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Northern British Columbia and Alberta's Oil and Gas Industry Vol. 2 Issue 3 • dist: 20,325

march 30 • 2012

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in this issue: • WE GOT THE POWER - SITE C VERSUS LNG • WHAT THE FUTURE BRINGS - GROWING THE NORTH • ENCANA - COPING WITH LOW GAS PRICES 32530

AN ENCANA NATURAL GAS OPERATION IN WESTERN CANADA - Photo COURTESY OF Encana


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• PIPELINE NEWS NORTH

MARCH 2012

Experienced helicopter pilot Bob Batchelor refuted stats presented by Northern Health that would suggest it is unsafe to put a helipad at the hospital, stating their information was either out of date or not applicable to Canada.

Petroleum Association President Tyler Kosick asked why there isn’t room for a helipad on the 40-acre hospital property.

On Thursday, March 1, the Fort St. John Petroleum Association hosted representatives from Northern Health, the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) and the City of Fort St. John, as well as local helicopter pilots and members of the community whose lives have been positively impacted by the presence of a helipad at our existing hospital, at our regular monthly meeting. They were all invited to that meeting to discuss the fact that Northern Health has opted to locate the new helipad at the local airport, not at the new hospital, which has our members and the local industry quite concerned. Our hope was that we could change their mind, as we feel the movement of patients and the time required to transport them from the airport to the hospital could be crucial. After much discussion and debate, we were unable to convince Northern Health officials that a helipad should be at the new hospital. We are adamant that they are making an error in judgment. As Fort St. John residents who often work at dangerous jobs in remote locations, we feel that it is vitally important that the helipad be situated at the hospital. We will continue to discuss this issue with the City and Northern Health in an effort to realize our goal. The Fort St. John Petroleum Association fully supports building a helipad at the new hospital and our membership is willing to contribute to its construction in any way possible.

PETROLEUM ASSOCIATION - HAPPENINGS


MARCH 2012

industry news

PIPELINE NEWS NORTH •

RATE OF CHANGE

special feature

FortisBC moving to “postage stamp” rate structure

12 Site C or LNG? 18 Growing the North looks to the future

james waterman Pipeline News North Fort Nelson residents are learning that natural gas can be a fickle mistress. FortisBC is set to reduce natural gas and propane commodity rates as of April 1, after receiving approval for the change from the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) on Monday, March 12. The decreased rates are a reflection of low natural gas prices across North America. “The rates approved today are allowing our customers to continue to benefit from some of the lowest delivered natural gas prices in more than a decade,” said Cynthia Des Brisay, FortisBC’s Vice President of Energy Supply and Resource Development, in a March 12 news release. “A mild North American winter, growing supply of natural gas and reduced demand have come together to keep natural gas prices low,” she added. Among the regions affected by the change, Fort Nelson residents stand to enjoy the biggest savings. The average Fort Nelson customer using 140 gigajoules (GJ) per year will save about $118. The irony is that the plunging natural gas prices that have made this rate decrease possible are also slowing down oil and gas activity in the region. Also, another FortisBC change affects the Fort Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce. “Basically, last November, we filed with the BCUC to move to common natural gas rates and services,” said FortisBC spokesperson Kirsten Walker. “Right now, rates are varied for our customers depending on what region the customer lives in. If the BCUC approves our application, customers would pay the same rate for gas no matter where they live in the province.” The Chamber has several concerns about this proposed amalgamation of the rate structure that would result in a “postage stamp” 28231

rate for the entire province, which where they live,” said Walker. are detailed in a news release “If our application is approved,” posted on their website on March she continued, “some regions will 12 and in a pair of submissions see a rate decrease and others will to the BCUC dated March 1 and see rate increases, because what March 2. we want to do is bring everybody “The cost of service to the Lower aligned across the province.” Mainland and Vancouver Island FortisBC claims that alignment has been offset by a Royalty will have long-term benefits across Agreement with the Provincial Gov- the province. ernment which has now expired “I’ll give you an example,” said and without the amalgamation they Walker. “The costs for ongoing would be facing increases in the safety upgrades or maintenance cost of natural gas delivery rates,” would be spread across a larger the Chamber stated in the news customer base. And this would release. be a good benefit for those in our The smaller service FortisBC areas such as proposal “Some regions will see Fort Nelson indicates or Vancouver that rates Island.” a rate decrease.” for Fort Under the Nelson current strucwill stay ture, individual – Kirsten Walker, FortisBC as schedcommunities uled for shoulder the the next five years before increasburden of such projects in their aring by 3.3 to 4.3 per cent annually eas. The new system would mean between 2018 and 2027. The rate that Fort Nelson residents alone as of October 1, 2011 was $7.438. wouldn’t have to pay for the ineviAccording to that plan, the rate table upgrades that will be required will increase by 50.27 per cent to given the projected population $11.177 over that period. growth over the next decade. “Fort Nelson does not have the The Chamber and its members same transmission costs as the feel they aren’t being told the whole Lower Mainland and Vancouver story. Island; however, will be paying the “Our understanding from conversame rate,” the Chamber said in sations with FortisBC representatheir news release, adding that Fort tives [is] that the amalgamation Nelson’s rates will “increase signifiand ‘postage stamp’ rate means cantly” while the Lower Mainland that everyone would be hit with will only see a “slight increase.” rate increases for infrastructure or “Vancouver Island and Whistler capital costs across the province,” will see a reduction in their rates.” the Chamber said in the March 2 The cost of transmitting natural submission to the BCUC. gas to Fort Nelson is less expenFortisBC mentions in their apsive than other parts of the provplication that a $3.1 million pipeline ince because their natural gas is upgrade will be required for Fort produced locally in the Horn River Nelson, the cost of which will be Basin and comes directly from the shared by all customers as a result Spectra Energy processing plant. of the amalgamation. That is the crux of their problem “They don’t mention capital with the FortisBC plan. expenditures in the rest of the “What we’re doing with our approvince,” said the Chamber in plication is we’re looking at our that March 2 submission, “which system and our customer base will have significantly higher price as a whole, and we really want to tags.” bring all of our customers inline A decision on the amalgamation across the province regardless of is expected in 2013.

community 8

Up to the challenge - local students go on energy diet

industry news 4 Helipad or bust 5 6 14

Human health risk assessment B.C. government welfare-to- work plan Alberta to create Property Rights Advocate Office

profiles 10 Another day at the office - Encana copes with low gas prices

environment 27 Going green - heavy equipment companies cutting emissions

careers & training 28 Making their mark - women working in the patch

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• PIPELINE NEWS NORTH

MARCH 2012

North William Julian Regional Manager 250-785-5631 wjulian@ pipelinenewsnorth.ca

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Janis Kmet BC Sales 250-782-4888 cell: 250-219-0369 jkmet@dcdn.ca Published Monthly by Glacier Ventures International Corp. The Pipeline News North is politically independent and a member of the B.C. Press Council. The Pipeline News North retains sole copyright of advertising, news stories and photography produced by staff. Reproduction is prohibited without written consent of the editor.

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industry news HELIPAD OR BUST Fort St. John Petroleum Association keeps fighting for helipad at new hospital james waterman Pipeline News North The local oil and gas industry is adamant that the new hospital in Fort St. John should include a helicopter pad, despite Northern Health’s assertion that no such facility will be part of the project. That was the message that came across loud and clear during the heated discussion that took place at the Fort St. John Petroleum Association meeting on Thursday, March 1, which was attended by representatives from Northern Health, the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) and the City of Fort St. John. Fort St. John residents who work in the oil and gas industry are concerned about quick access to medical care in cases of serious injuries, particularly considering the remote locations and inherent dangers that come with the job, but Northern Health officials insist that the potential risks of having a helipad at the hospital far outweigh the possible benefits. Northern Health prefers the option of situating the helipad at the airport instead. “We want that patient to our facility as soon as possible,” said Northern Health’s Director of Business Development Finlay Sinclair, admitting that helicopter is the best method of transporting injured workers from the oil patch to the hospital. However, Sinclair noted that Northern Health must also consider the safety of those patients already at the hospital, whose lives could be endangered by a helicopter accident onsite. “The notion of being able to move them anywhere quickly could be considered a nightmare,” he said. “A helicopter crash over a hospital – this is a disaster,” added Dr. Brad Gullason during his presentation describing why Northern Health has opted to locate the helipad at the airport. That definitely isn’t worth the risk, according to Gullason, especially considering some of the instances in which the existing helipad has been employed. “We’ve had people that have walked off the helicopter to emergency,” he said. Gullason explained that a patient who has gone into cardiac arrest and has received CPR for a considerable length of time isn’t going to make it to the hospital at any rate. The real solution in those cases is work crews having defibrillators – which have a cost ranging from $1200 to $2000 – in the field. In other cases, the estimated five minutes of traveling time – or ten minutes if the ambulance has to wait for a passing train on route – from the airport to the hospital isn’t going to make a difference in the life of that patient.

“Yes, it is possible,” said Gullason. Bob Batchelor, a retired helicopter “But it’s very, very [rare] that that five pilot, promptly attacked those arguminutes makes a difference.” ments, stating that the Dead Man’s Many of those in attendance took Curve is no longer a factor. exception to the notion of a five “Your statistics with respect to... minute trip from the airport to the medivac accidents [are] very poorly hospital, noting lengthier delays worded,” said Batchelor. “Because caused by the train would be very I don’t think those statistics apply at likely. Some argued that transferall in Canada.” ring patients from the helicopter to “Crumple that slide,” he added. the ambulance and then from the Greg Schmidt, the Grande Prairie ambulance to the hospital would Base Director for STARS, noted that also add to that travel time, but there have been no medivac related Gullason explained that the transfer deaths in Canada and only one time would be no different than the crash, which occurred in Ontario. present situation with the helipad on “We are advocates for having the roof of the old hospital. Currently, helipads at as many hospitals as BC Ambulance staff must transport possible,” said Schmidt, adding that patients from the helicopter to the the risks associated with helipads at emergency room. hospitals have been overblown. That raised concerns about the However, Schmidt also noted that competence of the BC Ambulance the Fort St. John hospital isn’t a Service, which is outside the authordesired destination for people who ity of Northern Health. have suffered serious injuries, sugDan Bridge, who was invited by gesting that nearby Grande Prairie the Petroleum Association to briefly is better equipped to deal with those tell his story during the meeting, patients. spoke about paramedics who were Kosick also raised the point that reluctant to move his son from the the new hospital is located on a 40 helicopter when he was crushed by acre tract of land donated by the city. a side boom working in the oil patch. That parcel is surrounded by farms Bridge was later told by the doctor and undeveloped land. that his son had so many bone frag“There is room for an offsite landments in his leg that one false move ing,” he said. could have led to a punctured artery, City councillor Trever Bolin, who which would have caused the young attended the meeting, noted that man to bleed to death. Bridge comthe City is in favour of a helipad at mented that he isn’t comfortable with the hospital, but did not respond to local ambulance personnel handling Sinclair’s statement that “the City anthat sort of responsibility. ticipates growth around the hospital, Tyler Kosick, President of the Fort and residential growth.” St. John Petroleum Association, also “It changes the rules for landing remarked that response time for BC [aircraft],” he added. Ambulance, as well as the perforFollowing the meeting, Doug Ross mance of of Energetic paramed- “Is there nothing we can Services sent ics, can be emails to Mayor very poor, Ackerdo as a community to Lori and asked man and Bolin Sinclair if the have Northern Health regarding there was issue. anything “Is there reconsider?” that could nothing we can be done by do as a comNorthern to have – Doug Ross, Energetic Services munity Health to Northern Health improve reconsider?” that situation. Ross wrote in his email. “What has Sinclair responded that RCMP to happen before they do? Does and Northern Health staff have someone have to die on the ambeen used to transport patients in bulance ride from the airport to the another jurisdiction that only has hospital? Or die at the airport waiting one ambulance, noting that it is a for an ambulance because they’re driver’s license issue, not an issue of too busy?” medical credentials. That may be an The immediate email responses option for Fort St. John. from Ackerman and Bolin were “I can engage that discussion,” he favourable to his cause. said. “We need to stick together as Concerning the potential of a community and consistently remind helicopter crash at a hospital, GullaNorthern Health how important this son cited statistics from the United is to Fort St John, even though they States indicating that working on don’t think it is,” said Bolin. a medivac helicopter is one of the “We did tell [Northern Health] that most dangerous jobs in the U.S., the community would not be happy as well as something known as the with this decision,” said Ackerman, Dead Man’s Curve, which is the suggesting a face-to-face meeting relationship between altitude and with Ross and other members of the airspeed that keeps helicopters from crashing. continued pg 29


MARCH 2012

PIPELINE NEWS NORTH •

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LOOKING OUT FOR YOU First phase of human health risk assessment complete

David Marshall of the Fraser Basin Council prepares for a full day of discussions around the natural gas industry and public health concerns in the North Peace, part of the first phase of the B.C. government’s human health risk assessment project. JAMES WATERMAN photO

james waterman Pipeline News North After ten days of traveling through the communities of northeast British Columbia, David Marshall believes he has a fairly solid grasp on the public health concerns revolving around oil and gas industry activity in the region. As Executive Director of the Fraser Basin Council (FBC), a non-profit organization that helps stakeholder groups solve problems pertaining to sustainability and resource management issues, Marshall was given a mandate by the Ministry of Health to conduct the first phase of the three phase Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) project to determine the health impacts of oil and gas development in the province. The first phase involves identifying the concerns that local residents would like to see addressed during the second and third phases of the study, a project that had Marshall journeying from Tumbler Ridge in the south to Fort Nelson in the north between February 13 and February 21. The trip included visits with city coun-

cils, chambers of commerce, grassroots environmental organizations and First Nations communities. Marshall recognized common themes among the concerns of the various groups and communities. “Effects of fracking,” he said, listing a few of the recurring concerns. “Issues around air quality monitoring and long range transport of air pollutants; The importance of water quality monitoring; Concerns related to road transport and dust on the roads with increased road traffic.” The key difference between First Nations and other community members, as Marshall saw during an issues identification session hosted by the Fort Nelson First Nation on February 20, is the aboriginal focus on traditional lands and lifestyles. “Their hunting areas and camping areas,” he said. “They feel that… they have to go farther to get access to the wildlife.” According to Marshall, First Nations also seem to have greater concerns about the effects of contaminants from oil and gas operations on the animals they

hunt. “Doig’s a very traditional band,” said Warren Reade, who is retiring from the position of Band Manager with Doig River First Nation this March.” “People still rely on hunting to a great extent,” he continued. “They still rely on moose. So, I know there’s a real concern about sores and tumors on moose. There’s a concern about them drinking contaminated water from oil spills and pipeline breaks and sumps and things like that. So, there is a concern.” The Peace Environmental and Safety Trustees Society (PESTS), a group of landowners who largely reside in the Farmington area, worked with the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria to develop a formal submission to the Fraser Basin Council outlining their public health and safety concerns. Their concerns range from pollution of air and water and H2S exposure to stress and anxiety experienced by those who live near oil and gas operations and potential community health impacts associated with oil and gas development. “Eliminate flaring at well sites and a reduction at all facilities would be our primary objective,” said Brian Derfler of PESTS. “And, of course, the emergency response plans need to be totally reevaluated.” Derfler added that residents need better training for emergency situations as well as equipment for detecting and protecting against sources of harm. “The only real way to guarantee more safety and health for us would be, of course, to increase that setback,” he remarked. Marshall was encouraged by the public interest in the project shown by that sort of response. “I’m very impressed with the level of input,” he said. “And people have been very willing to put forward their time and thought to it. And many of them said that they would follow up with additional information. And some of them are going to file some formal briefs.” However, Derfler has a few concerns about the HHRA. One issue is if the government is able to compel information from individuals who have incurred injury to person or property and may have signed nondisclosure agreements with oil and gas companies as part of a settlement.

