Posts Tagged ‘oilfield’

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.



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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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


Oilfield equipment rentals made to your specifications

Xtra Energy Services is an Alberta-based rental and manufacturing company that manufactures and designs highly innovative equipment to meet customers’ specifications.


Steve Wenger

Xtra Energy provides oil and gas production rental equipment as well as manufacturing design, specializing in high-pressure gas handling and fuel/waste-fired equipment, such as high-capacity, high-efficiency enclosed flares. Its equipment is designed to run safely, with minimal maintenance.

Xtra Energy first opened its doors as a rental company, renting completion and production equipment to well testing companies and oil companies. Its rental equipment includes high-pressure vessels for shale gas, line heaters, flare stacks, office trailers and generators.

“If well testing companies need a temporary P-tank or line heater, we can supply that,” says Xtra Energy president and co-owner Steve Wenger. “We can rent our equipment to testing companies and provide extra testing packages to help them keep taking on all the work they can.”

Wenger and his father established Xtra Energy two years ago. Wenger’s background is in oil and gas well testing, while his father’s background is in fire and safety, gained during his time in the oil patch.

Xtra Energy’s assembly facility manufactures new products and repairs existing production equipment. The company is based in Red Deer with a Calgary sales office, and a new shop in Blackfalds, Alberta that just opened it’s doors.

“Whether it’s gas, solids or liquids, we can design equipment for you,” Wenger says.

The company’s biggest focus is now its incinerators. “We have come up with a design that is the quietest, puts off the least heat, and is the least offensive to the people and environment around it,” Wenger says.
Xtra Energy’s high-capacity, high-efficiency enclosed flares are silent, efficient, cost-effective and reduce greenhouse gases. Solar power operation with a one-button start up allows for easy use and minimal setup time, with virtually no setup or operational costs.

Xtra Energy’s self-sufficient incinerator pulls air from the outside into its interior in order to burn gas more efficiently than a regular flare stack. On top of that, it causes no ground disturbance and is cost-effective to run.

“You don’t need a person to operate them on a day-to-day basis. You push a button, a light turns on for the ignition, and you can walk away and it will do the job by itself.”

“Other than actually seeing the equipment, you don’t even know what it’s doing, it’s so quiet and efficient,” Wenger says. “It burns so efficiently and so quietly, it doesn’t disturb anything around it. You can have a conversation when you’re standing beside it. It’s very discreet, very environmentally friendly—and it has the bonus of preventing human error because it’s been designed so there is less risk of a spill or burning oil or fluids.” If there is any carry-over fluid, an overflow catch tank with digital tank gauges will contain the fluid before it enters the incinerator and burns it or causes a spill.

Since the incinerator is solar powered, there are no generators to set up and run, and no fans. “There is nothing to go wrong with the system. A product like our incinerator would be the best choice to have the least amount of downtime or maintenance. Especially with summer weather and drier ground, our incinerator is definitely designed to take away the risk of grass or any kind of dry debris lighting on fire. It’s clean, quiet and cool. You can stand next to it and you wouldn’t know it was running, it’s that cool. You wouldn’t know it’s running other than seeing heat waves off the top.”

Xtra Energy takes safety seriously, and its machines have been designed with innovative technologies such as fluid safety catch-tanks to guard against incidental carry-overs, keeping workers and equipment safe.

Xtra Energy’s largest incinerator can handle 8 million to 10 million cubic feet of gas per day, which Wenger believes is one of the largest capacities in the industry for a portable unit. The largest incinerator unit is mounted on a 53-foot trailer towed by a tractor, which is owned by Xtra Energy. The smaller units are designed to be pulled by a pickup truck—so that customers can move an incinerator themselves from one well to another if they wish to handle their own transportation.

Xtra Energy provides a full range of design, project management and technical field service for its fuel and waste-fired equipment.



Hydraulic pressures on these line can get upwards of 10,000 PSI