Edmonton region council backs Northern Gateway, but wants Alberta jobs

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Capital Region Board to lobby for Northern Gateway pipeline

Edmonton radio station 880 News reports:

Mayors and reeves from the greater Metro Edmonton area are throwing some political weight behind the idea of a pipeline to the west coast.
But, there’s a catch to the proposal of the Northern Gateway.

“Don’t ship all of our bitumen out,” said Coun. Ed Gibbons during a break in Thursday’s meeting Capital Region Board meeting. “Let’s have value added, so we want to look at more upgraders into the future.

International backing for Northern Gateway pipeline grows: new Chinese investment, more Joint Review intervenors

Energy Northern Gateway Links

The Globe and Mail and Reuters are reporting that Enbridge has more Chinese support for the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline project. One large Chinese group, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec), is already backing Enbridge’s efforts to build the Northern Gateway.

In Enbridge’s push to the Pacific wins support from China .

the Globe’s Nathan Vanderklippe says:

Sources have now told The Globe and Mail that the list of funders also includes MEG Energy Corp., which is partly owned by CNOOC Ltd., another Chinese state-owned energy company. Each funder gains the right to discounted shipping rates and an option to buy an equity stake at a later date…MEG spokesman Brad Bellows said the company is “not commenting on speculation.” But, he added, MEG is “interested in expanded market access, absolutely.”

On its website, MEG describes itself as “part of the next generation of oil sands development. We are an Alberta-based company that uses Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) technology to recover drillable (in situ) oil from the oil sands.”

Reuters reports

Enbridge declined to disclose any of the Northern Gateway partners. However, Gina Jordan, spokeswoman for the pipeline company, said they include a mix of oil sands producers and Asian refiners.

Several Chinese companies have invested in the oil sands over the past decade to tap what is currently ranked as the world’s third-largest crude deposit as a way to help fuel their booming economy at home.

Last week, Enbridge said it and would-be shippers had agreed on terms for moving oil on Northern Gateway… before regulatory hearings scheduled to start in January.

The Globe and Mail is also reporting that a growing list of international companies are filing as intervenors for the Joint Review Panel hearings slated for January.

Nearly two dozen companies have asked to be “intervenors” … including small Canadian companies, major multinationals like Exxon Mobil Corp. and foreign companies like South Korean conglomerate Daewoo International.

Companies typically intervene when they want to closely follow a project, are interested in using it – by sending crude through Gateway, for example – or have a financial interest in it.

[T]he project holds the promise of dramatically altering Canada’s energy geography, providing for the first time access to a major new – and growing – export market. That has made it an increasing object of global interest.

South Korean trading and construction firm Daewoo International, for example, is hopeful it can provide steel or engineering to the Gateway pipeline. That’s just one part of its Canadian strategy.

Blog: Canada Day In The Petro-State: Common Dreams

Common Dreams blog

Just in time for Canada Day, Alberta Finance and Enterprise Minister Lloyd Snelgrove chose to exhibit why Canadian democracy is devolving into something akin to corporate rule (“Ottawa urged to get behind Enbridge pipeline,” Edmonton Journal, June 23). This particularly appears to be the case in the province of Alberta where, more often than not, it is government of the oil industry, by the oil industry, for the oil industry.

Oil Sands Project in Canada Will Go On if Pipeline Is Blocked: New York Times

New York Times
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Oil Sands Project in Canada Will Go On if Pipeline Is Blocked

One way or another — by rail or ship or a network of pipelines — Canada will export oil from its vast northern oil sands projects to the United States and other markets.

The oil sands have reserves of 171.3 billion barrels, according to estimates by the provincial government of Alberta.

So the regulatory battle over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would link the oil sands to the Gulf Coast of the United States, may be little more than a symbolic clash of ideology, industry experts say. Even if the Obama administration rejects the Keystone plan, the pace of oil sands development in northern Alberta is unlikely to slow

Joint Review hearings on Enbridge Northern Gateway set for Kitimat in mid-January: sources

The full Joint Review Panel hearings on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline are tentatively set to open in Kitimat in mid-January, 2012.

Knowledgable energy industry insider sources confirmed the likely dates and that the bulk of the hearings will take place in Kitimat to Northwest Coast Energy News Friday after a number of the participants in this week’s  National Energy Board hearings on the KM LNG pipeline made inquiries locally about booking meeting rooms and hotel accommodation for several weeks in a stretch,  beginning in early January, 2012.