“These individuals may have the most important evidence for health risk assessors, yet they feel that cooperating with the assessment contravenes their confidential agreements with the oil and gas companies,” said Derfler. Derfler’s other concern is the relative short timeframe of phase one, which began in January and concludes with a final report to the Ministry of Health on March 31. The Fraser Basin Council asked that all who wished to submit information did so by March 7. “I think, from what I’ve seen of David Marshall, he’s really been very effective at getting out into the communities,” said Derfler. Still, Derfler wonders if people who live in the most remote and rural parts of the region were left out of the process simply because they weren’t sufficiently aware of the HHRA. “People in rural areas, they’re probably the most impacted by oil and gas development, because remote areas is predominantly where the oil production has been,” he said. “They’ve had a lot more issues out in those areas.” “We’ve understood that from the beginning,” said Marshall. “And we’ve mailed out the two page backgrounder to every rural resident.” He believes those backgrounders were being received. “We’ve done everything we can to enable input, from a website to emailing to a toll free line,” he continued. “And I’ve made myself available. If I wasn’t in that particular community, I’ve done numerous telephone interviews with people.” “And also pointing out to people this is just phase one,” Marshall added. “It’s my understanding that phase two will be an opportunity to discuss and have a dialogue around the issues. So, there’ll be other opportunities for input.” “My concern is that the B.C. government really takes what we’re saying to heart,” said Lana Lowe, Lands Director with Fort Nelson First Nation. “And actually does something about it, rather than just writing a report and saying, ‘This is what Fort Nelson people are worried about.’” “I hope that they take our concerns seriously, that they’re not going to respond by trying to disprove or invalidate continued pg 29 28392


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MARCH 2012

industry news

where the work is B.C. government sets sights on resource sector with controversial welfare-to-work plan james waterman Pipeline News North The provincial government is out of touch with Northeast British Columbia – that was the message from one oil and gas industry insider after Finance Minister Kevin Falcon mentioned that his government is developing a new welfareto-work program on Tuesday, March 13. Falcon was speaking to the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce when he brought up the plan that would involve relocating employable individuals on Income Assistance and Employment Insurance to northern regions of the province to work in the natural resource sector. “Unfortunately, our government is not in tune with what is going on in the oil and gas industry today,” said the industry insider, adding that Premier Christy Clark and Minister of Energy and Mines Rich Coleman “only look at the revenues generated by the land sales each month.” He continued to state that the plan “would be true and beneficial today if there were not so many Alberta companies working in B.C. today.” The insider claimed that he could name six major oil and gas projects being

completed in the Northeast where qualified local contractors were overlooked in favour of Alberta-based companies. He suggested that Falcon travel to Calgary to speak with energy sector firms such as Encana, Nexen, Imperial Oil and Spectra Energy “in the event that he needs to get workers off welfare to work in the oil and gas industry in the North. “There are the companies that have slowed down because of gas prices, but there are still a large number working out there,” he added. “The people in the South need to be in tune with what is going on in the North, but they are not. They are missing out on huge amounts of revenue that are being generated here, but are going back to Alberta.” Dawson Creek mayor Mike Bernier was bombarded with calls from reporters on Wednesday, March 14 because, during his speech to the Chamber of Commerce, Falcon mentioned the mayor’s trip to Vancouver to speak with people participating in the Occupy protest about opportunities in the Northeast. Bernier said that trip has taken on a life of its own in the media. “My message that I was trying to stress

to people is, if you have the capacity, if “I made the choice to move my family you’re willing to learn, and if you’re willing up north to have a job and to have a life to move, there’s opportunities out there and it was the best thing I ever did,” he for you,” he explained. said. “What I was trying to say to some of However, Bernier also suggested that these people… was don’t expect your the move might not work out as well for a government to do everything for you. person living on government assistance There are opportunities out there, but you in Southern B.C. relocating to the North. need to take initiative.” “There’s always some cautionary “I was just trying to stress to people tales,” he said, stressing that local govthat it’s not the government’s job is to ernments need to be part of the discusmake sure you sion as such a “People in the South program is develhave a job in Vancouver. It’s oped because of the government’s need to be in tune with socio-economic job to make sure issues particular that we have what is going on in the to the region. opportunities out “We have the there and then it’s cost of living up North, but they are not.” here,” said Berup to you as an individual to grab nier. “We have those opportunialmost zero va– Industry Insider ties and make cancy. Our hotels decisions.” are full. Our RV Bernier used his own life path as an parks are full. So, to say we’re going to example during those conversations. buy people plane tickets and house them Growing up in Vancouver, he never up North and train them, there’s obviousconsidered living in Northern B.C., but he ly some logistical issues there that have eventually discovered the opportunities to be thought through. Not sure where available in the region. these people are going to be housed.” 32441

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The B.C. government has drawn harsh criticism from residents, industry and government in the Northeast since Minister of Finance Kevin Falcon mentioned their new welfare-to-work plan during a speech to the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce on March 13. Victoria times-colonist photO

“And when it comes to the training,” he continued, “we want to make sure that we reach out to the industry and say, ‘What do we need? What are our shortages in the industry? Because we need skilled labourers. And those are the better paying jobs. Definitely.” The Fort St. John and District Chamber of Commerce voiced similar concerns in a news release issued by its president, Brent Hodson, on Thursday, March 15. “Fort St. John is facing a housing shortage where there is a limited number of houses on the current real estate market and rental vacancy’s are very low,” wrote Hodson. “Our labour market in the area is a mixture of both skilled and unskilled employment,” he continued. “Most of the higher paying jobs that Minister Falcon alluded to will require training, education and skills for employment. Any job in the oil and gas industry requires the employee to have certain safety training including First Aid [and] H2S.” Bernier noted that the local hospitality industry is in “dire straits” as well, but those jobs don’t pay anywhere near as well as working in the oil patch. “Don’t expect to move up here and be living high on the hog in the hospitality industry,” he warned. “Because of the cost of living.” Bernier also addressed the low natural gas prices and the recent decline in oil and gas industry activity in the Northeast. “That’s why they need to work with the communities,” he said. When Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell addressed the media during a press conference on Wednesday, March 14, the emphasis appeared to be on major products more so than the daily grind of the

oil patch. “We are aware of the significant employment opportunities in northern and rural British Columbia as a result of some of these very large economic projects – mines under development and LNG (liquefied natural gas) opportunities,” said Bell. Two LNG projects – Kitimat LNG and the BC LNG Export Co-op – have already received their export licenses from the National Energy Board (NEB). As those projects move forward, there will be construction work for LNG facilities on the north coast and the Pacific Trails Pipeline to ship natural gas from the Northeast to the Northwest. Drilling activity will also increase in the Horn River Basin when those facilities are close to completion. Additionally, Mount Milligan, a copper-gold mine situated northwest of Prince George, is expected to be up and running in 2013. “We are also aware they are finding it very difficult to fill those positions,” Bell continued. “We need to connect the dots and make sure British Columbians are the first to take advantage of these high-paying, familysupporting jobs.” The immediate local reaction to the plan, as seen on online message boards, was one of harsh criticism and the press conference had an air of trying to allay the fears of northern residents. “In addition to helping people find and keep jobs, the program will also focus on improving economic productivity in the region,” said Bell, adding that the first priority would be employing individuals already living in those regions. It will eventually expand to encompass the whole province.

PIPELINE NEWS NORTH •

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“In some cases, this might mean providing transportation or accommodation, and it might mean some training for unemployed individuals who require additional skills in order to qualify for those sorts of positions,” said Bell. “Rather than having an ad-hoc system that currently exists, it will be organized so that when people do show up for work, they will have a position already secured, a place they can stay, appropriate clothing, and the skills that are necessary.” Individuals seeking to participate in the voluntary program will be assessed to ascertain their suitability for work in the resource industries in the North, which is expected to include general labour roles. Currently, there are no plans to support the construction of low-cost housing in northern communities to accommodate those workers. The details of the program should be available later in the spring. Until then, the government will be collaborating with municipal governments in the North to address local issues related to the project. “We’ve done quite a bit of work already in Fort Nelson at looking at some of the challenges they are facing in that particular region,” said Bell. “That extends to housing, to the ability to have the appropriate travel in and out of sites, and making sure people have the appropriate training.”

Dawson Creek Mayor Mike Bernier traveled to Vancouver during the Occupy protests to encourage people to move to the Northeast to work in the oil and gas industry, but he has his doubts about the new government program. SUBMITTED photO

Monaco to succeed Daniel as Enbridge CEO Daily Oil Bulletin Enbridge announced on February 27 that Patrick Daniel, President and Chief Executive Officer, will retire on or before the end of 2012. The company also announced the appointment of Al Monaco, currently President, Gas Pipelines, Green Energy and International, to Enbridge’s board of directors and to the position of President effective immediately. Daniel will continue as CEO and a member of the board until his retirement. “I would like to take this opportunity to recognize Pat’s tremendous contribution to Enbridge over his tenure with the company,” said David Arledge, chair of the board of directors. “Under his leadership, Enbridge’s share price has grown by 250 per cent and the average annual total shareholder return has been 15.8 per cent. The market capitalization of the company has grown from $6.8 billion in January 2001 to $30.1 billion today. In 2011, Enbridge

was the single largest point contributor on the Toronto Stock Exchange, delivering a total return to shareholders of nearly 40 per cent -- a notable accomplishment for a company in the energy infrastructure business. Enbridge’s success is testament to Pat’s keen sense of the needs of Enbridge’s many stakeholders, his ability to successfully navigate through challenges, and his consistent, thorough and disciplined leadership style.” Daniel, 65, joined Enbridge in 1982. He became executive vice-president in 1988 and assumed the CEO role in 2001. In 2011, he was named Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year. “It has been a privilege to have led Enbridge over the past 11 years, guided by the wisdom and perspective of the members of our board, complemented by an incredibly capable management team and supported by employees who truly are the best in the business,” said Daniel. “I am tremendously proud of this company and what we have achieved.

With the strongest ever long range plan and future growth opportunities at Enbridge, this is an appropriate time to transition the role of CEO and the right time for me personally to seek new roles in retirement.” Monaco, 52, joined Enbridge in 1995 and has held increasingly senior management roles at the corporate level, as well as leadership of the gas transportation, gas distribution and green energy businesses, and a pivotal role in establishing Enbridge’s Major Projects division, which has been responsible for designing and constructing all of the company’s major energy infrastructure projects. “Al has brought a combination of proven energy industry experience, exceptional strategic insight and a relentless drive to achieve results to all of the roles he has held at Enbridge,” said Daniel. “He is a respected member of our executive leadership team and we have every confidence in his ability to lead Enbridge in capturing new opportunities

and tackling challenges as the company continues to grow. The team will remain focused on the sustainability of profitable growth, adding value for our customers and continued focus on operations, safety, environment and our people.”

CEO Patrick Daniel will be retiring from Enbridge by the end of this year after 30 years with the pipeline company. Al Monaco has taken over the president positino and will assume the role of CEO after Daniel’s retirement. Victoria Times-Colonist photO


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community Up to the challenge Peace Region schools go on an energy diet

Duncan Cran Elementary student Evan Clarke was eager to answer questions about the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge during a visit to his science class by Tamara Dokkie and Carson Newby from Shell Canada on March 1. james waterman photO

james waterman Pipeline News North The students of Duncan Cran Elementary School in Fort St. John have been counting watts, not calories, as they work to shed a few pounds of energy consumption through the first Classroom Energy Diet Challenge. All of the eleven classes at the school – which range from Kindergarten to Grade 6 – have been participating in the Shell Canada and Canadian Geographic joint initiative designed to improve the energy literacy of young Canadians. Duncan Cran vice principal and science teacher Christine Todd has led the way, adapting the 25 assignments comprising the challenge for each grade level, even Kindergarten, which doesn’t ordinarily have science classes. That has been a challenge in itself. “I kind of knew it would be work, but that’s the kind of teaching I like to do anyway,” said Todd. “Some are a little bit harder [to adapt] than others,” she added, noting that assignments concerning topics such as carbon footprints can be more difficult to explain to the younger students. “But, actually, I’ve drawn pictures for

them to try and explain it through pictures, and they seem to pick up a little bit of it,” said Todd. Ashley Nixon, Strategic Relations Manager with Shell Canada, remarked that much of the credit for the adaptability of the assignments goes to their partners. “They’ve got a very good track record through the Royal Canadian Geographic Society [of reaching] out to the educational community,” said Nixon. “They have lots of geography teachers registered with them. And because of that longstanding interest and experience in education, we were able to tap into very good resources there to develop material. And they’re very familiar with the curriculum requirements across the provinces. And what we wanted to do was to come up with a range of activities that would be appropriate right across the curriculum.” Brandy Vigen, who enrolled her Grade 5 class at Harry Balfour School in Grande Prairie in the challenge, appreciates that aspect of the program. “It was something that we could put into all of our subjects,” said Vigen. “They use it in math. They use it in [language arts].”

“So, it was something that I knew the kids would get excited about doing,” she added. Vigen felt her students initially needed the incentive of the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge to gain an interest in energy issues, but now that interest is its own reward. “I think most of them have even forgotten that there’s a prize,” she said. “Because they’re just excited knowing that 70 per cent of what we throw out can be recycled. So, that’s kind of the big payoff for them.” Duncan Cran students had yet to tackle the Track Your Trash assignment that led Vigen’s students to reach that conclusion about their garbage. Still, their Grade 5 students were able to demonstrate that they have already learned a lot about energy conservation during a visit to their science class by Carson Newby and Tamara Dokkie from Shell Canada on the morning of Thursday, March 1. Two of the most popular assignments have been Buckle Up, which deals with energy consumption for transportation, and Drew’s One Hour No Power, a challenge that wascreated by the Belbin family during the household Energy Diet Challenge last year. “We were really thrilled about that initiative when we had the family challenge last year,” said Nixon. “And it was an outstanding, innovative idea. And the Belbin family used it every day. And as we were developing the classroom challenge, we wanted to continue this great idea. And they accepted that we could use it in the classroom challenge. And to recognize where it came from, we actually branded it as Drew’s One Hour No Power. And I think it’s the most popular… of the assignments.” It can be difficult to do, too, considering the high tech nature of the modern classroom. “It makes it so much harder to use no power,” said Grace Alton of the Grade 5 class at Duncan Cran. “Because when we use laptops, we use it more than just for regular work.” “If you think about it,” added Alton’s classmate, Dayna Phillips, “Our class has a SMART board and we have laptops and we listen to music and stuff like that. But when we do all that, we turn off the lights to do it.” “This is one of the great things about this challenge that it brings home to

schoolchildren – students – that all these gadgets that they’re increasingly wanting to get hooked into our consuming power,” said Nixon. “And just to raise that awareness. And so simple things like turning things off when you don’t need it, dealing with phantom power in the classroom. It’s probably a ten per cent saving by shutting things off at night. “ The students at Duncan Cran are certain that the lessons learned during the challenge will stick with them. “Once it’s done, you’re still going to be thinking about it,” said Spencer Prieur. “It’s in your head. When there’s so many lights on in your house, you think maybe I could shut a few off. If you just see a TV on and nobody’s watching it, turn it off.” “Energy wasting can happen anywhere,” he added. “I think we’ll still do it in the future because we learn about it and then we’ll keep on remembering about it,” said Brittney Unruh. “And there’s no use to wasting power. It just costs more money.” The students are taking the lessons to other parts of their lives, too. “We’re writing a play, me and my friend, and it’s about this girl wasting energy,” said Zoe MacDuff. “And the police come to her house.” “I’m actually doing that with my own kind of group,” added Prieur. “We’re going to make it look like we made our own energy challenge chart. And it’s going to make it show how you can do things and how it can actually be rewarding.” They readily admit that the program was necessary to convince them to think and act along those lines. “I think if these challenges weren’t here and we didn’t get to learn about them, then eventually we wouldn’t have all the energy conservers,” said Raven Kettner. “I think that, if we didn’t have this challenge, than we wouldn’t have done the One Hour, No Power at home,” said Hallie Fraser. “And we would have still been wasting energy.” However, Evan Clarke pointed out that valuable lessons can come from other sources as well, such as his father, who occasionally convinces his family to forego the common evening ritual of watching a movie. “He’s the one that always changes his mind and says we should play a card game or a board game instead of wasting power,” said Clarke.

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Brandy Vigen’s Grade 5 class at Harry Balfour School show off the posters they made as part of an assignment in the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge organized by Shell Canada and Canadian Geographic. james waterman photO

Ultimately, Todd feels it has been an empowering experience for her classes. “What I believe is to try and teach someone that even though you’re five years old or you’re one person, you can make a difference,” she said. That aligns with the reasons Shell Canada and Canadian Geographic decided to create a contest specifically for youth. “Young people are actually very influential,” said Nixon. “The decisions that they’re going to take in their families now and in the future, when they have more responsibilities about energy choices, that’s going to be, continually, a very important issue for all Canadians. And so giving the awareness and the tools to deal with this important 29458

energy challenge now, we think is a great thing to do.” “I think they get really excited and appreciate that there are many, many opportunities to make improvements in their lives,” he continued. “I’ve found that myself with my family. In fact, my daughter is doing the challenge in her classroom in Calgary. And she keeps coming back at night, totally unprovoked, and saying, ‘Hey, Dad, this is what we did.’ We did this poster today. Or we did Drew’s One Hour No Power competition this week.’” “And so she comes back and she’s telling me stuff about energy use. And she’s eight years old, by the way.”


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profiles

another day at the office One natural gas company coping with record low prices

Encana’s Richard Dunn addressed the Growing the North Conference in Grande Prairie on February 23 to discuss such new developments as the partnership with Mitsubishi and plans to develop the liquids-rich Duvernay natural gas play. james waterman photO

james waterman Pipeline News North Spending cuts. Lower gas output. Resigning executives. Partnerships with Japanese companies. Exploring new resource plays and new resource markets. All just another day at the office for a Canadian natural gas giant trying to cope with commodity prices falling to record low levels. That is the story at Encana, a company well known for coal bed methane and dry gas exploration in the Horn River Basin of Northeast British Columbia, at a time when it doesn’t really pay to be a company heavy on dry gas resources. Staying prosperous requires creative solutions to complex problems – just like a partnership with Japanese heavyweight Mitsubishi Corporation that has Encana exchanging a 40 per cent interest in their Cutbank Ridge assets in the Montney tight gas play of Northeast B.C. for $2.9 billion. “It’s founded on the fact that Encana has a tremendous amount of resource potential,” said Encana’s Vice President of Media Relations Alan Boras. “In other words, we have more opportunities than we are able to get to with our own funding sources. And as a result of that, we look for opportunities to recognize and bring forward the value from those assets that we are not able to get to with our cash flow and, certainly, in current circumstances, with those prices.” Encana tried to develop a joint venture

partnership with PetroChina last year, but those negotiations fell through. That deal would have also involved Cutbank Ridge. “We’ve done a number of partnerships or joint ventures in different circumstances, but this is certainly a significant one,” Boras continued. That is partly because there isn’t yet any production associated with the so far undeveloped land. “We’ve spent a great deal of time building up the Montney over the past ten years,” said Boras. “And the Cutbank Ridge, which has been a tremendous asset. And it continues to be a very, very strong asset in our portfolio, and in North America, and on a world class basis.” The agreement with Mitsubishi is the result of efforts to find a suitable partner for the play that began after the demise of the PetroChina deal. “We have this very, very strong agreement with a world class partner now,” said Boras. “And they have a strong interest, obviously, in developing resources and potentially taking them back to Japan for their use in Japan.” The circumstances surrounding the announcement of the deal suggest that it is not only important for Encana, but is also being seen as important for the Province of B.C., as that announcement involved Mitsubishi executives, Executive Vice President and Acting President of the Canadian Division with Encana Mike McCallister and Premier Christy Clark. “Certainly, the province has been very,

