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ANALYSIS: The economic realities of refining crude oil / 9 MAY / JUNE 2018






Workers, business leaders, and politicians rally in support of natural resource development; Feds willing to backstop Trans Mountain build; Encana bumps up Montney drilling activity; and Syncrude support helps create world’s largest protected boreal forest in Alberta

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MAY 18, 2018




Pipeline opposition largely funded by rich Americans


he meek will inherit the earth … if that’s okay with everybody else,” goes the old joke. When it comes to developing Canada’s energy sector, that trite joke seems all too true. The Northern Gateway, Energy East, and Pacific NorthWest LNG pipeline proposals have been scrapped. Scotiabank estimates that the Canadian economy forfeits $15.6 billion a year as other pipeline proposals await approval. Has this happened because Canadians organically and collectively decided the environmental impact was too great? No. This actually happened because uber-rich American environmental foundations planned and paid for this very result. The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project may be the best proof of this claim. Kinder Morgan built its first Trans Mountain pipeline in 1953. In 2008, it added 158 km of pipeline in its Anchor Loop Project. The project that sent oil straight through Jasper National Park happened without hiccups and even captured awards for its environmental responsibility. Nevertheless, the Trans Mountain expansion project has met fierce resistance, even though most of it simply twins the existing route. Why? Follow the money, as researcher Vivian Krause did, and you’ll find out. In 2008, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Tides Foundation sponsored the Tar Sands Campaign to curtail Alberta oil. The 17-page strategy paper by Corporate Ethics International is still available. A decade later, its success is undeniable. Its agenda was to “Stop or limit the expansion of pipelines, up-graders and refineries,” cap oilsands development and isolate Albertan crude to Alberta has largely succeeded. “From the very beginning,” the Tar Sands Campaign website tells us, “the campaign strategy was to land-lock the tar sands so the

crude could not reach the international market where it could fetch a high price per barrel. This meant national and grassroots organizing to block all proposed pipelines.” A grassroots campaign is doomed when its participants, and the public at large, realize that the whole thing is bankrolled by Americans trying to kill Canadian resource sales. That’s why the strategy paper advised secrecy: “The Coordination Center shall remain invisible to the outside and to the extent possible, staff will be ‘purchased’ from engaged organizations.” The foundations stuck to the plan. Tides gave $36 million to more than 100 organizations in Canada, the U.S. and Europe to campaign against oilsands development and the transportation of oil to refineries and ports. Likewise, the Hewlett Foundation has given $90 million to First Nations and environmental groups in British Columbia and the western U.S. to oppose oil and gas development. More than 60 groups also get behind-the-scenes and ghost-writing support from NetChange, a private American company funded to “support and amplify” the campaign.

An essential part of the campaign strategy was “a steady drumbeat of bad press” to make the oilsands look as dirty as the “tar” label they use. It seems they were ready not only to smear but to lie. Although the oilsands cover just one per cent of Alberta’s boreal forest, some environmental groups have declared it as big as Florida. Others assert that the carbon footprint in the oilsands is three or four times larger than the average unit produced in the United States. The reality is, it is only 10 to 20 per cent larger – and still better than California heavy oil. What else did oilsands opponents do? Krause tells us: “Among the strategies employed by the Tar Sands Campaign are legal action, putting land and marine access off-limits in the name of protecting wildlife habitat, fomenting First Nations opposition and leveraging their constitutional rights, lobbying and celebrity endorsement.” If you ever wondered why Jane Fonda flew a fuelpowered helicopter over the oilsands or 150 First Nations allied to oppose them, wonder no more. Strange thing, though: every First Nation whose reserve the pipeline passes through has agreed to its passage. So have 80 per cent of such communities even close to the route. Could the $400 million in agreements Kinder Morgan made with those 51 communities have had something to do with it? Probably, and that’s a good thing. Canadians should decide what’s best for Canada. The economic potential of pipeline construction and oil exports is a substantial benefit for everyone who lives here. Now that we know about the Americans forking out millions of dollars to hold us back, we should stop listening to the politicians and protesters they hire. Lee Harding is a research associate for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy




