Canadian Energy Weekly Round-Up: March 2, 2020

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

Protests Against Energy Projects—and Federal Inaction—Could Cost Canada Billions

Last week, Teck Resources withdrew its application for an oilsands mining project in Alberta amid railroad blockades protesting the company’s natural gas pipeline project. The project’s cancellation is another example of how energy projects in Canada are being delayed or disappearing entirely. Second Street created its own estimation for the cost to Canada: $213 billion since 2014. As Second Street president Colin Craig explained:

“If you make a list of major natural resource projects that have been cancelled in Canada over the past few years, such as the Teck mine or the Energy East pipeline, the total value is jaw-dropping. It’s roughly equivalent to building an NHL-sized arena every day for a year. Canadian workers have missed out on a staggering amount of jobs and governments have missed out on billions in tax revenues. It would be one thing if politicians could stand up and claim they improved the environment by blocking these projects. But that’s not true. Blocking these projects in Canada just means they’ll proceed in some other country instead.”

Craig’s right. While projects like Teck Frontier’s CoastLink natural gas pipeline are stalled due to protests, countries like Saudi Arabia are investing heavily in new projects like the $100 billion Jafurah gas field development. Canada’s stalled projects aren’t just bad news for the country’s economy, but for energy users around the world. As a major oil and gas producing country, Canada is on top in terms of its environmental performance and its human rights record. What’s more, the country’s LNG exports have fewer emissions than that of foreign competitors. As protesters target Canada’s energy industry under the guise of protecting the environment, they’re making it easier for competitors with lesser environmental standards and human rights records to benefit.

Railroad Blockades Have a Tentative End in Sight

Protests against Teck Frontier’s Coastal Gaslink pipeline, largely influenced by non-indigenous groups with foreign funding, continued. The protests, which have taken the form of blockading railroads and other key infrastructure continue to delay travel around the country. Yet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finally called for the barricades to be taken down and in some areas protesters have reached tentative agreements.

The fact that the protests were able to carry on for so long, and against an energy project that had done its due diligence in engaging with and gaining approval from all First Nations affected by the pipeline’s route, has created confidence in Canada’s government to slip. A new poll showed that a majority of Canadians—69 percent—agree with the statement: “Right now, Canada is broken.” The negative sentiment is due, in part, to the rail blockades which impacted thousands of commuters. According to the same poll, only 27 percent of Canadians think Trudeau handled the rail blockades well.

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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