very supportive of attracting investment into B.C.,” said Richard Dunn, Encana’s Vice President of Regulatory and Government Relations, citing the recently released Natural Gas Strategy has evidence. “Natural gas is a cornerstone of their [BC] Jobs Plan,” he continued. “And a key focus of the Jobs Plan is attracting investment. So, the two definitely go hand-in-hand. And I think the Mitsubishi partnership is a great example of that.” Boras said that investment from foreign companies isn’t necessitated by the current low gas price environment, but he noted that it does make it easier to endure the situation. “We expect gas prices to rise,” he said. “But we’re in this... circumstance where gas prices are extremely low because we’ve been so successful, as [has] the rest of the industry, in bringing on additional supplies.” That is the North American glut of natural gas – and shale gas in particular – that is so often discussed by the industry. “Over time, we would expect that this abundance – or this surplus – would be consumed by the normal course of consumption within North America,” said Boras. “And other opportunities that are being developed, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) a little bit on the horizon.” Other uses include natural gas power generation and transportation. Actually, Encana just announced the opening of their first LNG fueling station in Louisiana to supply fuel for one of their suppliers, Heckmann Water Resources, which has been converting their heavy truck fleet to LNG. “Numerous transportation initiatives that are taking place,” said Boras. “For example, the City of Calgary is looking at purchasing 200 buses to run on compressed natural gas (CNG).” “Certainly, in the power sector, gas is very attractive when compared to the other sources given what it costs to put up a gas plant and just the benefit of the lower emissions,” he continued. “About half of coal. So, we see that over time these things will continue to expand the demand. And as the drilling goes down and supply comes down, we’ll have an intersection point where we’ll have a balance again.” “We’d be advocating for different uses of natural gas, whether it’s in power generation or whether it’s in transportation,” added Dunn, emphasizing the value of LNG as a product to be exported to other markets. “That opportunity that’s created through LNG exports is just enormous,” he said. That is certainly one aspect of the Mitsubishi deal that is so intriguing to observers, as the most publicized market for LNG exports is Asia. Obviously, that deal isn’t the only partnership or joint venture on Canadian soil to involve foreign companies, let alone companies from Asia, but Encana isn’t concerned that such foreign investment raises questions among the general

public about Encana and their contemporaries being Canadian companies operating in a Canadian oil and gas industry. “Canada has a long history of having investment come to develop its resources,” said Boras. “This transaction and many others that have come before it are consistent with Canada as a major trading nation and a very, very strong trading nation. We’ve had investment across the country in a variety of industries. Certainly, resource industries. So, I think it just continues to fortify us as a good partner.” “It speaks very well to Canada’s situation with respect to developing its resources in a manner that foreign investors can have great confidence in,” he continued. “The investment is subject to all regulations that govern existing development in Canada,” added Dunn. “So, there’s no compromising on the standards or regulations that are in place to ensure safety to both the public and the environment.” Dunn also noted that Encana continues to be the operator in the partnership. “With this investment, the public will still be seeing the same face doing the development,” he said. However, one familiar face has recently left the Encana family. Mike Graham, former President of the Canadian Division, abruptly announced his resignation on February 7. In an interview with the Calgary Herald at the time of his departure from the company, Graham simply said that “it was just time for me to go.” “I’m just going to take it easy, do a little ropin’ and ranchin’,” he added. According to that article, Graham didn’t indicate that the strain of running the Canadian Division during such trying times played any role in his decision. Boras wasn’t sure if Graham’s decision might reflect the feelings of other executives who have experienced the ups and downs of the industry in the past. “I don’t know that Mr. Graham’s decision relates to others necessarily,” he said. “He made his own personal decision. But the natural gas business, as we have known for quite some time, it has cycles. And there’s opportunities where there’s strong activity. And when that supply gets ahead of the demand, then you have some slowdowns, like we’re experiencing now.” “But we build our projects for the long term,” Boras continued. “We recognize that this is a long term business and a highly capital intensive business. And we know that natural gas is a very attractive and competitive fuel for the long term in a whole variety of uses in society. And we’re trying to expand them. So, we are continuing to work on and plan for long term gain and long term returns by investing in the highest return projects.” That means that capital can shift from one project to another and spending can be cut overall. Encana is moving money away from dry gas plays, reducing capital allocated to those resources from the approximately $4.5 billion spent last year to just about $1.2 billion this year.


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“It’s quite evident that we need to slow down drilling as an industry and allow that consumption to catch up with where the production is,” said Boras. Capital is shifting to liquids-rich plays such as certain assets in the United States and the young and promising Duvernay field in Alberta. “These are opportunities where you can drill liquids-rich reservoirs and bring forward additional barrels of natural gas liquids (NGLs),” Boras explained. “And they help your economics and make those projects sustainable. So, there’s obviously a great differential between the gas price and the oil price now in what you’re able to receive in revenue. And we’re working to strike a greater balance in that commodity and revenue mix over time. And we’ll do that by upping our investment in liquids properties, either oil or natural gas liquids prone reservoirs. So, our investment there for this year is going to be in the neighbourhood of $1.5 billion. And it’s a number of exploration wells.” “The other side of the equation,” he continued, “is we’re stepping up our focus and working with other companies who are in the midstream business to invest in facilities that will extract more NGLs out of the natural gas stream that we already produce.” “That has a strong opportunity to grow from where we’re at in the neighbourhood of 25,000 barrels a day up towards 80,000 [barrels a day].” RIGHT: One of Encana’s operations in Western Canada. photO COURTESY OF ENCANA

Encana seeking justice in Wyoming water dispute The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has agreed to work with the Wyoming state government to retest water supplies after a federal report last year concluded natural gas drilling likely polluted a local aquifer. The EPA has been investigating an aquifer near natural gas drilling in Pavillion, Wyoming for years after residents complained their drinking water smelled and tasted odd. It concluded in a December draft report that chemicals including benzene, alcohols and glycols likely migrated up into the aquifer from hydraulic fracturing operations. The oil and gas industry, including Encana, which owns the gas field near Pavillion, criticized the report, saying the contamination could have come from the EPA’s building of monitoring wells at the aquifer. The EPA will now work with Wyoming state regulators and two Native American tribes to retest the water and “clarify questions about the initial monitoring results,” the agency said in a release. The EPA will also work with the U.S. Geological Survey on the methodology and other aspects of the tests. The EPA has delayed the peer review process of the draft study to include the results from the next phase of testing.

The EPA said in December, 2011, that Wyoming, which produced more than 10 per cent of U.S. natural gas in 2010, was much more vulnerable than most areas to water contamination from fracturing because drilling there often takes place closer to the surface than in other states. In 1987, the agency documented one case of well water pollution from fracturing fluids used by Kaiser Exploration and Mining at a site in West Virginia. That was the only previous case in which the federal government said fracturing polluted water. The new tests in Wyoming will take place at monitoring wells the agency built at the aquifer to take the original samples. Encana spokesman Doug Hock said the agreement demonstrated that the draft report was “rushed” and that the assertions were not supported by the data. The company said the monitoring wells should be independently re-examined given the questions raised after the draft report was released. The EPA did not immedi-

ERCB considers fluid additive database james waterman Pipeline News North Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) is considering creating an online database disclosing additives used in hydraulic fracturing fluids in the province. British Columbia launched a fracturing fluid additive database of its own this January, while the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) is now encouraging its member companies across Canada to disclose the contents of those fluids as part of their new set of fracturing operating practices, which was also unveiled in January. That appears to be the way the wind is blowing. “They’re already disclosed to the ERCB and have been for decades,” said ERCB spokesperson Bob Curran. “What we’re looking at is aggregating the information we have and putting it in some sort of publicly available database.” “We’re in really early stages right now,” he added. Curran noted that the public interest in

disclosing fracturing fluid additives hasn’t been as great in Alberta as it has been in other jurisdictions where they have larger and better developed shale gas industries. “We’re fortunate in a way in Alberta in that we haven’t had any problems associated with hydraulic fracturing to date that have prompted widespread interest in these fluids, although there have been calls for it elsewhere, obviously,” he said. “And we haven’t seen any of the type of development of shale gas [like] those big operations you’ve seen in other parts of North America. So, development of shale resources here in Alberta is in its infancy compared to other jurisdictions in North America. It’s an opportunity for us to do something that potentially could be of interest down the road and get it done before the demand is actually there.” Curran commented that the ERCB hopes to have a database in place by the end of 2012. “We’re looking at the best way we can structure things here in Alberta that’s most appropriate for Albertans.”

ately respond to questions about that request. Encana and the Wyoming state government have been paying for water deliveries for about 25 homes in the area. This March, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead signed a law that would direct $750,000 to developing a longer-term solution providing safe water to residents. Responding to similar concerns about contamation of water related to hydraulic fracturing in Canada, the Province of British Columbia instituted mandatory disclosure of fracturing fluids and launched an online database to provide that informatino to the public in January. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has established complementary meassures through their new hydraulic fracturing operating practices, which were also released in January. 32444

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special feature

WE GOT THE POWER Is natural gas power generation the better option for the Peace Region? When British Columbia Premier Christy Clark admitted that all the power generated by BC Hydro’s Site C hydroelectric project could be used by the liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility proposed by Shell Canada alone, Brian Vermeulen started thinking about alternatives for power generation in the province. Like many North Peace residents, Vermeulen is no fond supporter of Site C. And like many North Peace residents, Vermeulen is involved in the oil and gas industry. He began his career as a landman with Encal Energy in 1994 and is now president of BV Land Consulting and Northern Rockies Environmental Services in Fort St. John. Vermeulen also firmly believes that a combination of natural gas power generation and carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Northeast B.C. is a far better option for satisfying the province’s energy needs than Site C. “There’s so much potential for the North here if we can think a little bigger picture and outside the box,” said Vermeulen. “The footprint of a natural gas power generating station,” he continued. “You take a look at the size of it versus what Site C’s going to impact – I mean, there’s no comparison as far as impact with regards to the environment, with regards to flooding all the ecological values that are presently along the Peace River.” The Peace Valley Environmental Association (PVEA) isn’t about to promote an alternative to Site C, but they share those concerns about the project. “Basically, we had suspected that the power from Site C was going to be used for industry for quite some time now,” said Andrea Morison of PVEA. “So, it wasn’t a big surprise to us. But I think it’s something that all the Hydro ratepayers in B.C. need to be well aware of, that there’s no announcement that industry’s going to pay for 100 per cent of Site C.��� However, as noted by a Ministry of Energy and Mines spokesperson, it was announced during the launch of the Province’s LNG Strategy that “the natural gas industry will be required to contribute to the cost of new infrastructure and energy required to serve future LNG projects.” “We make ourselves well aware of what some of the alternative energy options are,” Morison continued. “But we’re not taking a position on endorsing any single option because that’s not our

specialization and we simply don’t have the resources to do that. However, I do make a point of sharing information on our social media sites about alternative energy sources. And our focus, what we have to stick to, is preventing the destruction of this ecologically rich valley, and all the values that are going to be affected by that.” Morison also suggested that there should be greater discussion about alternatives to Site C. “It’s really disappointing that the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) oversight has been removed specifically from the Site C project by our former premier [Gordon] Campbell,” she said. “Because it’s within their mandate to examine alternatives to the project. So, now we have the joint federal-provincial environmental assessment process. And they are supposed to look at alternatives to the project. “However, we don’t know to what degree, what level of depth, they will examine that. But we will be requesting that it be a comprehensive assessment of alternatives to Site C providing energy that the Province says it needs as compared to many alternatives that exist.” Environmental issues aside, Vermeulen insists that natural gas power generation – an option that he knows BC Hydro has examined in the past – should also be considered simply for the sake of a B.C. natural gas industry that is trying to cope with record low commodity prices. Over the past eight months, Vermeulen has seen activity slowing down in the Horn River Basin, the shale gas play expected to provide much of the resources for LNG facilities on the coast, such as the one proposed by Shell Canada. “We do a lot of projects up there with some of our clients,” he said. “The fact is that three of our clients who are up there are basically doing nothing. They’ve basically come to a screaming halt because, based on the economics, it’s not worthwhile even doing anything up there until the gas price has turned around.” “Gas prices drive this area so much,” he added. “It’s not going to be very pretty up here at all.” Vermeulen suggested that natural gas power generation and associated CCS would provide a much needed market for natural gas, as well as more jobs and other economic benefits at a much smaller environmental cost than Site C. “With the ups and downs that we face here, why wouldn’t you create employment here with all this ability here?”

Popular thinking is that natural gas power generation in British Columbia will require associated carbon capture and storage to meet provincial emissions targets, but that is easier said than done. Spectra Energy began working toward a CCS facility for their Fort Nelson gas plant in 2008. Preliminary work has been encouraging, but construction has not yet begun. photO COURTESY OF SPECTRA ENERGY

he asked. Obviously, Vermeulen is aware that there are obstacles to CCS, which include the cost of finding a suitable disposal reservoir for the carbon dioxide (CO2) and constructing the facility, not to mention geological issues. “Our geology here has always been a struggle for stuff like that,” he said. Still, companies are slowly moving ahead with plans for CCS in the region. For example, Spectra Energy is currently working on a CCS project to go alongside their natural gas processing plant in Fort Nelson. That work began in 2008. “We continue to advance the feasibility assessment, which is very positive,” said Gary Weilinger, Vice President of Strategic Operations and External Affairs with Spectra. “A lot of work that we’re doing is not necessarily onsite,” he continued, “but is behind the scenes, using the available data that we collected through, not only the first drill, but then the side kick that we did when we went back into the hole and did some permeability and pressure testing.” “We’ve got some tremendous amount of data as input to our overall geologic risk assessment.” Weilinger noted that the project has taught Spectra a few things about the overall feasibility of CCS in the region, both in terms of geology and economics. “Depending on where the storage reservoirs are, you have to come up with a

project design that fits, not only the point source, but also the storage reservoir,” said Weilinger. “The storage reservoirs and depleted natural gas reservoirs are not homogeneous. So, it’s not just kind of a one size fits all and, if you’ve got it figured out in one place, you’ve got it figured out everywhere. And so because the pools that we’re injecting CO2 into are not homogeneous, you’ve got to make sure that what you’re designing is very specific and fit for the purpose of that application. So, it requires a tremendous amount of analysis.” That is especially important considering the potentials risks associated with CCS. “Before we go out in a public way that we have a project and that we are proceeding, we have to make sure that we’ve got a very good understanding of what those risks are in this application and how we’re mitigating those risks,” he added. “Whether it’s North America or Europe or Algeria or Norway, there’s got to be a commercial or economic incentive to do this,” Weilinger continued. “And this is why, to the largest extent, this project has been delayed in actually saying we’re moving from a feasibilitytechnical assessment stage to actual construction, design, application. Because it’s still very tenuous worldwide as to the economics behind this investment.” “The conundrum that we’re trying to solve with government [is] where these

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MARCH 2012

costs get applied and how does someone make a return fact that this is new, there has to be some government on investment in CCS.” participation,” he said. “And we’ve got that in principle As far as Vermeulen is concerned, all the questions from the [United States] Department of Energy, B.C. surrounding CCS in B.C. should be figured out before government, as well as the federal government.” proceeding with Site C and LNG However, that isn’t all about exports regardless of future subsidizing the cost, as is often “There is so much plans to use natural gas for longdiscussed in newspaper articles, term power generation in B.C. potential for the North according to Weilinger. After all, there are plans to use “The Province of B.C. put in natural gas for short-term power a nominal amount at the very if we can think a little beginning,” he said. “And now generation to supply electricity for LNG facilities while other the question is, okay, how much bigger picture.” infrastructure – Site C and other ultimately is required from all renewable energy options – is levels of government to make being completed. this work?” – Brian Vermeulen Additionally, Horn River Basin Weilinger noted that Specgas is over ten per cent CO2. If the tra’s project doesn’t fit into the Province is going to meet its greenhouse gas (GHG) emiscategory of those that are described as being “very sions targets, those CO2 sources have to be addressed. expensive.” “The focus on everything is emissions and CO2,” said “CCS is not all the same,” he explained. “There’s a Vermeulen. “Let’s get that resolved first. If we can come whole bunch of different applications in terms of carbon up with how we’re going to deal with that, then the rest capture, just as there are a whole bunch of different apof the stuff will fall into place.” plications for carbon storage. “The fact is that they’re putting carbon capture at the “What gets us enthusiastic is we’re probably the end of it, rather than putting it up first,” he added. “Let’s most cost effective in carbon capture because the Fort figure out how we’re going to deal with carbon capture Nelson project, for example, is very large scale, it’s cost and disposal.” effective, it’s cost efficient, and the Fort Nelson gas Weilinger acknowledged that government involvement plant is fundamentally designed to capture CO2. So, the in CCS is vital. emphasis for us then is on the storage side and finding “Our position, which really hasn’t changed from the a reservoir that’s large enough in scale and scope to beginning, is that, given the scale and scope and the accommodate that CCS in the volumes that we want to

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inject it. “And so just from an overall cost point of view, we’re probably looking at less than half of what some of the purported CCS costs are when you look at numbers like $120 a tonne or more. This is not anywhere near that scale from a cost point of view. So, that’s why we’re encouraged to keep working to find a model that will work.” The Ministry of Energy and Mines is currently developing a regulatory framework for CCS to address issues such as emissions reductions, monitoring of injection sites and liability. According to a ministry spokesperson, the government is also “open to engaging in discussions with CCS project proponents on innovative ways to overcome this cost hurdle.” That doesn’t mean the Province is about to promote natural gas power generation and CCS as an alternative to Site C. “The proposed Site C project will be a source of clean, reliable and cost-effective electricity,” said a ministry spokesperson in an email. That spokesperson also insisted that no single element of BC Hydro’s system is devoted to one particular use. That claim is just semantics from Vermeulen’s point of view. After all, whether Shell Canada’s facility obtains every gigajoule of energy it uses specifically from Site C, or from a variety of sources throughout the province, the reality is that one facility would be using an amount of power equivalent to that produced by a hydroelectric project reportedly designed to meet the growing energy needs of a growing province with a growing population.

SHELL CANAda LENDS A HAND TO NORTHEAST BC STUDENTS STAFF REPORTER Pipeline News North Northeast British Columbia students are the beneficiaries of a $35,000 donation from Shell Canada that was presented on February 7. The donation was received by the Northern Lights College Foundation and will be used to support Northern Opportunities, partnership that represents a regional collaboration of industry, Aboriginal, education and government organizations. From the donation, $25,000 will be used for continued program development and special projects and $10,000 will be used to provide scholarships to Dual Credit students in the Oil and Gas Field Operations program at the Fort St. John Campus of Northern Lights College. Shell’s contribution to Northern Opportunities is their initial contribution to the partnership. The funds will be used for continued program development and special projects.