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Residents rally in support Trans Mountain, LNG exports MATT PREPROST Canadians need to be cautious of the motives behind rising activism against the country’s oil and gas industry, a rally heard in Fort St. John last weekend. More than 100 vehicles motorcaded down the Alaska Highway on April 21 to show support for the building of an LNG export industry and the Trans Mountain pipeline in B.C. Business owners, workers, and politicians rallied at Centennial Park afterward to hear from researcher and writer Vivian Krause, who outlined her work over the last eight years tracking funding for environmental activism in Canada back to the United States. Activism today isn’t what it used to be, evolving from volunteer groups into multimillion organizations, Krause said. “If the activists, if what they say is true, it doesn’t matter where their money is coming from,” Krause said. “It’s when they say things that aren’t true, that’s when it starts to matter. We got to ask, why are they saying this?” Krause said she first stumbled across a campaign targeting Canada’s oilsands industry while researching campaigns against salmon farming in B.C. At first, Krause said she didn’t know whether pipeline projects like Northern Gateway and Keystone XL were being targetted. But since 2010, Krause said she has traced more than 400 payments worth more than $40 million to activist groups in Canada, the U.S., and Europe, part of a campaign to landlock Canada’s crude. That underlines the importance of rallying for support of the industry in Canada, she said. “It’s about much more than building a pipeline. This is about breaking the U.S. monopoly on our oil,” Krause said. “We’re the only country that would allow ourselves to be bullied out of the oil market — that is if we let it happen.” As protests and arrests mount in Burnaby over the Trans Mountain expansion, polls suggest support for the $7.4-billion pipeline project is growing. The Angus Reid Institute found 54 per cent of British Columbians support the project, up from 48 per cent. Opposition dropped to 38 per cent, while Canada-wide support grew to 55 per cent from 49 per cent. Saturday’s rally was nearly two years to the day more than 600 vehicles paraded down the Alaska Highway for a rally in support of LNG at Charlie Lake, said Taylor Mayor Rob Fraser, who chairs the Northeast B.C. Resource Municipalities Coalition. The goal then is the same as the goal now: getting the silent majority to start raising their voices, he said. “We are increasing the understanding of our industry, we’re increasing the knowledge across the whole country about why these projects are so important,” Fraser said of recent poll


110 vehicles took to the Alaska Highway in Fort St. John on April 21, 2018, to rally in support of oil and gas development in Canada.

support for Trans Mountain. Major projects in the oil and gas industry are critical for northern communities that rely on the industry, Fraser said. “It’s the jobs that bring people here, but it’s the environment that keeps them here. Those values are important to all of us,” Fraser said. “If we send any kind of message to our premier it’s that he needs to open his mind, and be open minded to the evidence that shows Canadians and, in particular, folks up in this part of the country have the knowledge, skills, and ability to build these projects, operate these projects in the national interest, and to show that we can protect the values that all of us believe in.” Among those in the crowd was Fort Nelson resident Kristi Leer, who encouraged residents to stay vocal. “I can’t say enough what oil and gas has done for our family,” Leer said. “It’s a lifestyle, you can’t take it away. All of these people, all of these little communities we’re living in now are going to disappear.” The U.S. focus on energy security and independence has dovetailed with a rise in environmental protection in the country, Krause said. That puts Canada at the mercy of the geopolitics of oil, Krause said, calling it the “elephant in the room.” “What they’re trying to do is get the world off Mideast oil, especially the United States. Of course, if you were the United States, you can’t even think about going off Mideast oil unless you got a lockdown on Canadian oil,” Krause said. “Our prime minister should be saying this. He’s the one who should be up here explaining this to everybody in Fort St. John, and everyone else across the country. If he’s not going to do it, well then we will.” —Pipeline News North

MAY 18, 2018


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Researcher Vivian Krause speaks about her research into American-funded environmental activism in Canada.

Feds to backstop Trans Mountain PAUL WELLS With the Kinder Morgan Canada Limitedimposed May 31 deadline fast approaching and with his sites squarely set on B.C. Premier John Horgan, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau says his government is prepared to indemnify the $7.4 billion Trans Mountain expansion project. That offer, he added, would also apply to any other potential investor that could step in if Kinder Morgan chooses to back out of the contentious project. “We’re prepared … to indemnify the project against any financial loss that derives from Premier Horgan’s attempts to delay or obstruct the project,” Morneau said during a press conference in Ottawa May 16. “This indemnification would allow Kinder Morgan to finish what they started when they received federal and B.C. approval … If Kinder Morgan at some stage decides not to proceed with the Trans Mountain expansion project, the indemnity against financial loss would still be in place for another party who might wish to take over the project.” Morneau made his comments just hours prior to Kinder Morgan’s annual general meeting in Calgary. He declined to say what aid Ottawa could provide or how much. Morneau said that he’s confident that if Kinder Morgan eventually bows out, interest would be strong from other potential investors. “If Kinder Morgan isn’t interested in building the project, we think that plenty of investors would be interested in taking on this project, especially knowing that the federal government believes that it’s in the best interest of Canadians and is willing to provide indemnity to make sure

that it gets done,” Morneau said. “To the extent that any commercial actor would require indemnification against unconstitutional actions by a provincial government, we’re willing to deal with that risk because we believe firmly that this is a project that is in the federal jurisdiction.” That said, Morneau reiterated the federal government’s stance that the Trans Mountain project is commercially viable and that indemnification further builds on its business case. “What we can tell you is we see that there is an economic case for this project. We also see that it’s not reasonable to expect a private sector actor to deal with disputes between governments,” he said. “We’ve found a way, we believe, to deal with that political risk and should Kinder Morgan not want to move forward with that approach to dealing with it, we think there’s other private sector actors who would be willing to move forward.” He wouldn’t elaborate when asked if he’s had discussions with other parties: “I’ve been engaged in discussions with Kinder Morgan … I don’t have anything to report on in terms of other discussions.” The finance minister noted that any federal support for the project must be “sound and fair and beneficial” to Canadians. When asked if the federal government might consider taking an equity stake in the project as opposed to offering indemnity, Morneau was non-committal. Morneau remains hopeful that an agreement can be reached with Kinder Morgan by the May 31 deadline. — Daily Oil Bulletin

