Monday, 28 November 2016

Fewer Seismic Firms Could Taint Recovery: Executives

By: James Mahony
Published: Daily Oil Bulletin

While raising few problems in the current downturn, a dwindling stable of Alberta seismic firms could pose problems later, when a recovery starts to take shape, seismic industry leaders said recently.

For seismic acquisition firms in particular, activity in Western Canada has been at a low ebb for the past two years, three, according to some executives. When oil and gas producers once again turn to exploration, as they likely will, the fear is that the ensuing rush will overwhelm the few surviving firms, leaving many producers hanging.

“Our initial [concern] is that there won’t be enough [acquisition contractors] left to put out the number of crews that could be required,” said Mike Doyle, head of the Canadian Association of Geophysical Contractors (CAGC). While the market will eventually catch up, a key question is just how long that will take, he said.

Doyle estimated that in 2002, Alberta had about 20 seismic acquisition companies. By 2006, the number was down to 15, and has fallen steadily ever since (DOB, Nov. 24, 2015). Today, only a handful survive, compared to the many that worked the rural landscape 20 years ago. For the roughly five Calgary-based contractors remaining, the world is a different place since the 1990s.

In those days, a local industry supplier tracked Alberta’s seismic crews, sending out a weekly fax, indicating which crews were active and where. At the time, so many crews were at work, the active crew list typically ran to several pages, an industry veteran recalls.

“It wasn’t uncommon to have 110 crews on that [list] in the 1990s,” Forrest Burkholder, vice-president, operations, for seismic acquisition firm SA ExplorationLtd., told the Bulletin. As it turns out, those years were likely the high watermark for Alberta’s seismic contractors over the past 30 years.

No longer an ‘exploration basin’

The heyday for seismic contractors is likely over. According to some in the industry, the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin will never again be what it was in the 1980s and ‘90s. Even when the industry emerges from the downturn, as many expect, few think activity will return to levels seen in the ‘golden’ years, when contractors could barely keep pace with business.

“Our basin has changed over the last 10 to 15 years. It’s [no longer] an exploration, but an engineering basin, so the use of seismic has definitely diminished,” said Elvis Floreani, president of Absolute Imaging Inc., which reprocesses seismic data for the industry (see: Juniors turn to reprocessing, below).

Floreani makes no bones about what’s behind the change, arguing the call for new seismic has diminished largely due to rising costs. Instead of shooting new surveys, producers will use existing data they own, typically reprocessing it. In Western Canada, especially Alberta, ample seismic data is on file with seismic data brokers, a useful resource for cash-strapped juniors in the current downturn.

Workforce evolves

Now in its second year, the downturn has taken a toll on acquisition companies. Like oilfield services, the seismic industry has lost plenty of workers, many returning to their home provinces after layoffs, while others, frustrated they can’t find steady work, have simply left the sector for more stable jobs elsewhere.

In the 1990s, seismic workers were often farm boys off the prairies. With some exceptions, that’s no longer true. Today, most workers come from the east, often Quebec or the Maritimes, said Stuart Gall, a partner with LXL Consulting Ltd., a prime contractor that manages seismic surveys, typically for producers.

Until about two years ago, some Alberta acquisition firms were paying airfares for seismic workers heading west, a trend that was problematic, since consistent work was hard to come by. “If you can’t string together a season of three or four months, it’s not worth it for [the workers] or the seismic companies,” Gall said. As a result, most firms have discontinued the practice.

The industry is still losing workers, many of whom will not be returning. “We’re losing a skillset as well,” Gall added. “[Acquisition companies] are losing the skilled field workers and supervisors. We’re pretty much down to the bone now.”

At project management firm RPS Canada Energy Ltd., which also handles seismic surveys, the view was similar. The steady decline in work “has resulted in a lot of talent — veteran people — leaving the industry,” said Orrin Foster, RPS operations manager. When the long-awaited industry turnaround eventually begins, “it’s going to be a hard squeeze to find qualified people to do the work,” he added.

