Canada losing anti-oil war
Northern Gateway pipeline. (QMI Agency File)
Over the screamed objections of 100 foreign-funded eco-lobbyists, the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal was given regulator approval last year.
The Keystone XL pipeline has been delayed for six years by President Barack Obama for political fundraising reasons, but it is a near certainty it will be approved when he's gone, either by a Republican president, or by Hillary Clinton who was supportive of it when she was secretary of state.
The new premier of New Brunswick may be against fracking, but he wholeheartedly approves of the proposed Energy East pipeline, taking oilsands oil to his province.
And Line 9, the Ontario pipeline, is being reversed. It now takes oilsands oil into Ontario, and will ultimately take it to Montreal.
Oil continues to move by rail in record amounts. Earlier this month, Suncor sent 700,000 barrels of oilsands oil by rail to Montreal, where it was loaded onto a tanker bound for Italy.
And this month Canada set a new record for oil exports to the U.S. - 3 million barrels in a single day. The growth was all by rail.
But if things are so good, why are things so bad?
Last week, Statoil, the Norwegian-based oil and gas giant, announced it was pulling the plug on a multi-billion-dollar oilsands project in Alberta.
The environmentalist war against the oilsands and its pipelines have just made investing in Canada uneconomic.
Part of the problem was costs. But "market access issues also play a role - including limited pipeline access which weighs on prices for Alberta oil, squeezing margins and making it difficult for sustainable financial returns."
Statoil does business in Libya. In Russia. In Myanmar, Algeria, Nigeria and Azerbaijan.
They can make a go of it anywhere.
Except in Alberta.
See, there's no multi-million-dollar "environmental" lobby cutting off pipelines to Algeria or Libya. Greenpeace doesn't care about stopping conflict oil. Just Canada's ethical oil.
So that's billions of dollars in construction and engineering that won't be spent here. And tens of billions in salaries from the men and women who would have worked in that oilsands plant for decades. And billions in tax dollars for the rest of us.
Statoil's decision comes soon after the announcement by France's Total to put its $11 billion oilsands project on ice.
That's just construction. Probably $100 billion over the lifetime of the project in salaries. Just gone. Same rationale - between regulatory delays, pipeline access and environmental risk, Total can do better elsewhere. They do business in 130 countries. If Canada doesn't want them around, they can take a hint. This spring, Total signed a massive agreement with Vladimir Putin to produce oil and gas there.
And then the president of Petronas visited Canada. That's the Malaysian oil and gas company, worth $50 billion. Their investment in Canada isn't oilsands - it's clean natural gas, produced through fracking. British Columbia hopes to liquefy that gas, put it on tankers and sell it to Asia, where gas sells for quadruple what it does here.
Last week, Petronas CEO Shamsul Abbas, who is seeking tax breaks and incentives from the B.C. government, said Canada lacks "legal and fiscal stability" and "the Canadian landscape of LNG development is now one of uncertainty, delay and short vision."
Petronas does business in every Third World country you can imagine, including hellholes like Sudan. But Canada's lack of an investment-friendly environment is scaring them away.
Three deals, $30 billion in investment. Vaporized, in part, by foreign environmentalist lobbyists.
Canada is losing.