Posts Tagged ‘energy’

By Jason MacLean
Thunder Bay

TransCanada plans to spend big, but project uncertainty looms,” read a recent headline in The Globe and Mail.
The newspaper went on to describe TransCanada as a “Calgary-based pipeline and power giant” and explained to those of us who choose to think about sunnier topics than the politics of oil pipelines that the projects in doubt include TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL and Energy East pipelines.
But TransCanada apparently intends to do more than just spend big. According to documents prepared for TransCanada by Edelman, one of the world’s largest public relations firms, Edelman is advising TransCanada to “add layers of difficulty for our opponents, distracting them from their mission and causing them to redirect their resources.” To this end, Edelman proposes that TransCanada recruit third parties to do and say things “when TransCanada can’t” (Energy East Campaign Organization document, page 3).
More specifically, Edelman suggests that TransCanada “[w]ork with third parties to pressure Energy East opponents” (Strategic Plan: Quebec document, page 9).
The documents are available at
The thinking behind this sort of strategy was recently exposed by The New York Times. The Times reported the remarks of PR expert Richard Berman, who was secretly taped telling oil industry executives to “fight dirty or lose pretty” and to “think of this as an endless war . . . . And you have to budget for it.”
Hence the plans to spend big.
But surely this sort of strategy won’t work in a democracy like Canada, right? Surely we have laws to prevent industry from undermining environmental rules and regulations?
Think again.
Think about the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act, an act before Parliament ( If passed, this new law would help people in countries rich in natural resources — including Canada — hold their governments to account by requiring companies engaged in the commercial development of oil, gas or minerals in Canada or abroad to disclose payments made to all levels of government — including aboriginal entities — regarding such projects.
Sounds reasonable enough. Sunlight, after all, has long been considered the best disinfectant.
The trouble is that this law is already under attack by — guess who? — the oil industry.
Now, I know what some of you are probably thinking: isn’t this is all just so much pipeline paranoia?
Well, the trouble with that is that a former vice-president of Shell Canada and a current member of the governing board of the Natural Resource Governance Institute, Alan Detheridge, recently exposed the Canadian oil industry’s efforts to weaken the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act before it’s even passed.
Writing in The Globe and Mail, Detheridge reports that the oil industry opposes disclosing payments for individual projects, preferring instead to report aggregated payments, thus depriving local communities and governments of meaningful project-level information.
Moreover, some oil companies are also seeking exemptions from reporting payments when they operate in countries that prohibit such reporting, thereby depriving communities of information where it is most needed and enabling already corrupt regimes.

But this really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise by now. After all, it’s public knowledge that the Alberta Energy Regulator receives 100 per cent of its operational budget from the oil and gas industry it’s supposed to regulate.
Is it just a coincidence that, as The Globe and Mail recently reported, “[o]il sands production has surged — from 1.3 million barrels per day in 2006, to 1.9 million by 2012, a figure projected to double by 2022 — but the resource’s regulation has remained dubious”?
More recently, the independence of the National Energy Board — the federal agency nominally responsible for regulating oil pipelines and energy projects in Canada — has also been seriously questioned. And with good reason. Should our courts and governments continue to defer to a board that, according to oil industry expert Andrew Nikiforuk, includes “no public health expert. There is no expert in environmental assessment, there is no pipeline safety expert, there is no representative from First Nations, there’s no representative or expert from fisheries, no oil spill or contamination expert. It’s a board of white people, mostly Conservatives, all based in Calgary, all with very similar backgrounds, whose job is largely to facilitate the pipeline approval in the country”?
The Québec provincial government no longer thinks so. After the Québec National Assembly unanimously “deplored” the National Energy Board’s indefensible refusal to consider the environmental impacts of rising greenhouse gas emissions and urged the government to “quit” the board’s environmental assessment process, the province has imposed seven conditions on TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline proposal, including an assessment of its impact on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. That way, the province can properly assess the project’s relative costs and benefits.
Maybe there’s hope that Canada’s oil pipeline game isn’t completely rigged after all.

Jason MacLean teaches law at Lakehead University and writes for The Chronicle Journal bi-weekly.