The sharp drop in seismic during the downturn has made for brutal competition, since producers typically invite several project management firms to bid on a job. “We see a lot of bids, but we also find out … that they’re seeing the same bid from five companies,” said Foster. “…Every single contractor has the opportunity to bid on the work, so it has driven prices right into the ground.”

Juniors turn to reprocessing data

In the downturn, Foster believes many juniors will choose to reprocess ‘trade’ data, including 2D, rather than shoot new seismic. “With processing techniques being what they are, [producers] are stretching existing [seismic] data to its limits and will continue to do so until the economy turns around, making it worthwhile to shoot something better,” he said.

In the heyday of Canadian seismic, acquisition companies in Western Canada far outnumbered management firms, a situation that is reversed today. “It’s [been] weaned down to four acquisition companies and 12 or 13 management companies trying to manage them,” said Brian Hale, technical services manager for acquisition firm GeoStrata Resources Inc. “[But] there’s not enough work for even the four acquisition companies.”

While the current downturn lasts, Hale also feels reprocessing data will be popular. At the same time, he said juniors will have to live with the limitations of the older data, which might have been collected with different targets and depths in mind. “You might get 3D data, but if it was designed for a different target, it might not image what you’re looking for as well as you want…” he said.

Speaking for reprocessor Absolute, Elvis Floreani agreed that older data may have limitations. “It can be limited in its use, but it’s not of no use,” he said, adding that much depends on the data’s quality, and what customers are trying to find. Absolute has reprocessed data from as far back as the 1970s and ‘80s.

“It actually turns out OK,” he said, “but it depends [on your purpose]. If it’s for reconnaissance and things like that, it’s sufficient.” On the other hand, he said juniors planning detailed drilling will typically gravitate to newer seismic data, if it’s available.

International firms surviving

In the 1990s, many seismic firms in Western Canada were local, but that too is changing. While one local firm remains, most are now international, often U.S.-based, with an ability to shift crews — and equipment — in and out of Canada at will, giving them an edge over local firms that may be less mobile globally.

“Anybody that’s left [in Western Canada] is an international company that, at a minimum, works in the Lower 48 [states] as well,” said Forrest Burkholder. “There’s not a single seismic company left in Canada that doesn’t operate outside of Canada to help offset …and utilize their people and equipment.”

The last acquisition firm to fall in Alberta was Tesla Exploration Ltd., for which a receiver was appointed in August, although some in the industry wonder if other insolvencies will further deplete the small pool of recording firms before the downturn ends (DOB, Aug. 2, 2016).

Moving beyond exploration

Traditionally the bread and butter for seismic firms, exploration in Western Canada is clearly on the wane, but other seismic work is giving the industry a much-needed shot in the arm. SAGD operators, for example, often need a new survey each year, partly to track reservoir changes and gauge how well steam-injection is working, according to the CAGC’s Mike Doyle.

On this score, acquisition firms in particular have benefited, since surveys are often shot in ‘4D’ mode, also known as ‘time-lapse’ 3D. “A lot of [our] work is 4D surveys” in oilsands and heavy oil regions, from Lloydminster all the way up to north of Fort McMurray, said Trent Middleton, general manager (Canada) for Geokinetics Inc., another acquisition contractor.

Indirectly, Alberta seismic contractors benefited from a 2006 incident in which a producer blew through the caprock on a SAGD project, due to excessive steam injection pressure. In response, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) became more stringent in requiring that SAGD operators have evidence that the caprock affected by their projects can bear steam injection pressures. Seismic is one of the methods used in raising that evidence, providing work for some contractors.

Like some colleagues, Middleton expects that ramping up in the recovery — whenever it begins — will be tougher, in part because some management-types in seismic are finding work elsewhere. “Our key personnel here in Calgary and in the west are finding that three or four months’ work a year is just not doing it for them,” he said. The situation is less critical with Geokinetics’s field workers, who typically come from Atlantic or central Canada.

“A lot of our [them] still come from out east,” he said. “They’re still happy to come out here, because they also have seasonal jobs out east. It still works for them.”