“The Northern Opportunities Dual Credit program has resulted in a significant increase in high school graduates in northeastern British Columbia,” said Murray Slezak, Social Performance Team Leader for Shell. “Ultimately, this program improves community, family and individual well-being in addition to supplying a larger, qualified local workforce.” “Northern Opportunities is pleased to announce its newest partner … and acknowledge the contribution towards supporting its mission of enhancing opportunities for students to succeed in high school, pursue post-secondary education and build rewarding careers in the Northeast,” said Cheryl Anthony of Northern Opportunities. The cheque presentation was made on Feb. 7 at NLC’s Fort St. John Campus. Donna Kane, executive director of the NLC Foundation, accepted the cheque from Slezak, Northeastern British Columbia Regional Operations Manager Rejean Tetrault and Carson Newby of Community Affairs.

Donna Kane of the Northern Lights College Foundation accepting a donation to Northern Opportunities from Murray Slezak, Rejean Tetreaut and Carson Newby of Shell Canada. photO COURTESY OF NORTHERN LIGHTS COLLEGE

PRD Energy sells Northwest Territories assets Daily Oil Bulletin PRD Energy Inc. has sold its interests in three significant discovery licences covering approximately 2,000 acres in the Northwest Territories. The assets are not the focus of further development by PRD given the decline in North American natural gas prices has lowered the company’s economic outlook for the assets, the timeline to achieving commercial production is unknown, and the assets are non-operated with a minority position only (10.88 per cent). They are located outside its regions of interest, principally Europe, where PRD has a 100 per cent interest in over 266,300 acres on previously producing lands and with ready access to markets.

The purchase price is approximately $1.05 million, which was paid in full by applying the purchase price against the outstanding capital and expense charges owing by the company in respect of the N.W.T. assets. In addition, the purchaser assumed all past, present and future obligations of the company in respect of the assets. It is expected that the company’s exploration and evaluation assets will be written down to reflect this transaction. Sayer Energy Advisors acted as advisor to PRD on the transaction. PRD said it plans to continue consolidating acreage, and negotiating with major operators, in its regions of interest while it considers options to begin operations in Germany during 2012.


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industry news

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS Alberta government proposes creation of Property Rights Advocate Office james waterman Pipeline News North The Alberta government’s plan to create a Property Rights Advocate Office has been met with harsh criticism from surface rights groups and opposition parties. If passed, the Property Rights Advocate Act, which had its second reading in the provincial legislature on March 8, will establish a Property Rights Advocate Office under the authority of the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General. The duties of the new Property Rights Advocate will include providing information to landowners about proper compensation for expropriated land and helping landowners determine the best way to settle property rights issues. The act is a result of recommendations made by the Property Rights Task Force that met with Albertans in ten communities. One message heard during those meetings was that the Province should repeal Bills 19, 24, 36 and 50, which all impact landowners and individuals or companies involved in primary resource industries. The government chose not to pursue that option.

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“Many people did ask us to repeal the bills,” said Diana McQueen, Minister of Environment and Water. “And other people said, well, we need good planning,” she continued. “Our issues are not around repealing the bills as much as they are – and in this is the area where everyone agreed – with what I call the three C’s.” The three C’s in this case are consultation, fair and adequate compensation for expropriated land, and access to the courts if there should be a dispute about the level of compensation. “The other principle that they talked about was that many of them felt that there was no one there to fight for them,” said McQueen. “So, they felt that whether it be the ERCB (Energy Resources Conservation Board) or the [Alberta] Surface Rights Board (SRB), or different boards that we have, that they weren’t there fighting for them. And they wanted someone that was there for the property owner. And so that’s where we came with the Property Rights Advocate.” Edmonton-based lawyer Keith Wilson isn’t satisfied, particularly when it comes to the Province’s refusal to repeal Bill 36,

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the Alberta Land Stewardship Act. the feedlot, or decides to rescind the wa“Under that legislation – the Land ter license, and you go to the advocate, Stewardship Act – the cabinet has given all the advocate’s going to be able to say itself an overriding power that overrides is, ‘Well, did they do it under the Land Stewardship Act?’ And you say, ‘Yep.’ And the legislation relating to the oil and gas he’ll say, ‘Well, you’ve got no right to take industry, relating to farming, relating to them to court and you’ve got no right to water use, relating to environmental compensation.’ approvals, gravel pits, forestry, timber “All they can do is tell you what the law harvesting, all these things,” said Wilson. says. How is that a solution to anything?” “And what they said in this new law is, Wilson exclusively represents landdespite whatever rights you might have owners, often in matters concerning in your lease agreement with the governthe oil and gas industry that range from ment, despite whatever protections exist new pipelines and gas plants to oil well in the forestry act or the water act to give blowouts and contaminated sites. So, he you security of tenure in your water liis confident that he understands how both cense or your lease, the cabinet can now sides can be adversely affected by Bill simply tear up those agreements if [they] 36, just as he is certain that neither side choose to do so. There’s no restrictions will get any use out of Property Rights on the cabinet’s powers.” Advocate Office. “This is unprecedented for a western “The industry that will be most affected democracy to give a group of politiby the Land Stewardship Act will likely be cians in the cabinet room that kind of the oil and gas industry,” said Wilson. raw power where they can override all He explained that resource users who the existing laws,” he added. “They can override the existing agreements, license, satisfy the requirements of the appropriate provincial agencies in order to obtain permits, approvals and leases, and they permits or licenses, and continue to abide can simply tear them up.” by the rules of those agencies, are no According to Wilson, individuals or longer secure in their investments. companies affected by the act have no “The cabinet will develop its vision for defense, which runs contrary to the legal each of the regions [of the province],” tradition in Canada where citizens have said Wilson. “And if [they’ve] got to rethe right to challenge such decisions in scind some stuff to stop certain activities court. from occurring that have been occurring “The legislation boards the door to for years or decades, [they] will do so. If the courthouse shut,” said Wilson. “And [they] have to issue restrictions on land the government doesn’t deny this. They as to what can and can’t be done, [they] defend it, actually. They think it’s the right will do so. [They] will do so knowing that thing to do.” no one can challenge [their] vision in any “So,” he continued, “they’ve removed court, and that [they] won’t have to pay the traditional remedies that you have in compensation in doing it.” a country that believes in the rule of law “They have tried this in other counto challenge or limit government decitries, but it wasn’t a democratic one,” he sions by having a court review them. added. They’ve taken that away. “There were 22 mineral Paul Hinman, Wildrose Alliance “And then on MLA for top of that, they’ve leases that the Crown Party Calgary-Glenmore created a bar and outspoken and restricted revoked. And then they opponent of the rights to comLand Stewardpensation. So, it’s very aggresdecided what was fair ship Act and the Property Rights sive legislation. Advocate Act, It’s very strange compensation.” cites events legislation. And surrounding the the government – Paul Hinman, Wildrose MLA implementation in various settings of the Lower has not disputed Athabasca Regional Plan as an example that the legislation represents a threat to of the consequences of Bill 36. landowners and resource users.” “There were 22 mineral leases that the Wilson feels the government ignored Crown revoked,” said Hinman. “And then the “overwhelming message” to correct they decided what was fair compensation that legislation in order to create a paper for that.” tiger Property Rights Advocate instead. “I spoke with one individual who had a “Essentially,” he added, “they’re saying mineral lease,” he continued, “who spent they’re going to create an advocate to two years working up there, put in a lot help protect Albertans from the laws that of sweat equity, and he’d only paid $685 this government created, which is just for his lease. And that’s all that the Crown bizarre.” felt that he should get paid even though “He has no powers,” Wilson said of the he put two years worth of work in trying to Property Rights Advocate. “None. Zip. raise money… and promoting his lease. None. “And then the government says, well, “The only thing he has the power to do no, all you paid was $685. And this is a is table a report in the legislature once a classic example of how the government year. And that’s not even a power. And so isn’t protecting the property, the intelif it’s your dairy farm or cattle feedlot, and lectual property, the work that people do. the cabinet decides to rescind either the And when you don’t have that protection regulatory approval for the dairy farm or


MARCH 2012

and cabinet can make such a decision, to the Task Force. Also, the Canadian AsI would say that it diminishes our opporsociation of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) tunity for further investment here in the is fairly supportive of the Property Rights province.” Advocate Act. Wilson was similarly troubled by those “We’re supportive, basically, of any events. mechanism that gives private property “They’re prepared to rescind an oil rights holders independent and impartial sands lease,” he said. “Now, remember, information about what their rights are,” these are thick, big contracts that an said CAPP spokesperson Travis Davies. oil company pays millions of dollars of “We like the commitment to the Exprosigning bonus for, and makes billions of priation Act in view of Bill 36,” he added. dollars of investment decisions upon, and “In terms of where it goes and how far it they think it’s enforceable and binding. goes, I think it goes back to the fact that, They look to the as long as this “The legislation Mines and Minerinformation is als Act, and it says, there, as long as boards the door to the private propwell, the minister can’t just tear this erty right holders courthouse shut.” thing up, and if he have good ever [did], under access, they that act we’re enunderstand what – Keith Wilson, Lawyer titled to compensatheir rights are, tion. They go, okay, then it’s a very we’re safe, we can invest here.” positive thing from our standpoint.” “Then they come along and use their Still, Hinman believes these bills will powers under the Land Stewardship Act be hotly debated campaign issues in the that says it overrides all those other acts,” next election, but only in certain ridings. Wilson continued. “And they can tear that “More so in rural Alberta and industry mineral lease in half, throw it in the garthan it would be with the average voter,” bage – it’s done – and there’s no remedy he admitted. “I mean, you have to realize in the courts and there’s no entitlement to that it’s a very, very small percentage of compensation.” property owners that actually becomes Hinman doesn’t consider a Propvictimized by the government. And so it’s erty Rights Advocate a solution to that one of those things that you just don’t reproblem. ally relate to until it’s you.” “That’s just a band-aid to placate indiIt will likely affect Don Bester’s vote. viduals, to say that they’re doing someHe said the concerns of his organizathing when in fact they’re not,” he said. tion, the Alberta Surface Rights Group, “They want to do something? They would not be met by the creation of a can protect property rights and allow all Property Rights Advocate Office. people to go through with the ExpropriaTheir primary concern is Bill 24, the tion Act where, in fact, if they don’t feel Carbon Capture and Storage Statutes that they’ve been made whole, they can Amendment Act have their day in court.” “That took away pore space – subsurMcQueen noted that the resource inface pore space – which gave the right dustries were invited to provide their input to the crown to do whatever they felt

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Alberta Minister of Agriculture Evan Berger shown speaking to the Growing the North Conference in Grande Prairie this February. Berger was Vice Chair of the Property Rights Task Force that recommended the creation of a Property Rights Advocate Office, a plan that hasn’t been well received by some landowners and resource industry people. JAMES WATERMAN photO

like under our subsoil,” said Bester. “For example, if there’s no mines or minerals, then they can still come in and drill wells all over the dam place and inject CO2.” Bester claims they had a promise from Premier Alison Redford that carbon capture wouldn’t receive any additional funding. “And then her Minister of Energy [Ted Morton], in the next breath, the next day, is all, ‘Oh, I’ve got another $400 million committed to it.’ So, you don’t know who’s running the government up here anymore,” said Bester. McQueen staunchly defends the plan. “The province is growing,” she said. “We’ve seen record land sales. We’ve

seen lots of activity. We need to balance good economic activity [and] environmental stewardship, recreation, all of those things.” McQueen feels the Property Rights Advocate Act helps address those issues as well as the concerns of those who want Bills 19, 24, 36 and 50 to be repealed. “We’ve tried to address that by putting those issues of compensation and access to the courts right in this act,” she said. “And then dealing with the Property Rights Advocate for them.” “We’re looking at how do we address the feedback that people gave us.”

Ziff Energy releases new report on Pulse sets sights on Duvernay unconventional gas demand Daily Oil Bulletin

Energy sector consulting firm Ziff Energy Group announced the release of a new report examining and analyzing the main drivers for North American unconventional gas demand on March 6. Unconventional gas includes the shale and tight gas resources found in Northeast British Columbia and Northwest Alberta. Presently, the steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) technique of extracting oil from the Alberta oil sands is the most significant use of unconventional gas, while liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports and gas-to-liquids (GTL) projects will be major drivers in the future. “The current gas price discount and ratio of oil to gas price will continue to be major factors that influence the magnitude and composition of unconventional natural gas demand in North America,” said Julia Sagidova, Gas Analyst with Ziff Energy, in news release issued by the company. IMAGE COURTESY OF ZIFF ENERGY GROUP

Pulse Seismic Inc will be focusing on shooting new 3D seismic in what it describes as the under-served area of the liquids-rich parts of the Duvernay shale play. With total measured depth of nearly 5,000 metres and a price tag of $12 million to $18 million for a Duvernay well, accurate placement is imperative for achieving drilling success, and 3D seismic is a key tool to that end, said the company. Given the Duvernay’s broad extent, Pulse’s business development is focusing on high-quality, liquids-rich areas in which multiple producers are active. In some cases, the same lands will also be prospective for the Montney and shallow Cretaceous zones, creating longer-term potential for multiple licensing of the same data set, said Pulse. In the fourth quarter of 2011, Pulse was conducting a net 277 square kilometre 3D seismic survey in the Edson area of west-central Alberta. At December 31, 2011, the survey was 97 per cent complete. Originally scheduled for delivery by year-end, Pulse delivered the survey in the first quarter of 2012. In October 2011, Pulse began operations on two additional 3D participation surveys within the Deep Basin plays of west-central Alberta. The first survey in the Kaybob area consists of 158 net square kilometres of seismic data while the second survey in the Simonette area consists of 132 net square kilometres of seismic data. Both surveys were approximately 75 per cent as of December 31, 2011, and were delivered in March. Last week, Pulse announced it had signed a $27.8 million 3D seismic data license agreement. The majority of the seismic data is in the Cutbank Ridge area of northeast British Columbia.


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WORKFORCE W ORKFORCE The courses listed in the monthly calendar are accurate as of February 9. However, new courses are being added on a regular basis at each NLC campus.

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CH – Chetwynd Campus DC – Dawson Creek Campus FN – Fort Nelson News Campus FSJ – Fort St. John Campus TR – Tumbler Ridge Campus

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CORE – Conservation & Outdoor Recreation Education GODI – General Oilfield Driver Improvement LDV – Light Duty Vehicle training OFA – Occupational First Aid OFA TE – OFA Transportation Endorsement OHH – Oilfield Heavy Hauler PAL – Possession and Acquisition License (Canadian Firearms Safety Course) TDG – Transportation of Dangerous Goods UTV – Utility Task Vehicle (side-by-side)

ON-LINE SAFETY TRAINING (Morning start times recommended).

nlc.bc.ca

• WHMIS • Ground Disturbance • PST (Petroleum Safety Training IRP #16) • CSTS (Construction Safety Training System) Dawson Creek 250-784-7576 Hugh McNair hmcnair@nlc.bc.ca

Tumbler Ridge 250-242-5591 Al Miller amiller@nlc.bc.ca

Chetwynd 250-788-2248 Verna Rowsell vrowsell@nlc.bc.ca

Fort St. John 250-785-6981 Bob Haugen bhaugen@nlc.bc.ca

Fort Nelson 250-774-2741 Ramona Nehring rnehring@nlc.bc.ca

Fort Nelson 250-774-2741 Kate Ring kring@nlc.bc.ca

• Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG)

For more information or to register for any course listed in the monthly calendar: • call the appropriate Workforce Training coordinator (at left) • call toll free 1-866-463-6652 and ask for the Workforce Training department at the campus where the course is offered • go online to nlc.bc.ca, click Workforce Training under the Programs tab.


MARCH 2012

TRAINING TRAINING For updated schedules, go to nlc.bc.ca and click on the Workforce Training menu under the Programs tab.

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Visit nlc.bc.ca for a full listing of Workforce Training courses under Programs.

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Airbrakes FSJ

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CORE – Conservation & Outdoor Recreation Education GODI – General Oilfield Driver Improvement OFA – Occupational First Aid OFA TE – OFA Transportation Endorsement OHH – Oilfield Heavy Hauler PAL – Possession and Acquisition License (Canadian Firearms Safety Course) UTV – Utility Task Vehicle (side-by-side)

Are you interested in: • taking a course that currently is not scheduled? • having a course designed specifically for your company? • having a course offered at your workplace? Our Workforce Training Department can organize a wide variety of courses for industry, business and the community

CUSTOMIZED INDUSTRY SERVICES We can help improve your employees’ skillset and efficiency with training developed specifically for your company in the classroom or on-site.

AVAILABLE COURSES – Call the Workforce Training Department at your nearest campus. • Air Brakes • ATV Rider • Boom Truck Operator • Snowmobile Rider Safety • Confined Space • Construction Safety Training • COR/SECOR • Detection and Control of Flammable Substances • Driver Training • Electrical Code Update

• Electrical Course for Instrumentation Personnel • Enform Courses • Enform Chainsaw Safety • Fall Protection • Firefighting • First Aid • Forklift Safety • Gas Processing (all levels online) • GPS

• General Oilfield Driver Improvement (GODI) • Global Ground Disturbance • Hazard Assessment • Hoisting and Rigging • H2S Alive • H2S Awareness • Incident and Accident Investigations • Management Skills • Oilfield Hauler

• Oilfield Swamper • Petroleum Safety Training (PST.IRP #16) • Pesticide Applications • Portable Extinguisher Firefighting • Power Engineering (all levels online) • Private Security Training • S100 Fire Suppression • Safety Program Development

• Safety Training for Wellsite Supervisors • Scaffolding • Seismic Blaster Safety • Track Inspection • Traffic Control • Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) • Well Blowout Prevention …and more!


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special feature what the future brings Growing the North Conference takes a good look at where Canada is heading

John Carruthers, President of Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines, spoke to the Growing the North Conference crowd about the project on Thursday, February 23. james waterman photO

james waterman Pipeline News North Northern Canada has one foot set firmly in the past and one toe cautiously testing the waters of the future. Northerners who work in the resource industries that call Canada’s North their home enjoy harkening back to the pioneering spirit of early farmers, loggers, miners and oilmen while celebrating their most recent successes. It is a phenomenon that Anja Jeffrey has seen firsthand during her time as Director of the Conference Board of Canada’s Centre for the North. “It’s easier to base yourself on the past, especially when you are still a young country,” said Jeffrey. “So, the past is very prescient, especially when it comes to aboriginal issues.” According to Jeffrey, Canada’s North is a fractured world of distinct communities and distinct industries that haven’t always sought common ground through communication. That makes it hard to develop a unified vision for the region. “What you hear in [Northern communities] is often, ‘Oh, we’re very unique.’ And you can multiply that by ten because there are seven provinces with northern jurisdictions and three territories,” said Jeffrey. “And we all respect their uniqueness,” she continued. “However, in order to move forward, you need to be inspired by different ideas. And I think once you’ve established what your particular uniqueness is and how your needs can be met, you would do yourself a huge favour by reaching out and integrating good examples and best practices. You can start by looking around in Canada. And not be so siloed in your conversations. It sounds like a simple approach, but it’s not really.”

