Canadian Energy Weekly Round-Up: January 11, 2021

Here are the top news stories covering Canada’s energy landscape:

Canadian Chamber of Commerce: Canada’s Energy Security Depends on Completion of Line 5 in Michigan

Canada’s Chamber of Commerce along with the federal government and several federal agencies are calling upon the U.S. and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to reconsider revoking easement permits issued for Line 5 back in the 1950s.

Line 5, which begins in the U.S. in northern Wisconsin and runs through both peninsulas of Michigan and back to Canada, supplies a significant amount of crude oil to refineries in Sarnia, Ontario and Quebec. Nonetheless, Canadians and energy industry professionals are sounding the alarm on what a potential closure of Line 5 by Michigan’s Governor could potentially hinder Canada’s energy security.

Vern Yu, executive vice-president of Enbridge’s Line 5 stated the company will continue with normal operations unless instructed otherwise by the courts:

“Line 5 is a critical artery of energy into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.”

Joe Comartin, the Canadian government’s consul-general in Detroit, Michigan, said in an interview with The Globe and Mail that the actions by Michigan Governor will have ramifications, should the permit be revoked.

Furthermore, Aaron Henry, a senior director with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, told The Globe and Mail that Line 5 must be on the table as the new Biden Administration begins policy and trade discussions with Canada. Henry also said should the permits be revoked; Quebecers and Ontarians could see higher prices at the pump.

Alberta’s Oil Sands Reach Production Record

According to the latest regulatory data, Alberta’s oil sands production reached new records for the month of November. Reporting by Reuters states data is showing greater oil sands production coinciding with a jump in global oil prices.

Matt Murphy with the energy research firm Tudor Pickering Hold told Reuters that energy producers were able to increase output from oil sands and stay within curtailment limits by cutting back on conventional crude production.

Murphy also stated oil sands will continue to grow in 2021:

“Our model shows the oil sands getting to 3.3 million bpd by the middle of 2021.”

Reporting from Reuters also cites figures from The Canadian Energy Regulator, which forecasts oil sands production to peak at around 4.3 million barrels-per-day (bpd) in 2039, which the additional growth coming from expansions of existing facilities.

Hydrogen Energy Is Gaining Attention Across Canada

Ever since Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan introduced the country’s new strategy for hydrogen in December, Alberta and Quebec began racing each other for the title of the country’s biggest producer of hydrogen energy. And now, as provincial leaders look for ways to increase production capacity, many are weighing the multiple options when it comes to leveraging hydrogen power.

A recent article by the Financial Post highlighted the efforts by Quebec-based utility company Hydro-Quebec to beat out all other provinces in hydrogen production. Hydro-Quebec, a leading global producer of hydro-electric energy, has a natural advantage when it comes to adapting hydrogen production, as they have existing infrastructure in place being situated next to water. However, the type of hydrogen they produce will likely determine whether they take the title of biggest hydrogen producer.

‘Blue’ hydrogen energy, which uses natural gas in the production process, is far less costly to produce than ‘green’ hydrogen, which is a product of solely renewable sources. Nonetheless, provinces like Alberta have a comparative advantage when it comes to producing hydrogen energy at lower costs.

Peters & Co., a Calgary-based investment brokerage, breaks down the cost advantages to making hydrogen energy with natural gas:

“The development of blue hydrogen in western Canada benefits from an abundant supply of natural gas, extensive fuel transmission infrastructure, geology supportive of carbon capture and underground storage (CCS) and established regulations and technical expertise.”

For more Canadian energy news and setting the record straight on the day’s top stories about the oil and natural gas industry, visit Canadian Energy Network.

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