Despite the grim mood that has prevailed in the seismic sector for much of the past year or two, some in the industry already see signs of a better day ahead. “There will definitely be an improvement [in activity],” said SA Exploration’s Burkholder. “It’s just starting to pick back up now.”

Others in the business are finding that, while few producers are yet committing, the phone is ringing more often now. With crude oil inching up toward $50 (WTI), “we have seen a lot more …producers at least experimenting with the idea of putting out questions as to how much it would cost to acquire seismic,” said Orrin Foster.

“I think we’re getting close, and that’s usually a key indicator for us,” he added. “Once the [oil] price starts to go up, you see more wells being licensed, and they might not be production wells. We started seeing a little bit of that in September. Usually, the next step is [companies] looking for seismic exploration.”

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

2016 State of the Climate Report

By: Marc Morano
Publisher: ClimateDepot

Introduction:

CO2 is not the tail that wags the dog. CO2 is a trace essential gas, but without it life on earth would be impossible. Carbon dioxide fertilizes algae, trees, and crops to provide food for humans and animals. We inhale oxygen and exhale CO2. Slightly higher atmospheric CO2 levels cannot possibly supplant the numerous complex and inter-connected forces that have always determined Earth’s climate. 

As University of London professor emeritus Philip Stott has noted: “The fundamental point has always been this. Climate change is governed by hundreds of factors, or variables, and the very idea that we can manage climate change predictably by understanding and manipulating at the margins one politically selected factor (CO2) is as misguided as it gets.” “It’s scientific nonsense,” Stott added. 

Even the global warming activists at RealClimate.org acknowledged this in a September 20, 2008, article, stating, “The actual temperature rise is an emergent property resulting from interactions among hundreds of factors.”

The UN Paris climate change agreement claims to able to essentially save the planet from ‘global warming’. But even if you accept the UN’s and Al Gore’s version of climate change claims, the UN Paris agreement would not ‘save’ the planet. 

University of Pennsylvania Geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack noted in 2014, “None of the strategies that have been offered by the U.S. government or by the EPA or by anybody else has the remotest chance of altering climate if in fact climate is controlled by carbon dioxide.” 

In layman’s terms: All of the so-called ‘solutions’ to global warming are purely symbolic when it comes to climate. So, even if we actually faced a climate catastrophe and we had to rely on a UN climate agreement, we would all be doomed! 

The United Nations has publicly stated its goal is not to ‘solve’ climate change, but to seek to redistribute wealth and expand its authority through more central planning. UN official Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the IPCC Working Group III, admitted what’s behind the climate issue: “One must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy … One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.”

EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard revealed: Global Warming Policy Is Right Even If Science Is Wrong. Hedegaard said in 2013, “Let’s say that science, some decades from now, said ‘we were wrong, it was not about climate,’ would it not in any case have been good to do many of things you have to do in order to combat climate change?”

The UN is seeking central planning. UN climate chief Christiana Figueres declared in 2012 that she is seeking a “centralized transformation” that is “going to make the life of everyone on the planet very different.” She added: “This is a centralized transformation that is taking place because governments have decided that they need to listen to science.”

Key climate data highlights:

  •  Global temperatures have been virtually flat for about 18 years, according to satellite data, and peer-reviewed literature is now scaling back predictions of future warming 
  • The U.S. has had no Category 3 or larger hurricane make landfall since 2005 – the longest spell since the Civil War. 
  • Strong F3 or larger tornadoes have been in decline since the 1970s. 
  • Despite claims of snow being ‘a thing of the past,’ cold season snowfall has been rising. 
  • Sea level rise rates have been steady for over a century, with recent deceleration. 
  • Droughts and floods are neither historically unusual nor caused by mankind, and there is no evidence we are currently having any unusual weather. 
  • So-called hottest year claims are based on year-to-year temperature data that differs by only a few HUNDREDTHS of a degree to tenths of a degree Fahrenheit – differences that are within the margin of error in the data. In other words, global temperatures have essentially held very steady with no sign of acceleration. 
  • A 2015 NASA study found Antarctica was NOT losing ice mass and ‘not currently contributing to sea level rise.’  
  • In 2016, Arctic sea ice was 22% greater than at the recent low point of 2012. The Arctic sea ice is now in a 10-year ‘pause’ with ‘no significant change in the past decade’ 
  • Deaths due to extreme weather have declined dramatically. 
  • Polar bears are doing fine, with their numbers way up since the 1960s.