That suggests the potential value of events like the recent Growing the North Conference held in Grande Prairie, Alberta from February 21-23, as well as the difficulty organizers face in making such a gathering as meaningful as possible. After all, there are hundreds of conferences across Canada each year, and participants and attendees often leave wondering what had been accomplished. Walter Paszkowski, Economic Development Manager for the County of Grande Prairie, who led the way in organizing the conference, is confident that Growing the North was very successful in terms of accomplishing its goals. He said that was partly owing to the structure of the event, which included presentations from representatives from resource industries and government, as well as professionals with expertise in areas ranging from economics to population demographics, and opportunities for attendees to speak privately with those speakers. Paszkowski noted, for example, that American Consul General Laura Lochman “had every spare moment booked for meetings.” “The Cargill, the Encana, the Enbridge pipeline people – virtually all of those had a series of meetings, along with their presentation,” he continued. “The dialogue was what we were trying to create.” Significantly, the industry representatives were decision-makers in their respective companies, which are all operating in Northeast British Columbia or Northwest Alberta. “We really want to encourage dialogue between the decision-makers and the people that are affected,” said Paszkowski. “And, ultimately, this particular conference was extremely successful in achieving that.” Along those lines, a key participant was John Carruthers, President of Enbridge

Northern Gateway Pipelines, who spoke about the controversial project that is currently under federal regulatory review. The debate surrounding the proposed pipeline is a perfect demonstration of the fracturing affecting Canada’s North that was described by Jeffrey. Residents of Northwest Alberta tend to have drastically different views of the project than residents of Northwest B.C. “I think it’s very important that we understand the interests of all those directly impacted by the project,” Carruthers told Pipeline News North. “And that’s typically those that live along the right-of-way. And that interest could be very supportive or it could be concerns they have about can it be built and operated safely.” “But we’ve gone out to talk to all of the landowners,” he continued. “We’ve also had a number of community open houses where we’ve made ourselves available to [answer] questions and respond to concerns. So, certainly, our process has been one of we’ve tried to get in as much information as we can to understand what they’re thinking, because often we can address if there’s key issues.” Jeffrey suggested that such disagreements can also be an opportunity. “I think both [sides] have real legitimate concerns,” said Jeffrey. “And I think it’s in the diplomacy around this that we can move forward. I think each has to step up to the plate. It’s very important. If you get entrenched in your position, you won’t really be able to move forward.” Fear is part of the problem, according to Jeffrey. “The fear of what is going to happen to us,” she explained. “If you face up to some of that fear and you’re willing to go down the route of economic development, there are enough good examples to look at for you to be able to say that it will be okay, that we trust in the process. And I think it’s that basic trust that’s lacking.” Enbridge is also running into the aboriginal issues mentioned by Jeffrey. Speculation is that unresolved First Nations land claims could cause legal complications for the project. There has also been a lot of skepticism surrounding Enbridge’s claim that 40 per cent of the First Nations communities close to the proposed – Bruce pipeline route that have been approached by the company with equity agreements have signed those equity agreements. “We actually know who has signed, obviously,” said Carruthers, restating that 40 per cent of the eligible communities have signed agreements and that conversations are ongoing with the other communities. “That number will increase,” he added. “But, again, they’ll have to determine when it’s best for them to come out and declare that they’re supporting the pipe-

line project. There’s a real process they need to go through from a community relations perspective.” “Over time you’ll see who has executed agreements, but it’s not our decision about when they become public.” Carruthers believes the aftermath of the Gitxsan announcement might be keeping other communities that have signed agreements silent for the time being. “There was a lot of pressure put on them from other aboriginal communities to change their minds,” he said. “Again, we’ve seen most of the opponents be far more vocal than thesupporters, even though the supporters exceed the number of opponents.” The value of conferences like Growing the North, said Carruthers, is that they create the discussion that unifies people of a region, which can help eliminate the skepticism and controversy often associated with projects like Northern Gateway. Paszkowski felt that the presentation by Todd Evans, Director of Corporate Research at Export Development Canada, was a particularly interesting part of that discussion. “It shows that we’ve got to do some other things than what we’re doing, particularly in the export field,” he said. “And export is what, by and large, Canada lives off of.” Evans said that Canadian exports haven’t seen any growth in the past decade, lagging well behind other industrialized nations, including Australia, which has a smaller population and a similar economy, but benefits from closer ties to Asia. However, Evans did note that Canadian companies are selling greater volumes of their products from their foreign affiliates, which partly explains the lack of export growth. Another place where Canada suffers is in the area of business expenditure on research and development (R&D), which is particularly interesting considering where other northern countries rank. Finland and Sweden top the list with the highest percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) going toward R&D. Canada also trails behind northern nations Iceland and Norway. “It really is somewhat of a puzzle to Rutley a lot of people, why our R&D spending in Canada is relatively low compared to other economies,” said Evans. “But in those northern economies, Finland and Sweden, their high tech sector is larger than Canada’s relative to the overall size of their economy. So, high tech takes up a bigger share of their economic output. And high tech does a lot of R&D.” A great deal of that high tech R&D spending is done by two companies – Nokia in Finland and Ericsson in Sweden. Evans remarked that Canada used to

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Todd Evans, Director of Corporate Research with Export Development Canada, told the conference crowd that Canada is struggling on a number of economic fronts, including productivity, exports and spending for research and development. However, Evans also noted that Canada has four key strengths that should lead to future economic success on the world stage: sound fiscal policy; a strong financial system; a solid base of natural resources; and the ability to combat “Dutch Disease” with “Dutch Discipline.” He said that the big challenge for Canada is getting products to market in a cost effective manner, which underlines the need for new infrastructure. james waterman photO

have a high tech company that was responsible for “almost a quarter of all business sector R&D in Canada.” That company was Nortel, which was spending upwards of $5 billion per year on R&D during its heyday. Presently, Canadian R&D spending takes place in “little clusters” across the country, such as the unconventional oil and gas industry in Western Canada, the mining industry in Northern Ontario and the high tech sector in the Kitchener-Waterloo area of Southern Ontario. Kim McConnell, the recently retired former CEO of AdFarm, spoke during the conference about Canada realizing its potential, emphasizing the value of young people and fresh ideas. One of those young people is Kaleena Ross, who attended Growing the North as part of her job as Business Retention and Expansion Coordinator with the North Peace Economic Development Commission (NPEDC). “To understand what’s happening in their region, because it’s so similar to ours,” she said of her reason for attending. “They have really similar industries and challenges and opportunities.” Ross was intrigued by McConnell’s statements about the value of youth. “It’s such an old boys’ network up here,” said Ross, adding that she is also witnessing a lot of young people start to play important roles in the life of the region. “Because the world has changed a lot,” she continued. “It changes a lot every year and every five years. I mean, the way you do business today isn’t the way you did business five years ago.” Ross suggested that young people bring “a lot of insights into how to catch up with the rest of the world and take advantage of what’s happening.” “The globalization of social media,” she said. “That type of thing.” Ross felt that Growing the North was a great learning tool and networking opportunity, particularly in terms of addressing the disconnect between Fort St. John and Grande Prairie – and between B.C. and Alberta on a broader scale – that has been identified by NPEDC. That disconnect exists despite the similarities. “The conference is a very good place for us to create some networking opportunities to really start bridging that gap so that we can get some learnings from both sides,” said Ross. “Because they have some really good best practices for dealing with their petroleum industry. And it’s relatively new here.” “It’s a really good place for us to learn what kind of strategies and approaches they take,” she continued. “And what kind of things we can do that are similar or maybe we can build upon for the uniqueness of our area.”

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Ross was particularly impressed by the Centre for Research & Innovation (CRI) and their presentation on their foresight and scenario creation tools, which is similar to a project that NPEDC has in the works as well. That scenario creation work was inspired by a presentation delivered by Laurence Smith at the 2011 Growing the North Conference, during which he discussed the outlook for the world in 2050. “That got us asking the question, ‘What do we think … the Peace Country would be like in the year 2050?’” said CRI Director Bruce Rutley. Rutley and his colleagues Bob Hall, Manager of Innovation Services, and Alisha Mody, Presentation Tour Coordinator, presented four vignettes depicting possible futures for the Peace Region up to the year 2050. The four scenarios – Era of Englightenment; Boom and Gloom; Smart People, Dynamic Times; Coping with Underachievement – dealt largely with socio-economic conditions and skill and knowledge development. The key recommendations arising from creating those scenarios included motivating people of all ages to continue and expand their education, invest in transportation infrastructure and developing a global company to be headquartered in the Peace Region. Rutley hopes those scenarios will create a context for how local companies operate in the future. “You may not do anything differently, but keep this in mind when you make a decision on a day to day basis,” he said. “Which of these futures do you really want?” “We haven’t put in place any specific monitors other than just keeping tabs on things as they develop,” Rutley continued. “Will we see the Era of Enlightenment? Probably not. Will we enter into the Boom and Gloom? I sure hope not. I think we can be smarter than that. Will we be constantly coping with underachievement? No. Again, I think we’re more capable than that, and we have all the natural resources and we have all the talent here – or most of the talent. But we’re going to be smart people in dynamic times. That’s the scenario I think will play out for us here in the Peace Country. And that’s a relatively positive scenario.” That would require greater communication between resource industries in the region, which is being aided by the Growing the North Conference from Rutley’s perspective. “Are you going to see a huge shift overnight?” he said. “No. But it is a steady progress. And this is an excellent conference. And it’s an excellent gathering of people. And I would really encourage industry to participate – to think about participating maybe in greater numbers than what they currently have. Because it gives a broad context of what the government organizations, what different key companies are thinking about in the future, and

what those opportunities are. When you’re in the room talking to people when those new ideas are presented, that’s when the really juicy stuff happens. That’s when the new ideas immediately start to take hold, rather than, oh, I had an idea and I kind of lost that thought.” However, both Ross and Rutley noted that greater involvement in the conference by other stakeholder groups such as local landowner or surface rights groups would be beneficial. “It was a little unfortunate that there wasn’t as much community representation in the speaking,” said Ross. “And what is kind of difficult about those conferences is you’re being spoken to, but you can’t really have a conversation with them as much. And the networking opportunities don’t facilitate that kind of thing.” “I think the conference will grow and it will be a good opportunity for those additional stakeholder groups to find that there is a forum there to get together with industry, with municipal leaders and other members of the community to have a thoughtful, two days of worth of presentations and conversation and dialogue around what do we really want to be doing here as we grow the North,” said Rutley. Ross would also prefer more discussion about the future, but she understands that that isn’t the way resource industries tend to work. “It would be nice for them to clarify their projects going forward. But I know it’s kind of the nature of the business as well to be pretty secretive, because there’s so much competition,” said Ross. “And it never comes out with them until they’re absolutely ready.” “I didn’t find there was anything really groundbreaking,” she added. “For me, I didn’t really learn a lot more about the industries themselves, just about the approach that the region’s taking to overcoming some barriers.” Jeffrey clearly believes that it will become easier to overcome those barriers as industries and communities continue to work toward changing the fractured nature of Northern society in Canada. She also feels the Centre for the North can be a positive example on a national scale that can trickle down to the various regions of the North. “The Centre for the North,” said Jeffrey, “what we are preoccupied with is the national dialogue and how that does translate to the regions and to the jurisdictions and to the aboriginal governments. I do believe that these dialogues could take place at different levels. I think it’s all in the inclusiveness. And then it’s in maybe looking sometimes more across borders to what is going on in other countries and integrating, having some of those perspectives represented at those conferences.”


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community NLC STUDENts get a boost from psac STAFF REPORTER Pipeline News North Two Northern Lights College students have moved one step closer to achieving their career goals thanks to the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC). Johnathon Merkl and Lee Wetherill are the most recent recipients of the PSAC Award, which is available to full-time students in Heavy Duty/Commercial Transport Technician Foundation, Millwright Foundation and Welding Level C programs. Merkl is a Heavy Duty Equipment/Commercial Transport Student, while Wetherill is studying in the Millwright Foundation program. Both students received $1500 to apply to their schooling. “PSAC and our member companies are committed to investing in the development of skilled talent to help build the future workforce,” said Mark Salkeld, PSAC’s President and CEO. “Encouraging students to consider the exciting prospects available in the services sector and helping them capitalize on opportunities by providing further training and financial support is the central aim of the PSAC Education Fund.” RIGHT: PSAC’S David Ergang (left) was joined by NLC’s Billie-Jo Crandall (right) in presenting Johnathon Merkl and Lee Wetherill with their awards. photO COURTESY OF NORTHERN LIGHTS COLLEGE

Canadian Natural shuts in gas and reduces drilling Daily Oil Bulletin Responding to low natural gas prices, Canadian Natural Resources Limited has shut in about 10 mmcf (million cubic feet) per day and has reduced this year’s natural gas capital expenditures by $170 million and drilling to 45 wells. All gas operations will be affected except for the company’s Septimus Montney development in northeast British Columbia. The reduction in capital spending will reduce natural gas production by approxi-

mately 20 mmcf per day and 460 bbls per day of liquids in 2012, the company reported along with fourth-quarter results. Septimus continues to exceed expectations, said the company. In 2011, Canadian Natural drilled 13 net wells and completed a tie-in to a deep cut gas facility to increase liquid recoveries. The company plans to expand the plant at Septimus this year to 120 mmcf per day, yielding approximately 10,000 bbls (barrels) per day of liquids, and aims to drill 17 net wells to maximize facility utilization.

Spending this year, though, will be disproportionately weighted towards oil, said company president Steve Laut. Canadian Natural anticipates growth in Canada of 17 per cent for light oil and natural gas liquids, 16 per cent for heavy oil and 10 per cent for thermal in situ heavy oil, Laut told the fourth-quarter results conference call. “Although we stumbled out of the gate we expect solid results in production for the remainder of the year,” he said. Planned drilling for 2012 includes 159 net thermal in situ wells, 956 net crude oil wells and more than 400 stratigraphic wells. For the first quarter of 2012, the company’s overall planned drilling in North America is expected to be 241 net crude oil wells and 13 net gas wells, excluding stratigraphic and service wells. North America light crude oil production increased 10 per cent in 2011 over 2010 on the back of a record drilling program, said the company. In 2012, it plans to drill 134 net light crude oil wells including nine new pool developments. North America crude oil and NGLs (natural gas liquids) production for the year ended December 31, 2011 increased nine per cent to average 295,618 bbls per day from 270,562 bbls per day for the

same period in 2010. For the fourth quarter of 2011, crude oil and NGLs volumes increased two per cent to average 291,839 bbls per day, compared to 286,698 bbls per day for the fourth quarter of 2010, and decreased four per cent compared to 304,671 bbls per day for the third quarter of 2011. Those increases were primarily due to the impact of a record heavy crude oil drilling program and the cyclic nature of the company’s thermal operations, it said. The company reported its heavy oil drilling continues on track and exited 2011 at more than 115,000 bbls per day, an increase of approximately 19 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2011. Production of crude oil and NGLs was within the company’s guidance of 277,000 bbls per day to 297,000 bbls per day for the fourth quarter of 2011. North America, excluding oil sands mining and upgrading, accounted for approximately 77 per cent of the total capital expenditures for the year ended December 31, 2011, compared to approximately 83 per cent for the same period in 2010. During the fourth quarter of 2011, the company drilled 29 net gas wells, including just two in Northeast British Columbia and 24 in Northwest Alberta. It also drilled 345 net crude oil wells.