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OUTLOOK Engage in the public debate, chamber rally hears MATT PREPROST Out of your seats and onto the streets — that was the message heard by a group of business and political leaders at a natural resource rally in Fort St. John last week. The May 4 rally, hosted by the chamber of commerce, was a more white collar event that followed on the heels of a 100-plus vehicle motorcade that took to the Alaska Highway in April in support of the oil and gas industry in B.C. and Canada. Featuring executives from LNG Canada, Surerus Pipeline, Conuma Coal, Louisiana Pacific, the Northeast BC Resource Municipalities Coalition, and more, the evening included a industry updates, wine and food pairings, and calls to action to engage more in public debate. “We need people to understand the stuff we depend on comes from resources,” said Susannah Pierce, exterMATT PREPROST PHOTO nal relations director for LNG Canada. “We’ve been too complacent, I Stewart Muir, executive director of Resource Works, addresses a resource rally in Fort St. John on May 4, 2018. think, in helping people understand what each product you’re holding, 1969 when his father Brian traded in once represented the establishment people, real communities,” he said. including your phone, what are the his pickup truck for a dump truck, in Canada, but has now found itself From a municipal perspective, the materials that comprise that, and Surerus said. Today, the company on the outside looking in. It faces an Northeast BC Resource Municipalhow have all those materials come regularly employs more than 1,000 uncertain future amid what he called ities Coalition said it’s focusing its together? How do we move them workers on its projects across Western an attack on Canadian energy sover- attention on research and advocacy around communities, around the Canada, Surerus said. eignty, including foreign funding to to broaden its understanding of the province, around the country, and The company has withstood nearly support activism against the indus- industries operating in Northeast B.C. across borders?” half a century of booms and busts, tries, and political initiatives ranging while advancing the interests of the Consumers need to understand the and changes in government, while from oil tanker bans to carbon pricing region. natural resource value chain of mod- giving back to arts, sports, and vol- policies. Building permanent resource comern day products and conveniences, unteer initiatives in the community, “There’s a lot of people who don’t munities is vital, Fort St. John Mayor which gives industry leaders an op- Surerus said. want the industries that most or all of Lori Ackerman told the crowd. portunity to step up and educate, “Here we are as one the larger busi- you depend on to exist, at all. You’re “You’re investing in our communPierce said. nesses in our community. Not only the enemy, they want you dead. They ities, you’re building businesses here, “People who understand natural that, we’re one of the largest pipeline really do, that’s not an overstatement,” your homes; your children are going resources best are the people who contractors in the country,” he said. he said. to school here, making friends here, develop them,” she said. “What I’m Surerus formed a joint venture with “Those who want to overturn they’re playing soccer,” Ackerman telling them is get out of your seat and J. Murphy and Sons out of United things are actually inside the estab- said. out on the streets and be heard, and Kingdom to land work on major lishment. They’re ransacking, they’re “We want to make sure we’re buildhave that conversation. Then people energy projects including the Energy turning over all the conventions.” ing a permanent resource community will really understand how import- East, Keystone XL, and Trans MounIt’s forcing those industries to speak so that when your children grow up ant natural resources are, but also the tain pipelines. There were nearly 30 truth to power from an underdog and go away for their post-secondary jobs developing them.” projects four years ago that have now position, Muir said. Muir said he had education, and they’re thinking about Sean Surerus, president of Surerus been cut down to less than a handful, to recently counter misinformation where to raise their children, they’re Pipeline, said his company is doing Surerus said. during a debate on a Vancouver radio going to think Fort St. John because just that. His company is currently It’s why the company has focused talk show that the Trans Mountain they had such a fabulous childhood.” one of two Fort St. John pipeline con- its attention on engaging in the public project wouldn’t create meaningful First Nations play an important tractors caught in the impasse over debate about resource extraction and employment. role in resource development in the the Trans Mountain pipeline expan- development, Surerus said. “I heard her say there’s no jobs that region, Taylor Mayor Rob Fraser said. sion. Combined, Surerus and Macro“We’re operating in an uncertain come from the pipeline, there’s no “A lot of the issues that we have Spiecapag would be responsible for time for our projects,” he said. “I’ve short-term jobs, really, that are worth- as municipalities and as neighbours building 27 per cent of the project, he been connected with many more while. Kinder Morgan is lying because runs across the board, there’s a lot said. “People don’t know that in B.C., media outlets than I can imagine in Big Oil lies, right? They’re just going to of commonality there,” he said. “As and right now we’re having to make the last month. That’s because we’re build the pipeline, I don’t know how,” we work on those common issues some tough decisions on people as more willing to speak up more than he said. together, we can build trust and move we wait for clarity on that project,” ever. We need to do that.” “I told the listeners, look, there are forward, and deal with some of the Surerus said. Stewart Muir, executive director small companies, that I know these more difficult issues that we know are Surerus comes from humble be- for Resource Works, said the trad- people, I’m hearing their stories. going to need work.” ginnings — the company began in itional energy sector of oil and gas Believe me these are real jobs, real —Pipeline News North