While the climate fails to behave as the UN and climate activists predict, very prominent scientists are bailing out of the so-called “consensus.” 

You can read more on the Report by visiting


Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Restarting The Conversation And Finding A Balance On Energy And Carbon In Canada

By: Carter Haydu
Published: Daily Oil Bulletin

Communities are not “particularly exercised” over the climate change impacts of pipelines, gas-fired power plants or natural gas developments so much as they are concerned about the local impacts of these developments.

Therefore, says the Canadian Gas Association’s former president and chief executive officer, industry should address local concerns, providing practical assurances to help “restart the conversation” around energy developments.

“The climate activist community that makes such an effective use of Canada’s reputation as a climate shirker has the interest of conflating the risk of local effects with the climate consequences of energy development,” Michael Cleland told last week’s Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) Industry Insights Luncheon “That is why I argue it is in Canada’s interests to shift the narrative by acting more forcibly and visibly on carbon.”

He added: “At the same time we need to revisit the social contract that governs the pace of development and management of the cumulative effects, and with local and regional scales and methods of mitigating impacts, including the risks of system failures.”

Most of all, he suggested, Canada must reconsider its decision-making mechanisms, especially in regards to how policymakers and regulators interact with local authorities and their role in the processes. Cleland said provincial and municipal governments must “get a grip” on the most basic principles that have kept Canada united and prosperous.

“No principle is more important than the right of free passage of goods in order to reach markets. As long as the world needs oil and gas resources — as it will for many years to come — and as long as Canada can produce such resources competitively and responsibly, we should be in the game.”

According to the Energy Council of Canada’s 2015 Energy Person of the Year, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley was correct to tie her support for the federal carbon pricing plans to federal support for pipelines. However, he believes the federal government should state unequivocally that a growing oil and gas industry is in Canada’s interests, and that for the industry to grow it requires pipeline access to all world markets, as well as Canadian domestic markets.

“The bargain of Canadian confederation includes the proposition that there should be free movements across provinces, but we recently treat that like some quaint idea that is now being [exceeded] by something more fashionable that we call ‘social licence.’ But if every province and every community — including several hundred increasingly independent-minded First Nations — all find themselves with an effective veto, then we are hardly a country.

“Our challenge is to restore confidence in the institutions that actually make this country work. That means finding mechanisms that actually engage local and First Nations governments as constructive partners, working under systems of democratic accountability and the rule of law, all of which make these processes function.”

Rebalancing the conversation starts with addressing carbon, he said. This includes a plausible strategy on climate change that includes oil and gas sector growth. Further, restarting the conversation requires a “new deal” with First Nations who stand to benefit from industrial growth, provided it is done in ways that respects their traditions, the environment, and local decision-making. Local authorities in general also need assurance of some measure of control.

“Above all, [the conversation] needs to include a broader spectrum of voices arguing the case for a truly sustainable energy future — voices that include many Canadians who know something about the energy industry who are on the ground and who are known and can be trusted in their communities.”

He added: “The industry is unavoidably associated with environmental effects that contribute to an ever-more complex political environment for most governments. The industry needs to acknowledge and respect that reality.”

Through most of its history, the Canadian energy sector has existed in the background, said Cleland, sustaining communities with secure, reliable and affordable supplies, providing highly valuable employment and business opportunities especially for western provinces. However, the “background” nature of the oil and gas industry has changed in recent years, and that change is probably permanent.

“Attention that energy gets these days is pretty much unprecedented, driven considerably by climate change, but almost as much by local community concerns and growing distrust of public authorities and energy decision-making processes,” he said. “Too little of the debate seems to be anchored in accurate information or a solid understanding of how energy systems work, or the forces that will drive it in the future.”