New batch of royalty credits STAFF REPORTER Pipeline News North The Province of British Columbia has announced that it is offering $120 million in royalty credits to encourage oil and gas development. The new royalty credits are part of the government’s Natural Gas Strategy that was launched this winter. The Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program is designed to encourage new investments and create additional employment that may not have occurred otherwise. The new investments will improve access to natural gas deposits and support year-round exploration and production. The credits were also made available with an eye to B.C.’s emerging liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry. Since its inception in 2004, the Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program has led to the development of 84 new road-based ventures and 115 new pipeline projects. This has accounted for more than $1.4 billion in capital investment and about $5 billion in private-sector drilling, as well as other investment activities. As part of the latest instalment to this program, the Ministry of Energy and Mines will accept applications from companies who want to invest in projects such as new or upgraded roads or new pipelines until April 19, 2012. Successful applicants will be required to fund the entire cost of the projects. Once completed, they will become eligible to recover up to 50 per cent of an approved project’s costs through credits that reduce the natural resource royalties they must remit to government. 34551


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Women are proving they can hold their own in the patch when she first started. “In the number of years I’ve been out here, we’ve had female operators – we There is an untapped resource that have a couple of them out at our gas could help address the worker shortage plants – and we’ve had female instrumenin the oil and gas industry – women. tation technicians. And a few years ago, Working in the field requires employees we had a female welder, and we’ve had to be rough and ready, but that is a chala couple of female welder helpers out in lenge more and more women are willing the facilities. That presence is there a lot to take on. more and it is very nice.” The industry is already a huge emHowever, she said that in her field, ployer in Northeast British Columbia, and, it seems that most women are seeking like many sectors of the economy, that engineering jobs based in head offices labour demand is expected to grow due rather than in the field, and she believes to an aging workforce and the potential there still may be the perception of a bias for significant expansion in the future. towards men. The Petroleum Human Resources “I still think those preconceptions are Council of Canada states industry may there. Women are acknowledging that need to add over 130,000 workers before they are equally as capable, technically, 2020 if increased activity levels occur. to do the work, but for whatever reason While oil and gas may have traditionally they are still not choosing to go out in the been a male-dominated industry, the field locations in high numbers.” growing demand for skilled labour leaves As for finding a work-life balance, she the door wide open for women to pursue said that has also evolved over time. gainful careers in all types of occupations “I would say when I first started my job, within the industry. my work basically consumed my life,” Tammy Kehl, said Kehl. “You’re “It’s an opportunity 43, is the Operalearning a new tions Engineerrole, you’re wanting ing Lead for Ento prove yourself, for them to be selfcana, based in and you’re wantGrande Prairie. ing to learn those sufficient and She originally technical skills and went to school them as independent. And it is develop to study biolmuch as possible. ogy, but decided And so it wasn’t very rewarding as a environmental abnormal for me to engineering was get home at eight career.” a more promisor nine o’clock at ing career path. night, and come in So, she moved maybe one day a – Tammy Kehl, from Ontario to weekend. Operations Engineer, Encana Alberta fifteen “Luckily, the comyears ago. pany I work for has After working really pushed that for a couple work-life balance. of years as an environmental engineer, And I’ve really seen, in the last couple of she moved more towards the operations years, a strong desire for all employees engineering side, which involves looking to have that de-stressing time built in.” after processing facilities, including those She said she takes every opportunity to in Northeast B.C. encourage women to get involved in the Kehl said when she first got involved in industry. the industry, there was definitely a gender “It’s an opportunity for them to be selfbias that was evident sufficient and independent. And it is very “When I started working at the Sexrewarding as a career. There are lots of smith plant, I was an anomaly – there different opportunities, whether you’re were no other women working in the field, talking about engineering, operating, and the only other female presence we being an instrument tech – there is a ton had was a secretary who worked at the of work where people are looking for emplant,” she said. “When I first started, I ployees. And I think women can do these had to prove myself, and that was probroles very well.” ably my biggest hurdle to overcome.” As far as obtaining the training neces“There were people who weren’t really sary to pursue those careers, there are used to working with females at that time, no requirements that bar women from but it has come along way since then,” work in the oil field, said Jeff Lekstrom, she added. “In the early days, there were Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship at a number of people who, it felt like, were Northern Lights College. waiting for me to fall down. They didn’t “We have ladies in all of our programs, think I could do the job and they were just and they excel in welding, mechanical waiting for a moment to pounce. There and electrical instrumentation, power were a few older gentlemen who I had engineering and operations, carpentry some difficulties with in the first days, but and more,” said Lekstrom. “There is no once I won them over, once I was able limitations – the sky is the limit.” to prove I knew what I was talking about He said that while the industry at one and could do the work, they were my bigtime may have required a certain physigest supporters. I hardly ever think about cality that biased it towards men, today’s the fact that I’m a female in a male-domindustry requires a technical know-how inated field anymore. I’m just someone and ability to work with one’s hands that who is doing a job.” provides a huge opportunity for women to Kehl said the industry still remains enter that workforce and be very sucmale-dominated, but there are a lot more cessful. women employed now than there was He said that while the number of

female students enrolled in oil and gastrade certification. So, there’s completion related programs at the college varies of that, and knowing that with that trade from year to year, generally, he has seen certification from Northern Lights Colmore women enter those programs over lege they can basically work anywhere in the last several years. Canada, or the world, for that matter.” “It probably has become more prevaMonica Kind, 46, is one of five women lent in the last 10 years,” he said. “In the currently enrolled in the power engineereight years since I have been the Dean of ing and gas processing operator program Trades, I can say we’ve seen a general at the college’s Fort Nelson campus. Kind increase in interest in the programs from said she is no stranger to so-called “nonwomen.” traditional work,” as she owned a renovaHe added that tions and tiling from his experi“There’s a lot of room business for many ence working years, but wanted with other instia better-paying, for advancement.” tutions across more secure career the province, that had room for that trend is not growth. – Monica Kind, specific to this “There’s lots of NLC Power Engineering Student room region. for advanceLekstrom said ment – you can that while the move all the way up draw of a lucrative career is certainly a to your Class 1 – and that’s what really consideration, he believes there is also a attracted me to it,” she said. “You don’t lot of personal satisfaction and opportuhave to be stuck in the one position.” nity that comes with working in the trades She said she is surprised more women that make them enticing to both women are not enrolled in the program, but she and men. suspects that still has a lot to do with the “I think for people in general who are perception of her field as “men’s work.” going into the trades, there are financial “Basically, I think that speaks to women rewards, but there are also personal reand girls just taking that initiative to delve wards in terms of personal satisfaction. In into a career that is not traditional for the trades, specifically, they are working towards an apprenticeship and gaining continued pg 30

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special feature

LIQUIDS RICH Dry gas woes make juniors thirsty for the Montney james waterman Pipeline News North During this era of record low prices for natural gas, a number of energy companies are surviving by exploiting the liquids-rich resources of the Montney tight gas formation of Northwestern Alberta and Northeastern British Columbia. That is especially true of junior companies such as RMP Energy and Celtic Exploration that lack the resources of their bigger cousins, according to Robert Fitzmartyn, Managing Director of Institutional Research with investment firm FirstEnergy Capital in Calgary. “They’re levered to liquids-rich, if not oily, portions of the Montney trend,” he explained. “And so that’s the key. And both have reasonably decent balance sheets.” They also allocate their spending toward the liquids even though the greater percentage of their assets may be dry gas. Fitzmartyn said that Celtic, for example, is about 80 per cent dry gas in terms of their holdings, but at least half of their cash flow goes toward liquids plays like the Montney. That mode of thinking isn’t unique to junior companies. “Look at the way Encana’s being forced to deal with it,” said Gary Leach, Executive Director of the Small Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (SEPAC), whose membership is made up of junior companies. “They’re going through the same attempt to transition away from being a pure dry gas company to more of a liquids focus. It’s just that Encana is so big that even if they add tens of thousands of barrels of liquids production over the next year, it’s still only going to be five per cent of their overall production.” “If you are fortunate enough to have acquired or already have some liquids-rich or some oily kind of target, that’s where virtually all of your capital investment’s going to go, and that’s how you’re going to make the transition,” he continued. “If you don’t have that, you’re going to have to try to make some acquisitions that get you there. And if you don’t have any of those opportunities, you’re in a particularly difficult spot. Because what you’re selling your gas for at today’s price

can’t possibly be economic. It may keep three years is companies getting through the lights turned on, but it’s certainly not a the early learning stages, finding out way to prevent production declines. And what kind of drilling and completion apyou’re certainly not going to be growing proaches work best in the kind of opporyour company.” tunity each company has,” said Leach. The secret is securing that early foot“These are quite expensive wells,” he hold in liquids-rich plays. continued. “So, you’ve got to apply that “You’ve got to identify and move ahead kind of financial discipline. You don’t want securing land and the like,” said Fitzmarto make too many mistakes. For a small tyn. “Earlier than everybody else. That’s company – and this is another significant generally the sweet spot of juniors, that difference between smaller companies they can allocate capital quickly.” and large ones – you can’t afford to Fitzmartyn explained that major commake too many mistakes. Because an panies can be hampered by the bureauexpensive well that might cost [between cracy of complex budgetary process, but $6 million and $9 million], if it doesn’t turn junior companies are able to make quick out the way you hope, that’s an awful lot decisions on the fly. of your drilling budget that’s been spent.” “They would identify analogues,” That is a big concern for small comhe added. “For instance, Celtic, in this panies for whom capital can be hard to regard, would have been drilling another come by. area in the Montney, and would have “The luxury that a large company like been enjoying has is “There’s quite a variety Encana some success.” probably more They would suboptions,” said of ways to tackle the Leach. “Ensequently search for another similar cana’s options area of operation. include everyMontney.” The whole thing from sellprocess really puts ing off non-core – Gary Leach, SEPAC the emphasis on assets to finding companies doing joint venture their homework partners from considered the varied resources the Japan. Smaller companies may not have Montney has to offer. the luxury of a portfolio of assets they “It’s a very large play,” said Leach. “It’s can sell off to raise cash. got quite a variety of targets from oil to “They may not have projects that are liquids-rich to dry gas. Some deep. Some big enough to attract larger joint venshallow. There’s multi-stacked opportuniture partners. Their solution may be to ties in parts of the Montney. The compleput the whole company up for sale. So, tion approach is different – vertical wells there’s a number of companies that, at with completions in different zones. various points along their transition to a Some are targeting specific formations liquids and oily production base, have and completing wells horizontally.” put themselves up for sale just in the “There’s quite a variety of ways to last few months. And looking for either a tackle the Montney,” he added. buyer outright or a buyer for some of their That has given rise to companies deassets.” veloping certain niches in the play. Canadian Association of Petroleum “Narrowing their focus on what seems Producers (CAPP) spokesperson Travis to be working well,” explained Leach. Davies noted that the B.C. government “Trying to optimize their completion aphas also lent a hand to juniors by way of proaches. Learning from their neighbours their Infrastructure Royalty Credit Proand competitors as to what’s working gram, which is available to all producers best.” operating in the province. Since the play is still relatively young, “B.C. has done some really creative companies still have much to learn about stuff to allow operator-producers to operthe resources and the best ways to ate in a challenging environment,” said exploit them. Davies. “What we’ve seen in the last two or “If you’re a little guy,” he continued,

“it’s tough to go in there and say, ‘I need to build a road and I need to build a pipeline. And I need to build all this stuff. I don’t have the capital expertise of a Shell.’ But certainly some of that creative work by the B.C. government to make them more competitive has been helpful.” However, Leach isn’t fully convinced of the benefit to junior companies. “I think most of the uptake on the infrastructure credit in terms of dollars would be large companies,” he said. “But even where it’s larger companies that are building the infrastructure,” Leach continued, describing where the actual benefit to small companies might exist, “ultimately the entire industry can benefit.” Ultimately, improved infrastructure, such as access roads and pipelines, contributes to the success of all companies, both juniors and majors. “So, it’s a smart strategy,” said Leach. “I think [it’s] a good economic development strategy from the province of British Columbia. And B.C. has a deep gas drilling credit (Deep Royalty Program) that has helped somewhat, although we think, actually, the deep gas drilling credit in British Columbia could be improved.” The problem with that program, according to Leach, is that it was developed before horizontal drilling in shale and tight gas plays had really taken off in B.C. “The way the credit’s designed is to compensate more for the drilling expense, because it’s tied to a depth factor,” said Leach. “And a lot of the money that’s being spent today on these kind of wells, though, is being spent in the horizontal [drilling] and completing the horizontal section. And so there’s some aspects of the current deep gas drilling credit that we think could be modified to provide more incentive for companies to develop other parts of the Montney that maybe aren’t being… drilled the way they could be.” SEPAC has presented their ideas concerning the Deep Royalty Program to the B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines with the hope that they will lead to modifications over the next year or so. “B.C. tracks its competitiveness position on an ongoing basis, and revises its royalty programs in response,” said an Energy and Mines spokesperson. “The

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not a bank is willing to lend them money. Province is continuously evaluating programs, analyzing markets and economic activity, and following up on what other jurisdictions are doing. “I think people can hunker down and just kind of weather the storm,” he said. “If they’re properly prepared.” “Royalty programs are specifically designed to reflect the competitive challenges “But, I mean, for the junior guys,” Fitzmartyn continued, “why our clients would buy of developing in B.C.,” he continued. “The Province is attentive to the emergence of these stocks relative to a big company is not even just a play on the commodity, but horizontal drilling and its increased importance in oil and gas operations, as well as growth rates. And so the small guys, if they have the economic realities it creates for industry.” “The input provided by the Small Explorers “A lot of these Montney guys are to watch their spending and the like, their growth projections are coming down. And we might be and Producers Association of Canada is being seeing a little bit of a reflection of that. It will be a considered.” getting crushed in the market.” “On the Alberta side,” said Leach, “well, in Alnew winter next year. Wait and see what happens.” That is the wild card – the weather. berta, we have those horizontal drilling incentives “Which is regrettable,” said Fitzmartyn. “But that have been useful as well.” – Robert Fitzmartyn, FirstEnergy Capital that’s just kind of the reality now. We’re pretty Despite the apparent successes – and the tools confident that pricing will be bad this summer. But to continue that success – the picture still isn’t that rosy for junior companies in the Montney. it kind of resets to zero a little bit as far as storage and stuff like that goes.” “A lot of these Montney guys are getting just crushed in the market,” said Fitzmartyn. Asked if climate change could be changing the face of the natural gas industry by “Gas prices are going so low, so fast here,” he added, noting that spot gas prices affecting demand for the product, he remarked that it is “difficult to say.” are likely going to soon fall below a dollar, while they were around $14.00 just four “Last year was such a cold winter,” he said, noting that experts expected the same years ago. for this winter. The general consensus throughout the industry, said Leach, is that these prices aren’t just a blip on the radar screen, but a price environment that could easily persist “But then the Arctic Oscillation or whatever it is kind of got in the way,” he continued. “Maybe [climate change is] a consideration just because space heating demand is for another decade. The question is if those companies currently enjoying some suclargely the biggest demand and use for natural gas. But you would still have draws on cess might be facing hard times in the very near future. According to Fitzmartyn, the power consumption based on air conditioning loads in the summer.” fate of each individual company depends on a variety of factors, such as whether or

Questerre participates in liquids-rich Montney well Daily Oil Bulletin Questerre Energy Corporation reported today that drilling operations are underway on its first well targeting the liquids-rich window of the Montney shale in the Kakwa-Resthaven area of west-central Alberta. “Through a farm-in and participation in Crown land sales last year, we have a position in this area at very competitive prices given the significant industry activity over the last year,” said Michael Binnion, president and chief executive officer. “We are looking forward to the results from this well. It will diversify our conventional asset portfolio and, with success, help us achieve our target of

1,500 boe per day to 2,000 boe per day by 2013.” Questerre’s acreage for this play is located in the deep over-pressured fairway of the Montney shale in Alberta. The company said economics are materially enhanced by the relatively high liquids content and the Crown royalty incentives for new deep horizontal wells with initial royalty rates of five per cent. The most recent offset wells, located approximately 12 miles away, tested at average rates of 10 to 15 mmcf per day of natural gas and 300 to 600 bbls per day of natural gas liquids or between approximately 2,000 to 3,100 boe per day per well. Drilling is currently proceeding at a measured depth of

approximately 3,300 metres prior to drilling a 1,000-metre horizontal leg into the target interval in the Upper Montney formation. The operator has advised that drilling is scheduled to be completed by mid to late April, with stimulation and testing planned for post spring breakup in early June. In conjunction with its partners, Questerre has begun preliminary engineering work on tie-in options for this well. Questerre will have a 37.5 per cent interest in the well before payout and a 25 per cent interest in this well after payout. Upon drilling and completion of the well, Questerre will have a 25 per cent working interest in 16 contiguous sections of land in this area.

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• PIPELINE NEWS NORTH

MARCH 2012

industry news

NEW DIRECTIVES ERCB updating environmental regulations Daily Oil Bulletin Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) is updating several of its directives regarding drilling waste, oilfield waste, injection and disposal wells, and storage, an industry meeting heard recently. The ERCB hopes to release an update to Directive 050: Drilling Waste Management, in April, a Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC) meeting heard. If approved, the board plans to hold roll-out sessions during the first week of June, said Susan Halla of the ERCB resources application group. Its release will be announced in an ERCB bulletin and details of those sessions will be in the bulletin, she told PTAC’s 2012 Soil and Groundwater Forum and Poster Session. ERCB staff sought board approval of the directive revisions earlier this month, but was directed to return the draft to industry for review because Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development was concerned with the allowable nitrogenloading rate for the mix-bury-cover disposal method. Alberta Agriculture said there was the potential for nitrogen to leach into groundwater. The draft directive states licensees must conduct mix-bury-cover disposals deeper than 1.5 metres on well sites, pipeline right-of-ways and remote sump locations. It says the soil-waste mixture resulting from mix-bury-cover disposals must not be within 10 metres of a rig’s water-supply well. “As a result of that concern, we have proposed that mix-bury-cover disposals of drilling waste containing nitrogen only be done in fine-grain soils,” said Halla, adding the new version will now go back to industry for consultation in the hopes it can be tied up by the end of March. A technical review of Directive 051: Injection and Disposal Wells, issued in 1994 to classify wells used for injection or

disposal by fluid type, is also underway. quirements for the Upstream Petroleum Halla said the ERCB anticipates havIndustry, issued in 1996. Since then, the ing a draft available for public review by ERCB has issued numerous documents year-end. to clarify or update its requirements. She declined to provide details on what Consolidation of those documents, is being contemplated. to be released later this year, will make Directive 055: Storage Requirements Directive 058 current with changes or for the Upstream Petroleum Industry was updates made by other jurisdictions to issued in 1995 and updated in 2001. In transportation, environmental, remedia2009, a discussion document outlined tion, reclamation and waste management 16 areas in response to repeat non-comstandards and guidelines. pliances and queries from industry and It will also make it current with several consultants, she said. of the ERCB administrative procedures There is a proposal to adjust pH and and updated requirements. chloride criteria to better align with AlberDuring the PTAC session Halla took ta Tier 1 soil and groundwater remediathe opportunity to remind the industry of tion guidelines. Potentially, the chloride some waste management requirements. level for collected surface waters that are She noted oilfield waste being sent offsite being discharged could be reduced, said must only go to approved waste manageHalla. ment facilities. Despite this regulation the “Currently, Directive 055 identifies a board sometimes sees this waste go to limit of 500 ppm an unauthorized (parts per million) “You have to do proper site, she said. of chloride and Halla said rethere is no scifineries have exinvestigation.” ence behind that pressed concern number whatsoto the board that ever. And to bring they sometimes – Paul Fuelbrandt, AEW, it into line with receive tainted discussing site remediation Tier 1, we are crude oil. In standards proposing that it recent years, they be reduced down have received to 230 milligrams per litre.” volatile organic phosphate, which causes The ERCB will work with Alberta Envicorrosion problems that can cost milronment and Water (AEW) on that, she lions of dollars and require unscheduled said. turnarounds. A new type of storage system, the “It’s been quiet the last half year or so, above-ground synthetically lined wall but these types of issues tend to cycle. storage system (AWSS), is being used for So, I’m not sure it’s totally gone away,” the high volume of frac fluids in unconshe said. ventional resource development, she Also, boiling produced water as a said. Last October, the ERCB issued an means of disposal is not allowed, said addendum to Directive 055 to address Halla. The ERCB has heard that service AWSS’s liner and optional diking requirecompanies contend they have the ability ments, and it is receiving comments. to boil aqueous oilfield waste. Work on an update will start in the second “The answer to that is no. Oilfield wastes, quarter of 2012. even aqueous ones, are to be managed in The board is also consolidating Direcaccordance with Directive 058, and there is tive 058: Oilfield Waste Management Reno such option in Directive 058.”