I’ve been closely watching the news articles online and on twitter and have been posting them as well. It’s amazing the different views that get spread. How do you believe or agree to any of it. Good writers share their views in hopes of the public agreeing or seeing their point. But headings always sound like the worst case scenario, and news is almost never positive. The oil price is down. One article says CRASH!While the next says the drop is going to be beneficial. The dollar in Canada is down. The recession is coming again they say. The housing market is going to crash they say. I just read and commented on an article trying to sell people on fracking being as harmless as household chemicals because the new fad seems to be protesting anything to do with fracking, oil sands or pipeline expansion. People need jobs! People need heat, electricity, fuel for their cars, planes to ride to vacations, cook their food. I’m sure the protestors didn’t ride their bikes or walk to Fort Mac, or Vancouver. I like clean air and water too, but people need to understand it’s a very wealthy industry. Why put fear into people? Why try and make up b.s? People want and need information, and the internet is exploding with it. How do you know what to believe anymore with so many “Experts” telling you facts and fiction? It actually stresses me out! I’ll need to climb in a hole to clean my brain of all the mixed media. Life happens. There’s ups and downs. Just have to live, and be strong, Darwinism.


As I sit here on this desolate well site waiting for my cross shift to show, I often wonder why I or anyone chooses this occupation…this lifestyle.

The fellas at Xtra Energy are a close bunch. They always seem to enjoy going off to the field to do an excellent job for the customer. That’s where some of their good friends are. They are always excited and proud to flow back some giant wells, and be part of something substantial. Of course they are paid well and I know they have to work to provide, but they always seem to enjoy the work.

So what’s the worry?

Being close to the guys working at Xtra I watch as they have grown a bit older, got married and now starting to have kids and grow their family. I start to see a different group and see the challenges of being separated from their families. Kids grow and experience many firsts. friends are doing activities, going to events, enjoying some freedom and the wife is maintaining the fort, family and keeping busy to fill the void of her husband being away for extended periods of time. It’s not the dream life anyone wants.

I commend those who do this for a living. I do it for a living.
I’m married.
No kids.
I feel the same sorrow.
I look back at how much time I’ve put into this career, the good times, the bad times, missed opportunities, bad choices. One things is for sure though. Family should come first, and I hope the challenges faced with this industry will always help those in it go home safe and to happy loving family.

I mean why else do we choose to work in the energy industry other than to give a better life to our family?

Global News

VICTORIA – A major player in British Columbia’s liquefied natural gas sweepstakes has plans to spend up to $40 billion to build a proposed export facility on the province’s northern coast that could generate up to $39 billion in tax revenues over its lifespan.

The massive dollar figures were part of LNG Canada’s environmental certificate application released Friday by the joint venture company that includes Shell Canada Energy (TSX:SHC), PetroChina, Korea Gas Corp. and Mitsubishi Corp.

The B.C. government’s Environmental Assessment Office accepted the application, triggering a 180-day review phase, which includes public meetings in Kitimat, where the plant would be built, and in nearby Terrace.

“LNG Canada is proposing to spend between $25 billion and $40 billion on construction and between $7 billion and $17 billion per year during 25 years of operation, with decommissioning expected to cost between $2.1 billion and $3.3 billion,” the application stated. “The project…

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Fracking…It’s not the new ‘F’ word, but saying it definitely can put the same offended look on many peoples faces.

What is it?

Hydraulic fracturing is a well-stimulation technique in which rock is fractured by a hydraulically pressurized liquid. A high-pressure fluid (usually chemicals and sand suspended in water) is injected into a wellbore to create cracks in the deep-rock formations through which natural gas, petroleum, and brine will flow more freely. When the hydraulic pressure is removed from the well, small grains of hydraulic fracturing proppants (either sand or aluminium oxide) hold the fractures open once the deep rock achieves geologic equilibrium. -Wikipedia defined

Why is it perceived as being so bad?

Many issues lean towards health and environmental damages and contamination of ground water, the mass depletion of fresh water from rivers and creeks, air pollution, and a potential link to the triggering of earthquakes.

Now an alternative that has been developed is fracking using propane gas instead of water. This technology has been around for a few years, offered by one specific company. Unfortunately the “more environmentally friendly” approach is not receiving the amount of interest the company hoped, and they too will have to resort to the old fashioned water abusing ways every other stimulation company offers. That unfortunately is the cost of business, just look at the GM debacle with their ignition systems!