While many Canadians would suggest Canada get out of the fossil fuel business and instead pursue clean energy opportunities, Cleland told the event that the oil and gas industry continues to be an economic mainstay for Canada, accounting for over 20 per cent of exports and a similar share of capital investments. He argues Canada should not cease energy growth, because such a move would not impact the world demand for fossil fuels.

“If Canada were to eliminate its oil and gas industry tomorrow, the savings in greenhouse gas emissions would be made up by growth in world emissions by sometime next spring. Canada’s sacrifice would be empty symbolism.”

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

WE WILL SURVIVE

By: Steve Chapman M.Sc. - Change Management Specialist/MOYO Inc.
Published: Oilfield Pulse

    Albertans are resilient. We survive. This is not our first downturn in the market. It's not our first crisis. It's not the first time oil prices have fallen. It's not even the second or third time. I well remember in 2001 as oil plummeted to under $15 a barrel and ALL my clients were oil and gas. I remember the sinking feeling as my monthly consulting revenue fell from $150,000 to less than $40,000 in 45 days,  and suddenly, I was losing $60K a month by staying in business.
     It is also not our first time we have seen government spending outside their means by bringing in questionable fiscal practices and mismanaging what seems to be basic business practices. We have seen inexperienced MLAs making poor decisions.
     Albertans do not have much experience however with our government seemingly abandoning us in our time of need. Sure, we have history of making sweeping changes to the Legislature every few decades, but we have always sat in firm conviction that everyone in this province pulls together in times of crisis.
     Two huge examples are the Calgary Flood and the Fort Mac Fire. There was no shortage of Albertans rolling up their sleeves to help their neighbour or, in fact, perfect strangers to get through it.
     So, it is justifiably confusing to most Albertans when our new government seems more focused on putting their agenda forward than on helping our province get through one of the most challenging economic downturns in a generation. This is a time where our unemployment rate keeps increasing, when businesses are closing, and families are losing their homes and their hope.
     One homily of American humorist Will Rogers I frequently share with clients is, "When you find yourself in a hole ... stop digging." It's not unique or original but one of the most practical pieces of advice I have ever heard.
      All too frequently people feel they can work themselves out of a hole, like a motorist stuck in the mud who keeps spinning the wheels harder convinced eventually he will find traction and get out. We just need to dig harder.
     I understand its exiting for the NDP to suddenly be in the driver's seat after decades of sitting at the kids table. Suddenly, all those seemingly wasted years of near empty policy conventions have a place to see daylight. You can sense their giddiness and eagerness to as much on the table as possible before the dream ends. The NDP are acutely aware they might only have one chance at this.
     In stronger more affluent times, Albertans might be willing to see how this experiment plays out. But, this is not those times. We are in pain. We have a deep ache as we see years, even decades, of work and sacrifice slowly slipping away pulling our hopes and dreams with it. We have entire families living week to week on part time pay cheques.
      So, what do we say to Premier Notley and her government? STOP DIGGING
      In the last year, we have been experiencing one radical change after another without a pause to see what the outcome is. Before our agricultural industry came to grips with Bill 6, we were hit with both a rising minimum wage and corporate tax hikes. Before we grasp that impact, we are facing down a massive carbon tax heralding the largest transfer of tax wealth in the history of Alberta.
     Albertans across the province are begging the Premier to take a breath. We are a strong, proud, and careful people. We are ruggedly entrepreneurial and self-reliant. We need time to understand and get used to change. This new relationship is just happening far too fast at a time when we are looking to the government for leadership and healing.
     Most Albertans are not asking the government to fix the problem. We understand oil prices are a product of world markets. We just don't want new government policies to make a bad situation worse.
     If Premier Notley wants to help Alberta in this time of need, then we need cooperation. The Carbon Tax needs to be put on hold for a year until we get our feet under us. We need a strong united resolution for getting pipelines to the coast. Any coast. We need a task force to take action on rising unemployment. We need an action on Flood Mitigation before we risk another multi billion-dollar natural catastrophe. We need government ot get back into the trenches with business and city leaders to help shoulder this province out of its current crisis. Mostly, we need to feel that Notley and her people are actually listening to Alberta citizens.
      Please STOP DIGGING long enough for Alberta to catch a breath.