MAY 18, 2018




Encana bumps up Montney drilling activity to fill new plants DEBORAH JAREMKO Encana says it nearly doubled drilling activity in the Montney play in the first quarter of 2018 over the previous year’s quarter following the start up of three new processing plants in the region in late 2017. And about nine months after the company brought on the first of its “cube” developments in the Montney, Encana says results have been “outstanding.” Developed in the Permian Basin, what Encana calls a “cube” is a multi-well pad that targets multiple stacked pay zones, where drilling and fracturing are completed simultaneously to improve results. The company completed five Montney cubes in the first quarter, each with six to 14 wells, which it says delivered average 30-day initial production rates of approximately

300 bbls/d of condensate. At $50 WTI and $1.50 AECO these wells deliver returns of 80 to 140 percent, excluding third party capital, Encana said on Tuesday. “This is why we remain focused on liquids-rich Montney development,” chief operating officer Michael McAllister told an analyst call. He said Encana will continue to ramp up into the new facilities over the course of 2018, and expects to see consecutive quarters of liquids growth for the rest of the year. “The largest steps of growth will occur in the back half of the year to coincide with the start-up of the Tower and Pipestone Liquids Hubs,” McAllister said. “We have a turnaround scheduled at one of our legacy facilities which is expected to have a 5,000 boe/d impact in the second quarter. By the fourth quarter, we expect to average

between 55,000 to 65,000 bbls/d of liquids and well over 1 Bcf/d of gas production.” Production misses analysts forecasts Encana reported first-quarter production of 324,400 boe/d, with 145,200 bbls/d of liquids and the rest dry natural gas. That’s up from 317,900 boe/d in the same period last year, but short of analyst consensus expectations of 338,000 boe/d, according to a report from analyst Kristopher Zack of Desjardins Capital Markets, who had forecast for 331,500 boe/d. He said the miss is partly due to timing of drilling wells and producing from them. “In the second half of last year, and particularly in the Duvernay and the Eagle Ford, we ramped down activity and we restarted and ramped up that activity here in the first quarter,” CEO

Doug Suttles said. “We’ll actually see production build in the second half of the year in those two assets.” Encana said it expects fourthquarter production this year to be between 400,000 and 425,000 boepd. It left its 2018 spending plan unchanged at between US$1.8 billion and US$1.9 billion. The Calgary-based company, which reports in U.S. dollars, had operating income of US$156 million in the three months ended March 31, missing analyst expectations of US$168 million according to Thomson Reuters. A year ago, its operating income was US$104 million. Revenue in the quarter came to US$1.3 billion, beating the forecast for US$1.26 billion, and up from US$1.29 billion in the same quarter last year. — JWN Energy

Province developing plan to address orphan sites DEBORAH JAREMKO The BC Oil and Gas Commission is developing a comprehensive liability management plan to address the province’s growing number of orphan oil and gas sites. Drilling activity in B.C. has increased in recent years, and so has the number of inactive sites and producers with financial challenges, the regulator says. Lawyers with Norton Rose Fulbright noted that the number of designated orphan sites in B.C. recently leaped over one year from 45 to 307 due to operator insolvencies.

“The costs to abandon and restore these orphaned sites are estimated to be $40 to $60 million. However, as of March 31, 2017, the [Orphan Site Reclamation Fund] held only $5.3 million in funds,” Alan Harvie, Max Collett and Matthew D. Keen wrote in a blog post. Under the proposed amendments, the restoration tax on all producers that funds the OSRF would be replaced by a liability-based levy based upon forecasted annual abandonment and restoration costs, they said. The updated regulation would also set a period of time after which a


site’s permit would be cancelled, triggering abandonment and restoration requirements. The amendments will allow the BC OGC to refuse to issue a permit or to suspend, cancel or amend a permit if the permit holder’s directors, officers, shareholders or agents have previously contravened the legislation, been convicted of an offence or are felt to be unfit to hold a permit. “It is believed that banishing from B.C.’s oil and gas industry operators with personnel who have previously worked with companies that have gone insolvent and who have a poor compliance history

will lessen the likelihood of future orphan site designations,” according to Norton Rose Fulbright. The amendments would also allow a site’s permit to be transferred to a new operator without the signature of the permit holder, if that permit holder can’t be located or no longer exists. “This change will enable the OGC to transfer a permit to a willing working interest holder. Currently, the OGC is restricted on what it can do with a permit once a permit holder becomes insolvent or ceases to exist,” the lawyers wrote. — JWN Energy





Fort Nelson resident and LNG advocate Kristi Leer: “Two years ago, we went to Ottawa, and we’re still screaming out loud. Getting pipelines, getting everybody together is what we need.”