They say you can’t put a value on a life…

Well, as a business, we know you need to make money to stay in business. We try and do our part in this industry by offering  products and designs that lessens the emissions footprint this industry leaves, but like some innovations, not everyone is going to choose what society wants and needs over profits.

CBS Sacramento

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Voters in two California coastal counties have approved a ban on fracking and other intensive oil production, while a third coastal county rejected such a ban.

Fracking bans passed Tuesday in San Benito and Mendocino counties. Voters in Santa Barbara County, however, said “No” to a prohibition on fracking and other more commonly used means of forcing oil out of aging fields.

Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing, and involves forcing liquids and chemicals into underground formations at high pressure to extract oil and gas. California is the country’s third-largest oil producer. Other places in the state and country have also enacted fracking bans.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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If you live in Canada, chances are you know someone who has worked in the oil and gas industry. Fathers, uncles, brothers, boyfriends, etc. Some have been working there for years, others will go and do their “time”, make enough money and vow never to return. Anyone returning from the “patch”, will always have outlandish tales to regale their friends and family with.

Until you have witnessed it with your very eyes, you will never quite understand the oilfield. With contrast to the larger culture across Canada, the pipeline subculture is not openly known unless you are within the circle of the workers. You have heard the stories but you probably couldn’t differentiate between a pipeline, tar sands, and a rig. You probably call anyone who works in the oil and gas industry a “rig pig”. Although inaccurate, you are pretty close with that description. The industry is generally composed…

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With over 15 years in this industry I have seen many things change in regards to safety in this industry. It’s a slow progress in a positive direction for sure, yet Having taken the initiative to educate through University study courses in regards to occupational health and safety, I see there is still a lot of work to be done. There is a lack of education by employers to their staff. This may be from a result of the employers themselves not understanding or knowing enough about the hazards in their workplaces. I know I was guilty of this. The old hurry and “GIT ‘ER DONE” mentality is still being taught.

Now although many companies are proclaiming their safety records are improving and incidents occurred are at all time lows, which is great!… But there are many aspects over-looked when it comes to Chronic long term exposures. This could be from hearing loss from prolonged noise or cancer and symptoms that come later in life from chemical exposures. These are things that don’t affect a company’s safety Or workers insurance compensation ratings because they are hard for insurance companies and doctors to pin point at what point of time the degrading of hearing, or when the body had the exposure to these chemicals. This sadly becomes over looked in regards to safety.

Regulations are changing! But not fast enough. I know our industry is full of chemical exposures, and noise above the allowable decibel range. So why do we not implement better awareness? Better training for workers and corporate decision makers? I’ve seen the same lack of action or awareness at so many companies. We need to work on change and setting a new standard.

After all, the next generation of workers could already be affected, because of chemical exposure that workers take home on their clothes, skin and vehicles that now can leave effects on their families to expiate them. Benzene, silica, and asbestos, and many chemicals can be transported and It’s true it can start to harm your kids or family members. Educate yourself and educate your staff.


There is a wide variety of occupations this industry offers. Educated engineers, geologists, accountants, lawyers, etc. You can work in major oil prominent cities such as Texas or Calgary in Canada. You can work your way up to incomes exceeding 300k a year. That being said, you dont have to go to school to be making six figure incomes. Just about every service company now a days pays their experienced blue collar workers six figures. You can make $70,000+ a year as an entry level worker. The money can be great, provide for your family, or maybe buy you that new house or car you wish you could get.
With the demand for energy there are opportunities and jobs galore. Everyone is short handed. They would hire just about anyone on the spot!
But the truth is, it’s not for everyone. Some jobs are very labour intensive. Heavy back breaking lifting, 12-16 hour days on your feet working in the elements of extreme heat or cold. It’s dirty, it’s loud, and it’s away from your family, friends and life back at home, it can be stressful. These are the reasons the rewards for your labour can be so good. As employees starting out they can be making $300-400 a day in most field occupations. Some more veteran employees, supervisors make over $1000 a day. That’s a lot of money for being good and experienced at what you do. The Oil companies make millions or more in profits. But they have a lot of overhead. Large contracting service companies too can make millions in profits. They can achieve this by having the quality people under them keeping the operations working, meeting time lines, and pushing to achieve success. There’s no reason anyone can’t make a great life in this industry, it’s just what you are willing to sacrifice in your life for it.

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.

– Henry David Thoreau