geographic point the natural gas was officially “exported.”
Priddle hesitated for a moment,  said he was unsure about natural gas, then replied that years before, when he had worked for the oil industry that the “title” to the oil changed at the “joint flange” where the pipe connected with the manifold on the oil tanker.
Priddle’s  apparently innocuous statement made the few Kitimat residents left at the hearing sit up and pay attention. 
The previous September, if there was a moment when you could actually see in a room at Riverlodge that a community’s attitude toward Enbridge changed, it was on Sept. 22, 2010, when the Enbridge outreach group told the audience that the company had no legal responsibility for the bitumen it would pipe from Alberta once it was loaded on the tankers.
Under further questioning from Janes,  Priddle said that the fact that title to the oil changed at the “flange connection” had been traditional in the oil industry for decades.   
Janes then furthered his cross-examination by asking Priddle and also other members of the export panel, about where “export” actually occurred, at the “flange connection” or at the 12-mile international ocean limit.
That question set the stage for an almost day long clash between Janes and  Gordon Nettleton, of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt‘s Calgary office, representing KM LNG. Nettleton bears a superficial resemblance to Frederic March’s Matthew Brady and while the next hours were not really the epic struggle between Darrow and Bryan, it was two good lawyers sparring over the somewhat restrictive rules of evidence that govern National Energy Board hearings, while the real question was  the future of the western coast of Canada.
Nettleton tried to keep Janes’ questions narrow, just to the material in Priddle’s written submission to the NEB.  Nettleton told NEB panel chair, Lynn Mercier, that Janes should ask about the “capital intensity of the LNG  chain” and not “how cryogenic shipping relates to shipping and export points.”   
Janes responded that “If you look at the report, Priddle talks about the chain in general aspects, all parts of the chain including government approvals.” Janes then told the NEB panel that  “cross-examination can bring out knowledge of the witness  as whole.”  Perhaps that is true in court or at a public inquiry, but not necessarily before the National Energy Board.
Nettleton replied that Janes should have asked those questions either of Monday’s policy panel, a rather dull affair,  where there few questions from any of  the lawyers at the hearing or at later panel on “terminal approvals” scheduled for Thursday or Friday. Nettleton told Mercier  he didn’t want Janes to have a “blank cheque” to cross-examine based on one sentence in Priddle’s report.
The problem is that the NEB practice of using narrowly focused “expert” panels, while  perhaps routine in the towers of the Alberta oil patch, doesn’t always coincide with the controversies over tankers on the BC coast, especially in the case of KM LNG where the NEB hearing for the export licence is what policy calls a “market-based procedure,” focusing solely on the facts and figures of the economy of natural gas.
Somewhat stymied by the narrowness of the hearings, Janes  proceeded to ask questions about how the natural gas market had changed over the past few years. Again Nettleton objected to some of Janes’ questions that were beyond the scope of Priddle’s original written report.
Janes was trying to establish that the northeastern British Columbia shale gas deposits would eventually be developed whether or not the Kitimat LNG terminal was given NEB approval.

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Priddle replied by giving Janes a lecture in economics,  saying  that while the advantages or disadvantages for First Nations were beyond his expertise, as an economist he felt that if  Janes that  had an interest in the welfare of his First Nations clients and their social development, it also should extend to other First Nations groups in both British Columbia and Alberta. “As an economist,” Priddle said,   “I tend  to follow the ‘present value princple,’  he said, explaining that it is best if a person gets a job now,  “the person who is not employed in 2012 and 2013 but will get some employment in the future… that native looses the five years” and “so there is  much less economic  value”  for that individual person.
“What is the benefit taking the project now, taking the development now?” Janes asked. “If we do this rigorously, what are the costs imposted on the aboriginal person? I suggest that proper economic analysis requires both sides of the equation.”
Priddle avoided that question, saying to Janes. “you are moving away from my evidence.”
With that, Janes had finished his questioning and the hearings broke for lunch.
Most of the afternoon was concerned with questions over the future of an integrated North American natural gas market and how, in the future, Canadian natural gas might be exported not just to the United States but through the US to Asia, while at the same time American natural gas could be imported into Canada to service some markets.
As the day closed, in the heat of the afternoon, and as many were anxiously looking at their watches as the clock neared the time for the puck drop for the fourth game of the Stanley Cup finals between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins in Boston,  Mercier called on Nettleton to ask any redirect questions to Priddle and the rest of the panel.
Nettleton seized on the scenario that it was possible that Alberta natural gas could be exported to Asia through a port on the US west coast. 
“If KM was not allowed to proceed, and the potential outlet was in the United States, how do see that as advantageous to  [BC] First Nations?” Nettleton asked Priddle.”Objection!”  Janes was on his feet to protest: during the cross-examination, Priddle had indicated that the advantages and disadvantages had moved beyond the evidence in his written submissions.
“What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander,” Janes told Nettleton. “This is completely out of bounds,”  because Janes had not been able to examine Priddle on the question, it was not proper rexamination, it was outside of the evidence.
“I have asked if Mr Priddle to comment,I have not asked for an opinion whether there would be costs or benefits for First Nations that would  be affected by Kitimat LNG,” Nettleton said.
“That is the question I am objecting to,” Janes replied.  
After some more arguments, Mercier concluded that a comment and an opinion were pretty much the same thing and the hearing adjourned. The participants fled to watch the Bruins trounce the Canucks 4-0 and the stage was sit for more clashes on Thursday as the more substantial expert panels face the lawyers.