ENEMY OF BUSINESS The Policies of the NDP

By: Holly Nicholas - M.SC. Candidate, GEO.I.T. Petrologist Consultant
Published: Oilfield Pulse


       It's a rare occurrence to find an Albertan who will admit they voted for Rachel Notley and the NDP these days. When you do stumble across that uncommon entity, their reasoning is usually along the lines of wanting change. At this point, I'd be willing to bet the majority of Albertans would take the previous Progressive Conservative government back in a heartbeat if they had a choice. Out of all the hope and change that was promised, not one single NDP policy has been effective in alleviating any of the pertinent issues the province and Albertans face. Among the worst decisions for business were raising the corporate tax, the promise of a royalty review, and the implementation of the carbon tax coming January 1st, 2017. However you look at it, the NDP strategy is counter intuitive to basic economics.
      Oil prices are low, but business investments are not attracted by raising costs in hard economic times. This is a no brainer. The corporate tax rate was increased by 2%, which is higher than our closest competitor, Saskatchewan. The NDP seem to believe businesses make decisions based on feelings more than they do with their bottom line in mind. The fact of the matter is businesses work with all types of governments across the board and will invest in jurisdictions where they can make the most profit. However, in the worst move that can be pulled in a time of economic crisis, the NDP increased cost, and we saw investors run to more amicable business atmospheres. Saskatchewan has now seen billions of dollars dumped into the Kindersley region by Raging River, while Shell walked away with a $2 billion dollar loss from their Carmon Creek project in Alberta. Neil Rozwell, CEO of Raging River, cited consistency and lower geopolitical risk for investing in Saskatchewan rather than Alberta.

Their solution to garner more revenue is to punish businesses by increasing costs.
It's clearly not working.

        Although the NDP didn't end up shaking too much up with their royalty review, this was also bad decision making on the government's part, especially during a downturn. The royalty review in 2007 pushed businesses out of the province, since the combination of increased rates and dropping oil prices meant much smaller profits. These changes ended up being rolled back in January of 2011 when it was clear companies were leaving the province due to a 20 percent hike in royalty rates. Knowing past behaviour predicts the future, the NDP soldiered on with their plan to review the royalty framework for a third time. In many ways, driving business away from the province in this instance could have been avoided, because the negative outcomes have been realized in the past. Couple the prospects of an increased corporate tax and potential royalty increases, and it's a recipe for disaster when trying to attract investors.
        As for the future, there is no doubt we will see increased drops in business activity while the Alberta government busies themselves with finding new and creative ways to implement new taxes. Their solution to garner more revenue is to punish businesses by increasing costs. It's clearly not working. The latest fiscal update revealed losses of approximately $900 million in corporate revenue. And, we can only expect more of the same in the future. The upcoming carbon tax will cost producers much more, and NDP carbon policies come with the possibility of actually limiting production. In a report issued by the Fraser Institute, it was fond that production will have to be levelled off between 2025 and 2027 based on current and reduced emissions targets in order to meet the 100 mega tonne cap the NDP have applied. This, despite National Energy Board predictions that demand for oil, in particular from the oilsands, will actually increase in the coming years.
        No matter which way you slice it, the real target of the NDP seems to be the end of the oil and gas industry. They continue to kill off business by increasing business costs, reviewing policy unnecessarily, and increasing taxes everywhere possible. The NDP campaigned on change, but change isn't always a good thing. The real test for Rachel Notley and her caucus will come next election, when those voters, who blindly opted in and voted on the premise of hope, are now living in real life despair. Sometimes, we create our own problems through expectations.