MAY 18, 2018




The economic realities of refining crude oil NELSON BENNETT While it may sound contradictory and even hypocritical for B.C. politicians like Andrew Weaver and John Horgan to, in the same breath, speak against oil pipelines and in favour of oil refineries, there is some logic to it. But it doesn’t include much economic logic, according to one petroleum analyst. Both Horgan and Weaver have spoken recently about the need for Canada to refine more of its own oil, rather than export it in raw form for other countries to refine. But if their argument is that refineries are needed to satisfy domestic needs, it’s a bit like arguing that more trains are needed to address what is, in fact, a lack of train tracks. And if their argument is that refineries should be built to boost the export of refined fuels, then they are failing to understand that the biggest potential customer – China – wants oil for its own refineries, not refined fuels. Since the biggest concern over crude oil exports is what a large oil spill might do to B.C.’s coast, exporting refined fuels such as gasoline and diesel would go some way Workers construct the Trans Mountain pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby in 1952. to addressing those concerns. That is what motivated B.C. newspaper mogul David Black to propose his $22 billion Kitimat emissions by two-thirds of what a president of industry consultancy Clean refinery. His idea is to bring normal refinery would produce. firm Kent Group, can’t see new reAlberta bitumen to Kitimat by rail But Black said it could be built in fineries being built in Canada, esin a semi-solid form called “neat- phases, with the first phase com- pecially not in B.C., thanks to its bit,” refine it and export gasoline ing in at $8.5 billion and a produc- environmental activism. and diesel to China and Japan. tion capacity of 125,000 barrels per There is also some question of The plan would address en- day. how the B.C. government, which vironmental concerns and also Brian Ahearn, vice-president of may struggle to fit the LNG Canprovide more value-added jobs, the Canadian Fuels Association, ada project into a very tight carsay its backers. said there’s no substantial de- bon budget, could also absorb the Not long after Black began pro- mand for new refineries in North emissions from a new refinery. moting Kitimat Clean, Pacific Fu- America. “How do you propose to build a ture Energy came up with a similar “The demand for petroleum plant with no emissions?” said petproposal. While the latter is now products in North America is flat roleum analyst Dan McTeague. making its way through the Can- to declining,” he said. “So the opEven if a refinery could be built adian Environmental Assessment portunity for energy growth is in here, Ervin said, the market in Agency (CEAA) process, Kitimat Asia and the Far East or India. China for refined fuels is limited, Clean’s own CEAA process has “That’s where the energy growth because China wants crude for the been on hold sine 2016. is going to take place and that’s refineries it plans to build, not reBlack’s refinery proposal comes why there is such a large crude de- fined fuels. with a price tag that is double what mand, and there’s such a large re“If there’s any country that’s goit cost to build the new Sturgeon fined-product demand. That’s the ing to build their own refineries, refinery in Alberta. The additional business opportunity that Kitimat it’s going to be China,” he said. cost comes in part from technol- [Clean] might be chasing.” “Refineries tend to be built close ogy that would cut carbon dioxide Michael Ervin, senior vice- to the point of consumption, not


halfway across the world.” Black insists there is an appetite in China and Japan for refined fuels from Canada. “I’ve been there,” he said. “I’ve talked to 12 companies and government institutions in China and another bunch in Japan. Yes, people are willing to do that.” So why is the project not moving ahead? Black said the project would need a $10 billion loan guarantee from Ottawa. Not only is Ottawa not willing to provide that backing, it also informed him it would need to strike a federal panel to tour Canada to get feedback on the project – an exercise that would cost $300,000 per month, at Black’s expense. “Pretty effective at pushing me away,” Black said. — Business in Vancouver



MAY 18, 2018


Energy minister says Petronas is “investing” in LNG Canada NELSON BENNETT Petronas is taking a stake in the LNG Canada project in Kitimat. When Petronas announced last year that it was pulling the plug on its $36-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG project, but keeping its upstream assets in B.C., a number of industry insiders and analysts speculated Petronas would eventually resurface in B.C. with some other LNG project. Petronas cancelled its project in Prince Rupert in July 2017, just a couple of months after the NDP came to power through an agreement with the Green Party. Some viewed the decision to be a vote of non-confidence by industry in the new NDP government, even though Petronas officials insisted the decision was strictly based on market conditions. In a recent interview with Business in Vancouver, Michelle

Mungall, minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, let it slip that Petronas was taking a stake in LNG Canada. Asked about the perception that B.C. was sending international investors some negative signals, Mungall pointed out that Petronas made it clear when it cancelled its PNW LNG project that it was due to market conditions, and did not blame the new government. “That wasn’t about government as regulator, or their relationship with First Nations whatsoever,” Mungall said. “That was purely a pricing issue for them. “And to fully emphasize that point, Petronas is now investing in LNG Canada’s project,” she added. Neither Petronas nor LNG Canada have confirmed the deal. LNG Canada referred questions to Shell Canada. Shell is the majority stakeholder in a joint venture that

includes PetroChina, Kogas and Mitsubishi. In an email to BIV, a Shell Canada spokesperson wrote: “It is our long-standing policy not to comment on commercial matters.” Petronas has not yet responded to questions from BIV. In a recent interview with BIV reporter Haley Woodin in Malaysia earlier this month, Petronas upstream CEO Anuar Taib did not mention any particular projects, but made it clear his company was still very much interested in B.C.’s LNG opportunities. He also confirmed that his company’s decision to pull the plug on PNW LNG was based strictly on market forces. “The market just changed completely so because of that we had to cancel the project,” he said. “But we’re not stopping. We continue to look for different opportunities.” It has also been reported that