The Joint Review website says:  “The Panel will start meeting with participants on 10 January 2012 at locations to be determined.”   During last winter’s  National Energy Board pre-briefing  on this week’s  LNG hearings, NEB staff said the location  to  be determined was always chosen to provide the best opportunity for those involved to speak before the board.  While there were fears in Kitimat that the LNG hearings would be held Alberta, those fears proved to be unfounded.

The Joint Review panel is now traveling across BC offering information sessions to the public.
Updated schedule here. It is highly likely that hearings, like the information sessions, will be held in as many locales as possible, but those will likely be mostly about local issues, with the bulk of the concerns before the Joint Review Panel hearings in Kitimat.
A NEB source cautioned that dates are always tentative due to other hearings, staff commitments (some of the KM LNG NEB staff are also assigned to the Northern Gateway hearings) and, as sometimes happens, the lawyers agreeing on postponements.

According to the official website:

The Joint Review Panel for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project is an independent body, mandated by the Minister of the Environment and the National Energy Board. The Panel will assess the environmental effects of the proposed project and review the application under both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the National Energy Board Act.

The Joint Review panel has much wider powers to hear issues than the NEB did this week in the KM LNG hearings, where the only issue on the table was the partnership’s application for a natural gas export licence.

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U.S. ambassador to Canada: Reduce oilsands’ environmental impact: Calgary Herald

Calgary Herald

U.S. ambassador to Canada: Reduce oilsands’ environmental impact

Alberta will continue to feed America’s energy needs but must work to clean up resource extraction operations, David Jacobson, the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, said Tuesday…..

However, additional improvements in the environmental performance of oilsands extraction operations are “necessary,” he said.

“We’re aware of the progress that has been made to address some of the environmental impacts in the Alberta oilsands. . . . But as I’ve said on many occasions in the past, additional improvements are necessary.”

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers took a more positive spin on Jacobson’s speech in this tweet.

@OilGasCanada US ambassador sees Canada as a pillar “safest and most secure foreign supplier” http://goo.gl/HgB24 #KeystoneXL #tarsands #oilsands

Environmentalists pin hope on Obama opposition to pipeline project: Globe and Mail

Globe and Mail  

TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline has become a litmus test in the U.S. battle over energy policy, as the environmental movement looks for reassurance that President Barack Obama is committed to combatting climate change.

 Prodded by congressional Republicans for a quick decision, the U.S. State Department concludes a comment period on Monday for its draft environmental impact statement on the XL project. 

 The final version – to be issued this summer – will likely conclude that the environmental concerns should not derail the project, despite troublesome leaks from the existing Keystone pipeline, which was shut last week after a small leak in Kansas.

US allows restart of Keystone pipeline: Reports

There are media reports that the United States Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration is permitting the restart of the Keystone pipeline after earlier saying it could not be restarted following a spill on May 29.


The Wall Street Journal reports

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Saturday approved TransCanada Corp.’s plan to restart its Keystone pipeline…. TransCanada on Saturday provided results of its testing along the Keystone and can restart it as soon as the morning of July 5, the PHMSA said in a letter to the company.

“Based on a review of the information submitted, the restart plan is approved,” PHMSA Central Region Director David Barrett said in the letter.

Reuters reports that pipeline could start as early as Sunday:


TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO) can restart its Keystone oil pipeline on Sunday, after the company satisfied a series of safety conditions following leaks that idled the key export line twice in less than a month, the U.S. pipeline safety regulator said on Saturday. 

 The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said it approved resumption of crude flows from Canada on the pipeline after the agency evaluated the company’s restart plan and was satisfied safety requirements were met.

As of this posting there is no confirming information on the PHMSA or TransCanada websites.

Keystone XL pipeline would accelerate U.S. addiction to Canadian oil: report: PostMedia News

PostMedia News

A controversial $13-billion pipeline project originating in Hardisty, Alta., will accelerate U.S. addiction to Canadian oil, says a newly-released report from Natural Resources Canada.

 “The Keystone XL project is seen as both furthering U.S. dependence on oil, and enabling more oilsands crude to enter the U.S. market,” said the document, released through access to information legislation… 

 “Although the Keystone XL pipeline was certificated in Canada in late April 2010, the company continues to wait for approvals in the U.S. before it can begin construction,” said the report, obtained by Ottawa researcher Ken Rubin. “This . . . has been caused by U.S. opposition to imports of ‘dirty’ Canadian crude oil from the ‘tar sands….'” 

 The Natural Resources Canada report, entitled “Current Pipeline Issues,” was finalized on Oct. 22, 2010, and listed senior bureaucrats… from the oil and gas policy and regulatory division of the department as its key contacts.