Three pipeline builders race to reach new markets Keystone, TMX and Gateway: Alberta Oil

Alberta Oil 

Pipelines have never been so popular. For years, the steel conduits followed unseen routes. They carried rivers of crude oil beneath city and town alike, rarely drawing so much as a passing thought from those who depended on their valuable cargo. Today, proposals by Kinder Morgan Canada, Enbridge Inc. and TransCanada Corp. face fierce opposition in a bid to carry more Canadian crude oil – chiefly increased oil sands production – to new markets.

Excerpt from Alberta Oil interview with Nlorthern Gateway President John Carruthers

 

The primary markets where we would see the most value are China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Now once the oil reaches tidewater it can access any market. We would see crude going periodically to different markets. But those four markets in particular have strong demand. The proximity of Canada to those markets and the fact that they can process Canadian crude is all very positive. Potentially the oil could also go to California.

First Nations “manipulated” by Americans on Enbridge: National Post columnist

National Post

Columnist Peter Foster

Northern Gateway is being ostensibly opposed by native groups. The question is how far those groups are being manipulated -and paid -by the green movement. Two weeks ago, aboriginal protestors ululated and banged on their drums outside the Enbridge annual meeting. They have also appeared at bank meetings, including that a few weeks ago of the Royal Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh. They are a permanent fixture at UN climate meetings…. 

And just how many informed natives do the protestors represent? One loud group, the Yinka Dene Alliance, has asserted its unyielding opposition to Northern Gateway, no matter how much training, and how many benefits and jobs, are provided to often desperately poor native communities. However, some observers suggest that the alliance represents only 150 people. According to Enbridge, some support the line, although the company is reluctant to identify them because it doesn’t want to stir potential conflict. This reflects the usual situation in which project proponents find themselves silenced while opponents are free to conspicuously drum their moral outrage….

‘Native land claims scare the hell out of investors’: energy expert : The Hook

The Hook (Tyhee blog)

‘Native land claims scare the hell out of investors’: energy expert

Fierce First Nations opposition could very well topple Enbridge’s west coast pipeline proposal, a Washington-based energy expert argues.

“Native land claims scare the hell out of investors,” Robert Johnson told an Alberta energy conference, according to an Edmonton Journal report. “My level of confidence [in the project] has gone down quite a bit, unfortunately.”

Johnson belongs to senior management at Eurasia Group, which claims to be the “world’s leading global political risk research and consulting firm.”

A dire warning from a broken pipe: Globe and Mail

Globe and Mail

A dire warning from a broken pipe

The Rainbow spill is just the latest in a series of oil leaks in North America’s vast pipeline network over the past year, and comes as Canadian energy giants are pressing to win approval for some of their most ambitious projects to date. Those include TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline to ship oil sands crude to the Gulf of Mexico, and Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway pipeline to take Alberta crude to the British Columbia coast for shipment to then to Asia, a plan that faces fierce opposition from first nations.

First Nations stand ground

Financial Post

First Nations stand ground

In case their unequivocal message hasn’t been received, British Columbia’s First Nations are in Calgary this week to make it clear to the board of directors of Enbridge Inc., Enbridge’s annual meeting of shareholders and members of the broader oil community that the proposed $5.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline is not going forward. 

It will be a difficult message to accept. The pipeline between the oil sands in Alberta and Kitimat on the northern coast of B.C. is a big plank in the oil-and-gas industry’s strategy to develop a new market for its products in Asia, a major part of Enbridge’s growth strategy, a key piece of strategic infrastructure for all of Canada, and a major job creator for Western Canada.