MORE CANADA NOT MORE CARBON TAX

By: Mike Binnion - President & CEO Questerre Energy
Published: Oilfield Pulse

     The 20th century famously was going to belong to Canada, according to Sir Wilfred Laurier. It didn't quite turn out that way. Canada turned out to be the reliable junior partner to Britain, then America and often the international community. Through two world wars and international peace keeping, we showed that Canada can be trusted to punch above our weight and do the right thing. Canadians have a lot to be proud of and deserve our amiable international reputation.
     We can afford to be generous. Canada is blessed to be the second largest country in the world with a relatively small population. We have more resources that the world's largest economies need, than we could ever hope to use ourselves. Even better, we have the enormous geopolitical advantage of both, having the shortest trade routes to the world's largest economies and being one tof the world's most trusted partners.
       One of the great advantages of resources is they can't be outsourced. While the production of Blackberry's might move to Asia, Canadian wheat must be grown by Canadian farmers. As Canadians we must also take note that resources are one of the few hopes of our indigenous peoples to enjoy prosperous lives on their traditional lands.
       While the 20th century turned out to belong to Canada's senior partners, the 21st century is still within our grasp. Billions of human beings aspire to a Western lifestyle. A trustworthy provider of resources, produced with the lowest carbon footprint, utilizing the shortest trade routes will be more valuable to the international community than  ever before. This century can belong to Canada, still punching above our weight as an essential economic partner to the world's largest economies.
        Telling Canada not to produce the resources the world needs is like telling Florida not to grow oranges or Hawaii to ban tourism. Yet for decades, environmentalists have been telling us that the planet is in trouble and we need to reduce Canadian resource production or even 'leave it in the ground'.
 
     Thousands of Canadian companies have learned scaling is the most effective export strategy.

        If the planet is in trouble how could the solution be less Canada? Wouldn't the world need more Canada?
        Environmentalists protest Canada because it's easy, not because we're the problem. Canadian junior partner niceness represents low-hanging fruit to professional protesters in a world where other jurisdictions don't care as much about international opinion. It's obvious that US- funders of environmental groups have other agendas, when the US now exports oil & gas to Canada and has beaten Canada to international LNG markets.
        Norwegians understand that capitulating and shutting down their oil and gas industry would make the world's environment worse, not better. The International Panel on Climate Change and international environmental organizations warn about carbon leakage. Carbon leakage occurs when local policies to shut down industry have the effect of creating even more carbon when other countries step in to replace production. Norway recognizes that problem and it's why their policymakers ensure their oil & gas industry is internationally competitive, as well as environmentally responsible and sustainable. Norwegians care about the global environment so they support their oil and gas industry to prevent carbon leaks.
        Our current policies are making the world's environment worse at the expense of Canadian workers. Preventing Canadian LNG from reaching China leaks massive amounts of carbon by ensuring that brown coal is burning instead. By not focusing on the competitiveness of our oil and gas industry, we create environmental problems elsewhere; often under regulatory systems with questionable human rights records. How can that possibly help the planet?
        Canada's oil and gas industry is ranked even higher than Norway's for the strictness and effectiveness of our regulatory system. How much better than best, does Canada need to be, before we put our big boy pants on like Norway?
         Empty, symbolic gestures will not help the global environment but they will hurt Canadian workers and indigenous peoples. We need to stand up to US-funded groups at home and internationally. Canadians can be proud of being the best in the world and do our part to actually help the planet by stopping carbon leaks.
         In the  21st century the world needs more Canada. Let's give the world what it needs.
       

Stop protesting and be thankful

Stop protesting and be thankful: cheap energy has brought us pretty much everything, including the capacity for green energy