Petronas is one of the potential buyers of Chevon’s Kitimat LNG project – something Taib would not confirm. “Too early to say anything or to give any views on any of those,” he said, when asked about the Chevron sale. “ We will update our position as we have a more firm position.” The B.C. NDP government has taken steps to make B.C. more competitive by scrapping a special LNG tax imposed on the nascent industry by the previous Liberal government. Last month, LNG Canada announced the conditional award of an engineering, procurement and construction contract to Fluor Corporation and Japan’s JGC Corp. to design and build LNG Canada’s liquefied natural gas plant in Kitimat. — Business in Vancouver

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Shell ‘cautiously optimistic’ about LNG Canada competitive as we go.” LNG Canada had previously indicated it was looking at an FID this year. Crothers, who wasn’t available for clarification after his conference remarks, didn’t say whether his comment was a departure from from earlier schedule estimates. He added: “We’re just doing everything we can to make this a success and convince our shareholders — not only in Shell but our JVPs [joint venture partners] as well — that this is the project that should be the next big global LNG investment.” —Daily Oil Bulletin

Media jumps gun on CEO’s comments about construction Meanwhile, LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz said May 15 the company still hopes to begin construction on the project this year. “It didn’t make sense in July 2016,” Calitz said about a final investment decision at the Canada LNG Conference & Exhibition. “When (our stakeholders) asked the inevitable question, when will you reconsider the FID? Our answer was: We will be in construction in


Susannah Pierce, external relations director for LNG Canada.

2018. I reaffirm that commitment today.” The comments quickly spread through erroneous media reports as a sign that a positive final investment decision loomed. The company, however, issued a clarification to Calitz’s statements, reminding media no final investment decision has been made. “LNG Canada is currently preparing to submit a Decision Support Package for review by our Joint Venture Participants (JVPs) later this year. However, the exact date for an FID is up to the JVPs

to make,” LNG Canada external relations director Susannah Pierce told CBC News. Calitz however, did reveal that an important hurdle facing the project may be resolved. The project faces 45.8% anti-dumping tariffs on fabricated steel components needed for the project. However, the LNG modules for the project have been contracted and the company had clarity from the federal government about the application of the tariffs, he said. —Pipeline News North

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Royal Dutch Shell plc and its partners are working to make their proposed Kitimat, B.C., LNG project “affordable and competitive” ahead of a final investment decision (FID), says Shell’s top executive in Canada. “I’m cautiously optimistic,” said Michael Crothers, president of Shell Canada. He made the comments May 9 at the ARC Energy Investment Forum, a wide-ranging conference held by the ARC Energy Research Institute and moderated by Peter Tertzakian and Jackie Forrest. Shell’s partners in the proposed Kitimat project, which is called LNG Canada, are Mitsubishi Corporation, PetroChina and Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS). Crothers noted the group recently chose Japan’s JGC Corporation and Fluor Corporation of the U.S. to do the project’s engineering, procurement and construction. “We keep methodically working through the process. … We’re getting cost estimates finalized [and working] on the economics,” he said. “We don’t have a definitive time line for FID,” he added. “But we’re working through and managing these issues and making the project all the more affordable and



MAY 18, 2018



Syncrude support helps create world’s largest protected boreal forest DEBORAH JAREMKO With support from Syncrude, the Tallcree First Nation, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and the federal government, Alberta is establishing the world’s largest contiguous area of protected boreal forest. The province is formally creating five new and expanded wildland provincial parks that were identified in the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan (LARP) in 2012. The lands connect with Wood Buffalo National Park and other existing wildland parks to create a total of 67,000 square kilometres of protected area. It is the largest addition to the Alberta parks system in the province’s history. “This continuous protected area is more than twice the size of Vancouver Island. It is bigger than the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia and it is ten times the size of the greater Toronto area,” Alberta Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips told a news conference on Tuesday afternoon. “Now for most of these parks, which were first identified under the regional planning process back in 2012, industry tenure was compensated years ago, but there was one key piece that remained, and that was the establishment of the Birch River Wildland Provincial Park.”

The area that will now be the Birch River Wildland Provincial Park included land designated as part of the Tallcree First Nation’s timber quota, which gives the community a percentage of the annual allowable cut or a specified timber volume. Phillips said the province has been working with Tallcree and the NCC on a collaborative plan for the area, which eventually led to a “remarkable agreement” that included the federal government and Syncrude. Syncrude contributed $2.3 million to help purchase the timber quota, enabling the community to relinquish that interest. While Syncrude will receive a conservation offset for future mining development from the province in return, the land in question is not directly tied to the project’s operations. “We were presented with an opportunity, and we were thrilled to be a part of this,” Syncrude spokesman Will Gibson told JWN, adding that the area is home to 68 species of conservation concern including three species at risk. This includes wood bison, woodland caribou, Peregrine falcon as well as numerous migratory birds and songbirds. While it is not currently known how big the offset will be, Gibson said the joint venture expects to