Paul Fuellbrandt, an AEW remediation specialist, said there is still some confusion about the remediation certificate program. Remediation certificates are issued on a “release basis” – on spill boundaries, not site boundaries, and so the entire release must be dealt with, said Fuellbrandt. Once the certificate is issued, environmental liability is discharged for that release. “There is still some confusion that I get where people might apply for a remediation certificate thinking that it deals with their entire site, but it deals with the specific release and the release area.” AEW will conduct “paper audits” to verify the effectiveness of the program and, at five per cent of the sites, it will conduct an “intrusive audit” whereby a borehole confirms what was reported, he said. Fuellbrandt said there are some common issues he sees in remediation applications. They must be signed by a professional. They almost always are, but often what is not included is the professional’s organization. Applications must be stamped or the membership number must be included, he said. Sometimes no sub-surface information is provided. “That might sound unbelievable, but the issue is that people might not have borehole logs and so they don’t submit anything. But test pit logs or excavation logs are good.” Some applications have not included backfill soil quality analyses, but AEW wants to ensure that whatever applicants are putting back in the holes they have dug is clean, said Fuellbrandt. There have also been insufficient or improper remediation excavation samples. Improper application of Tier 2 (site-specific) and/or salinity guidelines is the biggest issue, he said. It is insufficient information to eliminate pathways. “If you’re going to eliminate pathways, you have to do proper investigation.”

CCS Corporation unites former business units to create Tervita Daily Oil Bulletin One of North America’s leading environmental and energy service companies has grown stronger by uniting more than a dozen business units under Tervita Corporation – a dynamic new brand committed to sustaining the life, health and energy of the planet by supporting responsible resource development, it says.

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Tervita has been known for the past 25 years by the brands of its predecessor companies: CCS Corporation, Hazco, Concord, Beck, HMI, Prodrill and seven others. This launch heralds the beginning of a new era under a single brand for the privately-held company with $5-plus billion in revenues. “By joining together our individual expertise, experience, assets and services, we will be uniquely positioned to develop integrated project management solutions and provide our customers easier access to our comprehensive range of services,” John Gibson, Tervita President and chief executive officer, said in a news release. Collectively, Tervita offers the natural resources and industrial sectors a comprehensive suite of services covering every stage of the production lifecycle, from development to reclamation. Through its fluids services, solids services, production services, energy marketing and reclamation offerings, Tervita said it helps clients minimize impacts and maximize returns. “Our vision is to create a better future by growing our global leadership in environmental and energy solutions,” Gibson said. “We’re developing new technologies and processes to address today’s challenges such as

water treatment, tailings management and reclamation. “And in this tightening labour market we’re becoming known as a company with a strong corporate culture. Our 4,200 employees are proud of our work, our values and our sense of purpose. In 2011, we hired more than 2,000 employees and we expect our dynamic growth to continue in 2012.” The idea to transition the company to a single brand surfaced long ago, but was developed and delivered in the last 12 months, the company noted. “This is a vision that I’ve had for years, that we should be one brand and one company with one culture,” said David Werklund, Tervita’s chairman and founder. “This is a compelling moment for us as a team as we’ve solidified our purpose, to help customers maximize production and minimize environmental impact. For all of us at Tervita, earth matters.” The company said the brand reflects its shared commitment to the Earth’s energy and its environment. The name Tervita comes from the Latin words “terra,” meaning earth, and “vita,” meaning life. “The glowing orange circle of the logo symbolizes energy from the Earth’s core, while the green circle represents the Earth, our healthy planet,” the company said.


MARCH 2012

PIPELINE NEWS NORTH •

25

ALL EYES ON THE MONTNEY OGC shifts focus to liquids-rich play as activity increases

Commissioner and CEO Paul Jeakins (right) and acting Deputy Commissioner Roger St. Jean of the Oil and Gas Commission explain how they are shifting their focus to the Montney with increasing activy in the liquids-rich gas play. MATTHEW BAINS photO

MATTHEW BAINS Pipeline News North Low gas prices means natural gas activity is shifting towards the Montney Basin – which, in British Columbia, extends from the Alberta border south of Dawson Creek northwest past Fort St. John – and the Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) is shifting its focus and resources to the area, said Commissioner and CEO, Paul Jeakins. Jeakins told Dawson Creek city councillors during a presentation on Monday that with gas prices hovering around $3 per million British thermal units (Btus), activity is shifting from the more expensive areas to develop – namely, the Horn River and Laird Basins and Cardova Embayment north of Fort Nelson – to the less-expensive Montney Basin. He said, for example, of the 650 wells drilled in the province last year, close to 400 were in the Montney. “When we’ve met with oil and gas companies in Calgary and we’ve them come up here, they certainly say there’s still a lot of interest in B.C., and they say a lot of that is centered around the Montney Basin,” said Jeakins, adding that trend is expected to continue in the next few years. He said that coincides with a shift over the past five or six years from conventional sources of natural gas, where companies “hunted” for the gas and built one well on one well pad, to “farming” for unconventional gas in proven areas using multi-well pads. He said those 34550

trends have prompted the OGC to rethink the way it regulates and reports on the industry. He said, for example, the Commission had initiated a tactical analysis for industry in the Laird Basin, but has since moved that analysis to the Montney. He said the purpose of that tactical analysis to look more comprehensively at oil and gas development and its impact on the land base, so that activity could be directed away from environmentallysensitive areas, for example. “We have now moved down to the Montney as we’ve seen the activity levels move here,” said Jeakins. “Issues down here are certainly a lot more intense than they are in the Laird for a number of reasons – we have a lot more private landowners here, we have Agricultural Land Reserve in this area, and we have a lot of First Nations here.” The OGC has authority under an agreement with the Agricultural Land Commission over certain oil and gas projects with the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), and Jeakins said they are currently working with the ALC to update that agreement. He said, for example, they are mapping where activity has been concentrated on agricultural lands so they can determine if activity should be restricted in certain areas, and where land reclamation efforts needs to be focused. In regards to land reclamation, he said they are following up on recommendations from an audit conducted by the Forest Practices Board around the timing

of pipeline reclamation and the handling of disturbed soil. Roger St. Jean, acting deputy commissioner for the OGC’s permitting and authorizations department in Fort St. John, said they are following up with all of the companies they know have completed pipelines recently to ensure those companies are completing their Schedule B Assessments, which describe how land will be returned to its original condition after construction. He said they hope to be more proactive in the future in ensuring those assessments are completed with the 24-month time frame after pipeline construction. Jeakins added they are following up on requests to look at low-impact pipeline construction practices from Alberta, and are investigating whether or not pipelines can be buried deeper than current requirements without causing too much more soil disturbance. Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” – the practice of injecting highly-pressurized fluid into tight rock formations deep underground to release the gas inside – has come under a lot of scrutiny, and Jeakins said they are undertaking initiatives to address those concerns. He cited the new website, FracFocus, launched at the beginning of this year, as an example. “It’s a first step in looking at the fracking fluids that they are using,” he said. “It’s open to the public – they can enter the website and find out what fluids they are using on what particular well.” “That’s a pretty big step for us and industry as well, and that’s just the first step, there are a number of things we have to investigate around fracking to make sure it’s safe and not harming the environment.” He added the OGC is working with the University of Northern British Columbia on a three-year study in the Horn River Basin on the possible link between fracking and earthquakes, which has been studied in the United States and the United Kingdom. Water consumption by industry is another concern for many Peace residents, and the Commission hired a hyrdrologist from the Ministry of Environment to head up water management initiatives. Jeakins said that includes mapping water basins individually and modeling how much water is available at specific times in a year so that water withdrawal licences can be adjusted accordingly. “We’re starting to look at different rivers, and we can model out how much water is

available in any given month. We then set aside that 85 per cent of that water has to be left in the environment, and we will allow, depending on the month, 15 per cent of that flow.” He said in the case of a flood or a drought situation, those licences can be restricted or prohibited, and pointed to the drought in the summer of 2010 in the Peace as an example of how that can be applied. However, he said modeling shows that the Sikanni Chief River alone to supply industry demand into the future. “One fifth of the available water just from that one river alone would be enough to meet all the needs of the industry,” he said. “Naturally, they are not all going to concentrate in one river basin, but it just shows there’s a lot of water in northern BC, and we’re managing it as good as we can with the knowledge we have.” Jeakins said this summer, the OGC expects to complete an emergency response regulation under the Oil and Gas Activities Act, something the Commission has been criticized over for not having implemented already. “In the Act itself, there is a lot of emergency management planning that is more policy – they [companies] are still following basically what we are going to be heading towards, but they are following it as policy, so we want to enshrine it in legislation,” he said. However, he said that regulation includes no changes to setback distances for “sour” (containing hydrogen sulphide) gas wells built near homes. The Commission will also have the added challenge of overseeing liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipelines and facilities as that industry begins to emerge in the province. Jeakins said they are already putting people and processes in place to regulate that sector, but admits it is a transition for the OGC. “We got the first pipe application that stretches all the way from Summit Lake to Kitimat, which is about 460 kilometres,” he said. “That’s a big thing for us, it’s a bit of a shift in what we do. Most of the pipes locally here are from two to 20 kilometres, so that’s going to change a little bit of where we work and how we work.” He added the OGC is working with the federal government and First Nations on the West Coast in regards to the Kitimat LNG facility, which is the first of several such facilities being proposed in British Columbia.


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• PIPELINE NEWS NORTH

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industry news Keep competitive in the age of frac fluid disclosure Daily Oil Bulletin The chemical composition of fracturing fluids being pumped below surface in multistage fracturing operations has been a point of contention with the general public who fear it will contaminate underground water aquifers. The controversy has been amplified in areas not accustomed to the oil and gas industry, like the Marcellus play region in Pennsylvania and New York, and also the Utica development in Quebec. To help allay some of those worries, jurisdictions across North America have started to require frac fluid disclosure from industry. In the United States, http://fracfocus.org/ operates as a hydraulic fracturing chemical registry website. This website is a joint project of the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. In British Columbia, http://fracfocus.ca/ was created in January to provide information on hydraulic fracturing, frac fluids, groundwater and surface water protection, and related oil and gas activities in Canada. And the industry should be prepared for more of this type of disclosure elsewhere in North America. Earlier this year, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) rolled out standardized operating practices for hydraulic fracturing, and noted that more disclosure requirements were likely going to happen in other. Alberta’s energy regulator, for example, expects to hammer out rules by the end of this year requiring companies to publicly disclose the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing, following other Canadian and U.S. jurisdictions that have already done so. “B.C. just introduced a regulation in January that requires full disclosure under the auspices of the Oil and Gas Commission. So, absolutely,” said Charles Bois, a lawyer with Miller Thomson LLP in Vancouver. “One of the issues, particularly in the States, has been the composition of the fluids, what’s in there and the mix. “Some people have argued that it’s competitive information, or that it’s confidential, secret information. I think if you look at the B.C. model and the data that people are supposed to file, that’s kind of gone by the wayside. There’s a pretty comprehensive set of data requirements required for disclosure of fluids, including each fluid and the percentage by mass, which will be accessible by the public.” Gary Leach, executive director of the Small Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (SEPAC), said that the requirement to release frac fluid composition information is a necessary response to the increasing demand from the public. “I think [fracturing] can be done safely – we think it has been done safely,” he said. “The processes can always

be improved, but really it’s a needed response, I think, to address public concerns [about] what’s going into the ground. “In terms of responding to public concerns about the chemicals that are being used, this is an absolutely needed response, and the policymakers and politicians need it too. They need to be able to assure the public that they know and everybody knows what’s being used in frac jobs.” Leach said that there are ways of balancing the need for disclosure while at the same time maintaining a company’s competitive edge. “In the Frac Focus model, the one that’s being introduced in British Columbia, and I think it tracks similarly to provisions in the United States, ... you don’t have to disclose certain aspects of your recipe. You have to disclose the chemical components and the percentages by volume,” he said. In 2010, Questerre Energy Corporation released a fact sheet on hydraulic fracturing in Quebec that included a table that listed all of the additives used in its fracturing operations. Additives in frac fluids used by the company are chemicals found in common consumer products like disinfectants, cosmetics, food and pharmaceuticals. These additives in total account for less than one half of one per cent of the total frac fluid. Frac fluids consisted of 99.5 per cent water and sand. Dale Dusterhoft, Chief Executive Officer of Trican Well Service, said that the type of disclosure that the company has supported and participated in to date in the U.S. and in B.C. has not required it to reveal exact compositions, but rather broad descriptions of its chemistry. “The broad description gives the public all the information required and still allows us to keep some proprietary information,” he said. “For example, we may reveal that a component of a fluid is guar but we don’t have to say exactly what type of guar. “We are comfortable with broad disclosure that gives the public what they need but not exact disclosure that reveals our competitive advantage.” Dusterhoft added that the service industry is using more environmentally friendly ingredients in its frac fluids, and Trican is moving in this direction as well. “We developed eight new fracturing fluid additives last year that were environmentally friendly,” he said. “It is the prime focus of our research group and we will continue in that direction.” Joe Peskunowicz, Executive Vice President, Corporate, with Canyon Services Group, said the company’s position is to be transparent in its practices and innovative in its development of materials. “So we can be part of the solution and the education process that needs to take place. “Currently, [Petroleum Services Association of Canada

OGC to investigate rig fire

SUBMITTED photO

Daily Oil Bulletin The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission will investigate a fire from earlier this month that engulfed a Suncor Energy well. The B.C. regulator is planning to conduct a full investigation, Hardy Friedrich, a commission spokesperson, noted in an email. The OGC was notified of a rig fire that happened at 11 p.m. Mountain Time on March 9 about 20 kilometres north of Hudson’s Hope. “The fire continues to burn with decreased intensity. It is contained on site and the site is secured. Commission personnel are currently on-site,” the OGC statement noted. “The rig and a number of smaller structures were consumed by

the fire. Roadblocks have been set up and air monitoring equipment is also in place. There is no risk to public safety. The commission will continue to monitor the situation and a full investigation will follow.” The site was reportedly at surface location 16-12-84-26W6. Bulletin records show the well was a planned horizontal in the Altares area with a projected depth of 4,380 metres and the Montney formation listed as the total depth zone. “The situation [is] stable,” said Sneh Seetal, a Suncor spokeswoman, adding that the fire is contained to the site and the site is secure. “We did ... monitor the situation closely, we are continuing to monitor the situation. “It remains stable while the well continues to burn. The fire is contained to the site, the flame intensity is decreasing over time.” There were no injuries reported, Seetal added. “We were pleased that all the individuals at the site were safely evacuated,” she said, noting Nabors Canada was the drilling contractor. “While we’ve contracted out the drilling, it is a Suncor-owned well and we’re responding.”

(PSAC)] and CAPP are working on an industry position on this to cohesively represent a more scientific explanation to a technical process that few people in the general public understand,” he said. “The intent is to explain industry practices and regulations that are already in place, as well as some of the disclosure issues that will be implemented over the next few months.” Canyon, as well as all of the other major pressure pumping companies, are involved to ensure accuracy of the descriptions and explanations as to how fracturing actually works as well as well construction and completion regulations that ensure minimal environmental impact, Peskunowicz said. “For close to 20 years, Alberta and Western Canada have been at the leading edge of ensuring all oilfield practices are done to the highest standards,” he added. “There are jurisdictions around the world that may not operate to the standards in the WCSB, which are the most stringent in the world. “The main example is that the root cause of contamination in other areas is caused from flowing back frac fluid back into pits after the frac and allowing it to saturate and possibly seep into the ground at the surface, potentially causing contamination of soil and nearby water sources at very shallow depths.” He said that this practice has been banned in Canada for almost 20 years. “In Canada, 100 per cent of the frac flow back fluids are captured in tanks and recycled and reused and, at the end of the project, disposed of into deep disposal wells that are approved for these types of fluids,” Peskunowicz said. “At no time does the frac fluid come into contact with the surface soils or groundwater sources.” Dan Themig, President of Packers Plus Energy Services, said that Schlumberger, as an example, provides a generic chemical breakdown similar to the ingredients that one might see on food products. “I think we can serve the requirements of disclosure and still keep competitive advantage in most areas,” he said. His company does not provide any fracturing chemicals or services, “so this does not affect Packers Plus, but I think it is possible to provide a generic type of disclosure. It is required of most other industries to disclose compositions in consumer products.” Themig added that some companies are already setting a good example in terms of public disclosure. “The environmental perception of our industry, though, needs to be carefully guarded, and the high-profile incidents such as the Gulf of Mexico blowout have added significantly to the distrust,” he noted. “I think our industry generally is extremely environmentally responsible, and disclosure is probably doable without jeopardizing competitive advantage.”

Ian Doig passes away at 80 Daily Oil Bulletin Journalist and oil patch publisher Ian Doig died Saturday, March 10 at 80 years of age. A familiar figure in Canada’s oil patch, he was for nearly 30 years editor and publisher of Doig’s Digest, the monthly oil and gas industry journal he founded in 1983. After taking a commerce degree, Doig began work as an economist in 1960, only later turning to journalism, which became a vocation. His critical side often showed in the Digest, which sometimes served as a forum for his views on politics and industry issues. In January, for example, the Digest’s editor asked readers whether the National Energy Board’s current hearing on the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project would be a “regular hearing, a circus or a pit stop on the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.” Well known around Calgary and often quoted in the Daily Oil Bulletin and the Calgary Herald, he was familiar to reporters at both papers as someone who would take the time to talk. The former Atlantic Canada resident was also known to many executives in Western Canada’s oil and gas sector, where he spent nearly all his working life. Jim Gray, former chief of Canadian Hunter Exploration, came to know Doig in the 1980s and ‘90s, after the Trudeau government brought in the National Energy Program that, in the view of many, dealt a body blow to the oil and gas sector. “I have fond memories of a guy who called a spade and spade,” Gray told the Bulletin. “When he had a story, Ian wasn’t just reporting. He brought an intellectual dimension to what he was doing. He had a formidable, curious mind with lots of imagination and incredible integrity. He’s really going to be missed, because he’s really been part of the recent history of the industry.” Sometimes known as a character, Doig was also remembered for his candid views. “He gave you the unadulterated view, not [that] of an association,” said Gray. “Ian was always interested in the opinion of individuals, whether they differed from his or not. He liked the give and take of opinions and ideas.”