By: Terry Etam
Published: Fort Nelson News

It's Thanksgiving season in Canada, and soon in the US, and it's time to show some gratitude. It's time to reflect on how we live, all the things we are able to do, and how that all happens. This isn't just about energy, it's about effort and building and creating. And it's about recognizing that we owe respect to those that provide so much of what we take for granted.
     Examples are not hard to find, both economic and not. Someone somewhere spends his time writing a song that may lift the mood of millions, but no one says hey thanks for doing that. Some lonely farmer pounds around the field and produces enough grain to feed a small town, but no one says thanks when they buy the lentils. Some solitary operator does his rounds checking on gas wells to make sure they are running, and indirectly heats a hundred homes or hospitals or whatever through the long winter.
      Put down the protest signs for a minute and think. Think about where the food comes from that you will eat today. Think about how you got to the protest.
      Let's also set the record straight about heroes and villains. Protestors do not have a monopoly on caring for the environment. The energy industry does know that a functioning and healthy environment is good for everyone. No one disturbs forests or grasslands for the fun of it. No one wants to kill a cow for the fun of it either - but we all enjoy the benefits when someone does. Seven billion people need food, clothing and shelter. That creates a massive footprint; there is no other way to distribute energy across the globe. Cutting off supplies of cheap energy is a conscious choice to doom some populations to extreme hardship in accessing the basic essentials. Protestors should be honest enough to lay out exactly who they intend to punish, because that is an inevitable consequence.
      Environmentalists view green energy as a  necessity in order to save the planet. Regardless of your thoughts on that, no one should lose sight of the fact that green energy is also an absolute luxury. People who are starving or freezing don't spend much time worrying about carbon footprints. Our western lifestyle affords many luxuries, one of which is the ability to turn up our noses at the very energy sources that enable our advanced way of life. Isaac Newton said that if he could see further than most, it was by standing on the shoulders of giants. Renewable energy is the personification of that principle; green energy options exist because of the efforts of those which have brought you cheap energy in the first place. That means fossil fuels, which everyone knows will not last indefinitely.
     Go ahead and work towards a greener future. That's great, and that's what the sincere ones, the builders, are doing now. They are laying the groundwork for an economic future that can survive once fossil fuels become too expensive. The irony is that green energy developments often face the same hurdles, the same wearying battles against Nimbyism that the petroleum industry faces.
     We have to face the realities of today. The simple traditional lives some yearn for don't exist anymore; we are all addicted to cheap energy. We choose trucks instead of horses. A nomadic lifestyle of living off the land sounds satisfying and wholesome as long as we can have the internet and travel wherever we want. We may grow some vegetables and herbs, but outside of farmers no one can feed themselves alone (and even that's a stretch - farmers hit the grocery store now and then too.)
      Someday historians will look at this period as one where cheap energy propelled us to levels of technology and comfort undreamed of a hundred years before. Look around at how we move and live. None of this would be possible without the benefits that petroleum has brought us. No solar panel would ever have existed without the cheap energy that furled the development of the products that make them. Without fossil fuels, wind turbines would be at best wooden structures that would hardly power a small water pump.
      Stop protesting and start working for the greener future you claim to want. We live in a world where 7 billion people consume 30 billion barrels of oil per year to maintain their way of life. Some of it is indeed wasteful and can be curbed with ease, and those are the best places to tackle. The hard part is tackling them without hypocrisy; anyone can easily begin by never getting on a plane again. Any volunteers?
      The world's population cannot exist without a significant environmental footprint. For those convinced that the world can't warm by another degree without catastrophe, they must by any sensible measure take up signs and protest against the worst problems - primarily coal burning, and primarily in China. Actions that slow pipelines or energy developments in nations with the most advanced and stringent standards are a waste of time and utterly misguided. If you are in that camp, chain yourself to a Chinese embassy, not a pipeline valve.
      Oil is what got us here and what will permit the transition to green energy in due course. Imagine a world of n o plastic or advanced materials. There would be no cheap energy (hydroelectric is a glaring exception; glaring because it falls in the renewable camp with a free pass, despite the upheaval to ecosystems man-made lakes create) without the materials, factories, and building blocks that fossil fuels have enabled.
       The ungrateful go on the attack against the very industry that brought us this far. And the attack isn't against faceless corporation; countless people are being vilified because they choose to work in the energy business. Leave them alone to do their jobs. We all need them, more than most would admit. Few  complaints about natural gas are heard in the dead of winter.
        Show respect and gratitude for how you got here, and how you live. Yes, times are changing, and the world is going greener. But show some respect for the millions of men and women who work hard to get food from the field to your table, and that prevent you from freezing to death in the dark. It's not altruistic, they make a living at it. But it is only because of those people - many of whom are facing dire economic circumstances at present - that we enjoy the standard of living we have. Protests are non -constructive and embarrassingly ungrateful. Fight the good fight if you want, but do it by going and building something, not the opposite.