apply it in part to its proposed Mildred Lake Extension, a 184,000 bbl/d project currently in the regulatory process that is expected to extend Syncrude’s operations into the 2030s. “Purchasing this timber quota does provide an offset, but it is one of many things that we are doing to demonstrate responsible development as well as mitigating our environmental impact,” Gibson said. “With the Mildred Lake Extension we are also using existing extraction and upgrading facilities and no new infrastructure or tailings ponds are going to be required, the bridge will include a wildlife corridor so that animals can travel safely through the area, none of the infrastructure impacts the MacKay River and there is no increase in our import of fresh water from the Athabasca River required.” For the five new and expanded wildland provincial parks, the Government of Alberta also proposes to enter into cooperative management arrangements with Indigenous communities — an initiative that received praise from McMurray Metis CEO Bill Loutitt, whose traditional territory is part of the plan. “Over a decade ago, the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan, LARP, was developed. The process at times was long and difficult but

today’s announcement proves that the LARP process worked and our concerns were heard loud and clear,” Loutitt told Phillips and the news conference. “A cooperation management agreement with the regional Metis and our First Nations cousins for the new parks is something we requested and you, Minister Phillips, delivered.” The Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) praised the province and its partners in creation of the new parks, as well as the government’s consultation with First Nations on cooperative management, which it says an important advancement in regional planning, but added there is more work to be done. “We also urge the government to fulfill its 2016 commitment to create two northwest Alberta wildland parks important to caribou,” AWA conservation specialist Carolyn Campbell said in a statement. “The northwest wildland parks do not conflict with existing industry and it’s time to secure them too.” AWA added that “it is critical for Alberta to fill the remaining gaps in cumulative effects management of Alberta’s oilsands region: caribou range plans, biodiversity frameworks, access plans and industrial ‘footprint’ plans are all years overdue.” — JWN Energy

MAY 18, 2018




New seismic monitoring orders for drillers in Farmington Hydraulic fracturing operators near Fort St. John and Dawson Creek are under a new order from the BC Oil and Gas Commission to monitor and report seismic activity from their operations. The special project order requires permit holders of wells in the Kiskatinaw Seismic Monitoring and Mitigation Area to undertake a number of measures before, during, and after drilling. “Considering the level of industry activity in the area, the Commission has issued a Special Project Order requiring permit holders to comply with these actions as of May 28, 2018,” the commission noted in an industry bulletin May 14. The Kiskatinaw Seismic Monitoring and Mitigation Area includes the areas in and around both Fort St. John and Dawson Creek. Measures include:

mary of monitoring reports to the Commission. Seismic Thresholds Operations:

Pre-Operation Requirements: 1. Submit a seismic monitoring and mitigation plan with any notice of operation that includes hydraulic fracturing. The seismic monitoring and mitigation plan must include a pre-assessment of seismic hazard, and a seismic monitoring and mitigation outline. 2. Notify persons and other entities of fracturing operations at a well. 3. Notify the Commission not


Kiskatinaw Seismic Monitoring and Mitigation Area (KSMMA)


1. If a well is identified by the well permit holder or the Commission as being responsible for a seismic event with a magnitude of 3.0 or greater, the well permit holder must suspend fracturing operations on the common drilling pad immediately. Fracturing operations may not continue without the written consent of the Commission. 2. The minimum level at which the well permit holder must take action and initiate their mitigation plan is magnitude 2.0. 3. The well permit holder must communicate all magnitude 1.5 and greater events to the Commission immediately. 4. If a common drilling pad is identified as being responsible for a cluster of seismic events, the Commission may require the suspension of fracturing activities. Post-Operation Requirements:

less than 24 hours and not more than 72 hours before fracturing operations begin on a common drilling pad.


1. Deploy an accelerometer within three km of the common drilling pad. Active Operation Requirements: 2. Have access to a seismic array providing real-time seismicity During hydraulic fracturing readings. operations, the permit holder 3. On request, submit a sum-

1. Submit to the Commission a report respecting monitoring of hydraulic fracturing in a format acceptable to the Commission within 30 days of concluding hydraulic fracturing operations. —Pipeline News North

We offer one of the largest fleets of tracked vehicles in western Canada. Units are set up for auger and air hammer drilling, picker deck carriers, track-vac units, personnel carriers and water trucks with floatation tires.



MAY 18, 2018


Pembina announces Peace pipeline expansion Pembina Pipeline will build a new expansion of its Peace pipeline system to accommodate growth in the Montney and Deep Basin resource plays. The company says it continues to receive strong customer demand for its transportation services, which has resulted in a significant and ongoing build-out of its pipeline systems. Last July Pembina put its Phase III expansion into service, which increased capacity to transport crude oil, condensate and natural gas liquids from northeast B.C. into the Edmonton area market. The company is also currently progressing construction of its

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The latest expansion, Phase VI, includes: upgrades at Gordondale, Alberta; a 16-inch pipeline from LaGlace to Wapiti, Alberta and associated pump station upgrades; and a 20-inch pipeline from Kakwa to Lator, Alberta. The approximately $280 million Phase VI expansion is anticipated to be in service in early 2020, subject to environmental and regulatory approval. Pembina say it is continuing to secure long-term contracts on its Peace and Northern Pipeline systems and currently expects peak firm volume commitments will reach approximately 830,000 bbls/d in 2019. — JWN Energy


Seven Generations is encountering variations in geology as it moves drilling operations into new areas of its Montney acreage, and has updated its 2018 expectations as a result. The company has reduced its projections for overall gas and liquids production, but on the flip side, it expects production of higher value molecules to exceed its expectations. “Recent wells with higher-intensity completions designs outside of our core Nest 2 development area are producing at higher condensate production rates and higher condensate-gas-ratios than we anticipated in the 2018 budget,” CEO Marty Proctor said in 7G’s firstquarter report.