MARCH 2012

environment

PIPELINE NEWS NORTH •

27

GOING GREEN

B.C government funding carbon offset program STAFF REPORTER Pipeline News North Heavy equipment companies in British Columbia can get a little greener thanks to the provincial government. On February 24, Environment Minister Terry Lake announced $2 million in funding for the Carbon Offset Aggregation Cooperative (COAC), a unique program based in Prince George that assists heavy equipment operators and trucking companies with lowering their carbon emissions. The cooperative creates a market for carbon offsets produced when those companies reduce their diesel consumption. “This made-in-the-North program will reduce emissions and help heavy duty vehicle operators increase their fuel efficiency,” said Prince George-Valemont MLA Shirley Bond. “This co-op demonstrates that being environmentally responsible can save companies money,” added Lake. “It also shows how our Climate Action Plan benefits rural communities by helping business owners save money, reduce emissions and participate in a program that benefits B.C.” The new government funding is essential seed money that will help COAC provide more members with low-interest loans to retrofit their heavy duty diesel trucks and equipment to increase fuel efficiency, save money and reduce carbon emissions. Currently, 33 truck and equipment units have been retrofitted. Installation has been completed on the first truck fleet of six units and COAC expects to install another 24 in the near future.

LEFT TO RIGHT: COAC CEO George Stedeford and Chair MaryAnne Arcand, Environment Minister Terry Lake and Mel Gulbranson, President, Gulbranson Logging. B.C. Government photO

“This kind of support from government sends a clear signal that it is serious about addressing climate change, and supportive of industry’s initiative to be innovative and engaged at the ground level,” said MaryAnne Arcand, Chair of the COAC. The funding is expected to provide financing to retrofit 100 units per month, resulting in emission reductions of approximately 13,400 tonnes over the first three years. With every 1,000 litres of diesel saved, approximately three tonnes of carbon dioxide will be diverted from the atmosphere. One truck operating for 250 days a year can use up to 300 litres per day and will emit approximately 200 tonnes of carbon annually. The cooperative provides financing to member businesses for modifications to existing vehicles and machinery that use fossil fuels. Operators will also receive

driver-awareness training that will lead to even more energy efficiencies and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions that will save them money. These reductions in fuel consumption and GHG emissions will produce carbon offsets, which are then aggregated and sold, transferred or traded by COAC. The proceeds of the sales are returned to the member as a dividend. The first of the 25 B.C. companies to join the program was Gulbranson Logging, a small family business from Vanderhoof. Company President Mel Gulbranson first heard about it through the Central Interior Logging Association and promptly applied for a loan of about $250,000, which will cover the cost of modifications to make their truck and heavy equipment fleet more fuel efficient. “We wanted to participate in a carbon offset program and improve efficiencies in fuel, labour and productivity,” said Gulbranson. “We believe that we can improve overall profitability and be an environmentally-conscious corporate citizen at the same time,” he added. Gulbranson said the company spends around $3.5 million on fuel every year. So, he is hoping the retrofits will cut those expenses by 10 per cent, while leading to a reduction in carbon emissions of 1,100 tonnes per year. He wants to see more businesses participate in the program. “The boost in funding from the Province will allow COAC to give incentives to businesses such as ours to get retrofit programs up and running sooner,” he said, “which can only benefit the environment.”

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industry news

decisive moments Local governments starting to state their positions on Northern Gateway james waterman Pipeline News North

motion. And it was 5-1, which I think is quite a decisive outcome.” That motion basically states that Smithers doesn’t Now that the public hearings of the Joint Review support the Northern Gateway project on the basis of Panel (JRP) assessing the Enbridge Northern Gateway information currently available. Pipeline proposal are well underway, local governments “We’re a community that is not only a port, but we’re in Alberta and British Columbia are starting to take posialso a community that has the largest salmon cannery tions on the project. in the world,” said Prince Rupert mayor Jack MussalThe regional differences are obvious. lem. “And since the inception of Prince Rupert, there’s In Northwest British Columbia several town councils been a fishing fleet here. And a lot of our development passed motions to declare their opposition to the project. came from harvesting and processing of different marine The Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District also species.” voiced their opposition to the pipeline in early February. “This place was the halibut capital of the world,” he Subsequently, the council for the County of Grande added. Prairie passed a motion to write a letter of support for That is the primary reason his council decided to Northern Gateway on Monday, March 5. The Capital adopt a motion to stand opposed to the proposed Region Board comprised of Edmonton-area mayors pipeline. followed suit on Thursday, March 8, also opting to send “I know … some people at Enbridge can speak to a letter to the Joint Review Panel (JRP) assessing the some of the marine matters. But I think people might project to demonstrate their support. have felt more comfortable if there was actually a marine The question is what impact the positions of these shipping agency that came forward. And could explain, local governments might have on the federal review in great detail, the marine side of it,” he explained. process led by the JRP and the ultimate fate of Northern Mussallem also suggested that his council wait until Gateway. the JRP had their say before taking a position. “None whatsoever,” said Colin Kinsley. “But there were some members of council who said The Chair of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Allithey did not think that waiting until the end of 2013 for ance – and former mayor of Prince George – has the the review process to be over was going to change their job of gathering support for the proposed pipeline by minds,” he said. “They encouraged the rest of the counstrategizing with Enbridge’s community engagement cil to make that motion.” team, delivering presentations to groups such as local One of those councilors, Jennifer Rice, said that she chambers of commerce, attending conferences that did not want their silence to be construed as implicit supdeal with economic development issues, recruiting new port for Northern Gateway. members and keeping the approximately 1400 existing “I don’t understand that,” said Enbridge spokesperson members well informed of new developments concernPaul Stanway. ing the project, such as the recent decisions by those Stanway is also adamant that local governments local governments. should be waiting until the end of the review process to “The only thing that the Joint Review Panel is allowed make up their minds about the project. to consider is that which is presented formally to them as “People are entitled to make the decision that they evidence, either written or orally,” he added. “Not what’s want to make,” he said. “But the question is: why would written in the paper. And not what local government you make that decision before you’re in possession of all does. Local government has no the facts?” jurisdiction.” “Now they may say that Kinsley believes that local they already have the facts,” governments shouldn’t be premahe continued, “but the truth of turely involving themselves in this the matter is we’re right in the federal review process, which he middle – right now – of a three considers a matter for provincial year regulatory review process. and federal governments alone. We probably have another 18 “I find it quite disturbing, as a months to go. And we haven’t long-term local government politieven seen the formal hearings cian, that these councils are taking yet, which will start in Septemthese political positions before the ber. hearings are completed,” he said. “And that’s the opportunity for Kinsley’s comment echoes the Enbridge’s technical experts to – Paul Stanway, Enbridge sentiments of B.C. Minister of be questioned in a courtroom Energy and Mines Rich Coleman, setting, under oath, in public, who reacted to the decision of Terrace town council and our opportunity to question the intervenors who opby stating that he would prefer that local governments pose the project. It’s an opportunity to get all the facts on follow the example of the provincial government and the table and then let people make up their minds once wait until the JRP process is complete before voicing a they’ve seen all the facts. Why would you make a deciposition. sion before that happens?” Terrace mayor Dave Parnarowski shared that view However, Stanway thinks that communities that have prior to the vote at council. a longer history with the oil and gas industry than those “I think he was sort of following the same train of in Northwest B.C. are exceptions. thought I believe that I put forward in an argument during “I would say it’s easier for some councils that have our debate at council,” said Parnarowski. had longer experience with the oil and gas industry and “And, certainly, it was the same comment that we the pipeline industry,” he said, citing those Alberta comheard from the premier around the importance of waiting munities as examples. to hear out the federally regulated process and to make “We have obviously thousands kilometers of pipelines sure that we’re gathering all information before jumping in our region,” said Everett McDonald from the council of to any conclusions.” the County of Grande Prairie. “We’re quite comfortable Smithers town council also considered waiting until with them. It’s not a new technology. And some of them the review process was complete. have been operating for 50 [or] 60 years now. So, I think “There was some desire by council to postpone the council is extremely comfortable with Enbridge and with decision until after the joint review process,” said Smiththe proposal that they have.” ers mayor Taylor Bachrach. “And there was a motion to “These are jurisdictions where the comfort zone with postpone it. And that motion originally passed, and then the pipeline industry is much greater,” Stanway continwas defeated, and eventually we voted on the original ued. “They’ve had a lot of experience with oil and gas

“Why would you make a decision before you’re in possession of all the facts?”

and pipelines over the decades. And they feel comfortable in passing those resolutions. For those jurisdictions that aren’t as comfortable, I would wish that they would wait until they’ve heard all the evidence, which places like Grande Prairie and Edmonton might be familiar with. In our experience, jurisdictions that have not had a lot of exposure to the oil and gas industry, the pipeline industry, still have a great many questions. And they need to, I think, have those concerns addressed. And we have a review procedure that’s designed to do that.” “I think there’s a lot of questions that need to be answered,” said McDonald. “A lot of people don’t have the same level of comfort with the oil companies that maybe we do. And I think it’s up to Enbridge to make sure that they’ve done their due diligence. And I think they are trying. They’ve been engaging as many communities as they can. And this is not something that happens over night. It takes a lot of work [by] everybody concerned.” McDonald believes every effort should be made to make other councils comfortable with the pipeline proposal. For his part, Bachrach is perplexed as to why Enbridge or the Enbridge Northern Gateway Alliance should react with such shock and dismay when local governments choose to state their position, even if that position is against Northern Gateway. “I’m not trying to create a picture that our town is unanimous,” Bachrach added. “Like any community there’s a range of views. And there are people in Smithers who support the pipeline.” Kinsley feels believes the councils of Terrace, Smithers and Prince Rupert made a big mistake when it comes to angering those supporters, particularly those in the local business communities. “The largest private sector investment in British Columbia’s history, and they’re saying no to it before it goes through the most stringent review process in the world,” said Kinsley. “They have the right to do what they want to do,” he continued, “but if I was a citizen, I would certainly, as an individual, be up in arms and be asking my mayor and council why they’re saying no to something that they don’t even know what they’re talking about.” When asked about the reaction he has heard from business leaders in those communities, the first word on his lips was “disgust.” “They asked the same question I did,” said Kinsley. “‘What the hell is my mayor and council dabbling in this crap about? You don’t say no to an opportunity before you know what’s at stake.’” Bachrach suggested that the economic benefits for Northwest B.C. are still too uncertain to feel positive about the possibilities, particularly considering the potential environmental impacts. “We don’t have an oil economy in northwest B.C.,” said Bachrach. “We have a salmon economy. We have a mining economy. We have a forestry economy. The question facing northwest communities is whether we want to bring the oil economy to our region.” Ultimately, McDonald agrees with Kinsley when he says that the stances taken by local governments won’t have any impact on the review process, but he thought it was important that his council state their case regardless. “It probably achieves very little,” he said. “But I think what the message is is there’s two different camps out here. And certainly there’s some people that have some questions. They’re opposed to it and they need to have some answers. “But there is also a quiet majority out there that are saying, yeah, okay, we trust the industry and we trust our government to do what is right. And we’ll allow that to happen. And I think that’s the reason for our letter, to say we’re not on the other side, just saying no, no, no. “We’re saying let’s be cautious and let’s make sure everybody is part of the solution. There’s more out here than just the negative.”


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Helipad debate far from over cont’d from pg 4 Petroleum Association should be the next course of action. That meeting was still yet to occur at press time, as Ross was trying to ensure that Prince George-Peace River MP Bob Zimmer would be able to participate. Through all the debate, Gullason continually stated that the real priority for Northern Health is not treating patients with serious injuries at the Fort St. John hospital, which is only a Level 5 trauma centre, but moving those patients to Level 1 trauma centres in Edmonton or Vancouver. It takes at least four hours to transport patients from the field to one of those hospitals regardless of the position of the helipad. “Surgeons are hard to come by and we only have two,” said Gullason. “We definitely don’t have a trauma surgeon.” So, Gullason is hopeful that the Petroleum Association, which is eager to donate funds to building a helipad at the hospital, will be willing to divert those funds to equipment for the trauma bays at the hospital, such as radiology booms and rapid infusers. “I’m excited that you guys are interested in trauma care.” RIGHT: Dr. Brad Gullason explains why Northern Health has opted not to put a helipad at the new hosptial despite the objections of the local oil and gas community at the Fort St. John Petroleum Association meeting on March 1. JAMES WATERMAN photO

CAPP eager to show strong health and safety record cont’d from pg 5 our concerns, but actually taking them seriously and putting in place some of the recommendations that people had,” she added. Reade was more optimistic about the HHRA. “I’m very pleased that they’re actually coming up and doing this,” he said, noting that the Ministry of Health was formerly left out of the loop when it came to decisions about oil and gas activity in the northeast. “Northern Health never knew the extent of what was going on in the field,” Reade continued. “They never knew the work that was happening or the number of wells that were being drilled.” “This is a first phase,” he added, “but at least they’re actually taking some notice about the concerns up here.” After his journey through Northeast B.C., Marshall also spoke with representatives from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) to get their perspective on the project and hear their concerns. “They told us about the process and we gave them some feedback about what we thought was important in the study,” said CAPP’s new BC Operations Manager

A big concern for Peace Region residents is having emergency response plans in place in the rare event that there is a serious incident at a site such as this one in Doig River First Nation territory. JAMES WATERMAN photO

Geoff Morrison. “Our main message was that the industry’s obviously well regulated and has a solid track record in B.C.,” he continued. “And certainly B.C. has the best – or one of the best – regulators in North America. And we encouraged them to take a scientific approach to their research.” CAPP also urged FBC to incorporate

information available from other jurisdictions. Morrison noted that CAPP takes the health and safety of those people who work for their members companies, as well as the general public, very seriously, but also remarked that the organization voiced no specific concerns to FBC. “We think it is well regulated,” he said

of the natural gas industry. “We welcome the opportunity to show our record,” Morrison added. “And we think that, if the public has expressed a concern, the government should satisfy the people of British Columbia. And we welcome the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment and our record.” 33551


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careers Growing number of women in the oil and gas industry cont’d from pg 21 room for women to pursue fields related to oil and gas development that may not them to go into,” she said. “I would say have been available even a few years ago. that’s it’s definitely male-dominated, but For example, Jennifer Critcher, 27, has that is a perception that I think is probably been using her knowledge in agriculture going to be eliminated.” as a vegetation advisor for Encana’s Kind said she was recently interviewed environmental team. She is responsible by two major oil and gas companies, and for coordinating weed control at Encana’s when she asked about how women are operating sites and pipeline corridors perceived in the industry, she was asbetween Fort Nelson and Grande Cache, sured that gender is not a concern when Alberta. it comes to employment. Critcher said her background has “It’s something they don’t even look at always been in agriculture, including – whether you are male or female. They obtaining a diploma from Olds College basically look at whether you can do the in Alberta to be a crop advisor, but after job, and that was really good to hear from years of working as a sales representathese two companies I did the interviews tive for agricultural retail companies in the with,” she said. “I think it is changing.” region, she saw an opportunity to apply She added she has never been her knowledge discouraged from of local vegeta“Everybody wants you pursuing a career tion in a new and in the oil and gas more challengindustry, even from to do well.” ing way. men who are cur“I’ve always rently employed in – Jennifer Critcher, Encana wanted to make the industry. She a difference said hopefully she in agriculture, but the line of work that is setting an example to encourage more I was in before, there wasn’t as much women and girls – and specifically from challenge in it anymore. So, I decided to Aboriginal communities – to think about seek out a challenge in another area,” careers in the industry. she said. “The money within the oil and “Us women being successful in the gas industry is quite a bit better than in classroom will show other women and agriculture, but it was more of the chalgirls who may have interest in the oil and lenge and the opportunity.” gas industry to feel confident they can Critcher said her field is relatively new, also apply for the program,” said Kind. “I as there is only one other person with her think there’s a place for women, and Aboriginal women, coming into this industry.” company that does the same work, and she has yet to meet another person in With the industry continuing to adopt her position with another company. She new technologies and practices, there is

said she did have some preconceived notions about how the industry might receive women, but has been pleasantly surprised. “I had kind of stereotyped the industry before I started working in it – I thought it wouldn’t be open to females working in the industry, and there would be a lot of, ‘Oh, you’re just a girl, you can’t do anything.’ But it was actually amazing to me, within my first six months with Encana, just how helpful everybody is and how

Sales Associate

Established by industry for industry, Enform helps companies achieve their safety goals through professional training, audit services and expert resources. Our vision is no work-related incidents or injuries in the upstream oil and gas industry. Contact Enform today for more information.

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35153

Deadline: April 30, 2012 The Alaska Highway News is seeking an energetic, driven and team-oriented person to join its award winning advertising sales team. As part of our team, you will be accountable for revenue growth gained through delivering advertising solutions to clients within Fort St. John trading area. Working very closely with your sales and production teams, you will be responsible for coordinating all aspects of after sales support including proofing of advertisements, ensuring proper booking dates and ensuring overall client satisfaction. You must have a valid driver’s license and your own reliable vehicle. If you are motivated and results driven we want to hear from you! This position comes with salary, car allowance, commission and excellent benefit plan. Due to the very low turnover rate in this department, even if you are considering this position you should drop off a resume today – Please e-mail, drop off in person or mail your resume, complete with cover letter to: William Julian, Regional Manager Alaska Highway News 9916 98th Street, Fort St. John BC V1J 3T8 wj@ahnfsj.ca Thank you to all who apply, but only those chosen for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls please.

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Working with industry to help eliminate work-related incidents and injuries

everybody, generally, wants you to do well within the industry.” She said she has never encountered any obstacles to working in the industry herself, but she has a lot of respect for those women who take on those jobs that have been traditionally male-oriented. “I definitely admire the women who go out and do those more typical ‘male jobs,’” she added. “They must encounter some obstacles, but I, personally, have never.”


MARCH 2012

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