“In new parts of Nest 2, we are encountering high variability in our natural gas production volumes by pad, with consistent condensate production across pads. Having gained more information from recent pads, we now expect overall condensate production rates to be ahead of our original expectations, with lower concurrent natural gas and NGL rates.” The cumulative effect of recent well results is an increase in highervalue condensate production rates and a net reduction in expected total boe production, the company said. Overall production in 2018 is now projected to trend “towards the lower end” of guidance of 200,000 to 210,000 boe/d. 7G now expects 2018 funds from operations to be $1.600 billion to $1.675 billion, up from its previously expected range of $1.550 to $1.625 billion. Both cases assume a WTI oil price of US$60/bbl. — JWN Energy







Northern British Columbia and Alberta’s Oil and Gas Industry






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Phase IV and Phase V expansions to further build out and debottleneck this capacity. These projects are to be placed into service in late 2018.

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• Distributed to the community in general through these fine publications, Alaska Highway News, Dawson Creek Daily and Fort Nelson News. • Distribution by mail and direct drop-off to Oil & Gas companies,and related businesses and organizations, in the following communities: BRITISH COLUMBIA – Arras, Baldonnel, Cecil Lake, Charlie Lake, CHETWYND, Clayhurst, DAWSON CREEK, Farmington, FORT NELSON, FORT ST. JOHN, Goodlow, Groundbirch, HUDSON HOPE, Moberley Lake, Pink Mountain, Pouce Coupe, Progress, Rolla, Rose Prairie, Sunset Prairie, Taylor, Tomslake, TUMBLER RIDGE, and Wonowon. ALBERTA – Baytree, Bear Canyon, BEAVERLODGE, Berwyn, Bezanson, Bonanza, CLAIRMONT, Eaglesham, FAIRVIEW, Falher, Girouxville, GRANDE PRAIRIE, Grimshaw, Grovedale, HIGH PRAIRIE, Hines Creek, Hythe, LaGlace, MANNING, McLennan, PEACE RIVER, Rycroft, SEXSMITH, Silver Valley, Spirit River, VALLEYVIEW, Wembley, and Worsley, Zama City.

MAY 18, 2018


IN BRIEF Construction now underway at new Alberta petrochemical complex Construction of Inter Pipeline’s Heartland Petrochemical Complex ramped up in the first quarter of 2018, with “significant activities” now underway. Construction of the $3.5-billion facility, which will turn 525,000 tonnes of propane per year into polypropylene pellets for use in plastics and other products, began in December 2017. The project is benefiting from a current lack of major project development in Alberta, which results in favourable engineering, procurement and construction environment, including availability of skilled labour, Inter Pipeline said.

Civil construction and fabrication activities are ongoing, and the installation of support structures and foundation work has begun. The fabrication of numerous vessels including the 800-tonne propane/propylene splitter are also well underway at off-site locations around Edmonton, and large number of key components have been procured including major compression equipment, turbines, valving and a polypropylene extruder and pelletizer package, the company said. Major contractors include Honeywell, Fluor, Kiewit Construction Services, Grace UNIPOL and Linde Engineering. Approximately $125 million of capital was invested on the project during the first quarter, with a total 2018 capital plan of approximately $700 million. The facility is expected to be operational in late 2021. Inter Pipeline reported net income of $142.7 million in the first quarter of 2018 compared to $140.0 million in the first quarter of 2017. — JWN Energy

Pipeline issues could cost Canada $15.8 billion in 2018 New research argues a lack of pipeline capacity in Canada will cost Canadian energy firms roughly $15.8 billion in lost revenue this year. According to a research bulletin from the Fraser Institute – a rightleaning think tank – pipeline bottlenecks and insufficient transportation infrastructure have dramatically lowered the market price of Canadian crude oil. A number of factors place Western Canada Select (WCS) at a discount below West Texas Intermediate (WCS), including the fact that the Canadian product is heavier than its American counterpart, and thus more costly to transport and more complex to


refine. Beyond that, the institute’s research points the finger at constrained capacity for what it calls a dramatic increase in price discount, and argues the price difference is beyond its natural level. According to the research, WCS cost US$5.27 less per barrel than WTI did in February 2009. Three months ago, the difference was US$28.29 per barrel. After accounting for differences in quality and transportation costs, the Fraser Institute estimates the lower price of Canadian heavy crude has cost the country’s energy industry $20.7 billion in lost revenue between 2013 and 2017. The report suggests more pipelines will help capture that revenue. Data used in the report precedes a recent rise in U.S. oil prices, which on Monday hit their highest level since November 2014. — Business in Vancouver




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MAY 18, 2018

When You Are Out in the Field, Time IS Money.


PNN MAY 18 2018  
PNN MAY 18 2018