Why do the Conservatives oppose oil sands development?

by Aaron Wherry

Bloomberg looks at support within the oil industry for a carbon tax.

The contradiction of an industry seeking a new tax on itself has emerged in energy-rich Canada because producers are concerned the crude they process from tar-like sands will be barred from foreign markets for releasing more carbon in its production than competing fossil fuels.

Oil companies operating in Canada such as Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM)Total SA (FP) of France and Canada’s Cenovus Energy Inc. (CVE) plan to convert billions of barrels of the sticky bitumen into diesel and gasoline. Under foreign and domestic pressure, they now see a greenhouse-gas levy helping to provide access to markets and more predictable costs for Canada’s biggest export industry, which shipped C$68 billion ($68 billion) of oil in 2011.




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Why do the Conservatives oppose oil sands development?

  1. Something else Harper didn’t see coming. LOL

  2. i hate to do this to you alberta and i dont want to disparage you,but everytime i see a picture or a newsreel in the news,the skies always look sick with toxic gases and tailing ponds dump waste from the refining plants.i know theres more to alberta than oilsands.i like alberta and have been there many times,and would go back tommorow if i could,but your skies and water ways always look like there suffering from a flu.we have to do whatever steps it takes to get over this flu.when oil companies leave alberta,albertans may still be left with sky flu.

  3. Finally. Now we have to convince the lunk heads to upgrade the stuff in AB or at least Canada. I know it isn’t nearly as profitable as piping it out [ for the oil companies...not us] but the optics and risks of piping condensate and oil [ twice the infrastructure need for a standard oil pipeline] from all over the US and eventually shipping it in from China and the middle east are horrendous.

    • Oil sands product will be going to Ontario and Quebec, possibly New Brunswick.

      • Seems like a good idea. Much better than trying to ship it out of a special place that’s still pretty wild, like the central coast.

        • Actually Kitimat is north coast, but the Northern Gateway pipeline is dead thanks to the environazis and BC’s incompetent politicians. However, more Alberta oil will be going by rail possibly to Prince Rupert, by rail to the Alaska pipeline for throughput at the Valdez terminal and through Vancouver Harbour from the increase of capacity on the Kinder Morgan line.

          • http://www.hellobc.com/kitimat/geography.aspx

            You’re mostly right. But if you think it is only the environmentalists and BC pols who have messed this up you’re being naive. The federal govt’s tactics and crappy incompetent PR on the part of Enbridge has played a big part in hardening opinions against the pipeline.

          • That’s a tourism site there dude.

            Douglas Channel’s entrance is at the southern end of Hecate Straight, that’s north coast, “this distinct area between the mid and north coasts” is the writers imagination, it is after all hellobc.

            The opinions are not hardening, those have been the same from the outset, the misinformation and outright lies from the leftwing politicos and environazis are misleading to say the least.

          • Harper and Enbridge did nothing to promote this project. Total arrogance and incompetance on both their part.

          • If you say so……………(roll eyes)

          • North coast then if you insist. No need for the geography lesson – i lived on the central coast for a few years a decade back.
            As for cupability. If you think labeling Fns adversaries is a good PR move, or even envros as radicals who take foreign money. Then i have to say you have an odd sense of how to win folks over.

          • I’m familiar with the coast there thanks having lived south of there on the central coast for a number of years. North coast it is. Not worth an argument. As for hardening attitudes.You couldn’t be more wrong. Convincing coastal FNs was always gong to be difficult. Labeling them adversaries and clearly taking Enbridge’s side from the outset was Just moronic. Which is pretty much Harper’s brand by now.

  4. From Bloomberg;

    “A carbon tax “is one of the ways to promote better performance of the
    industry,” Andre Goffart, president of Total’s Canadian unit, said in
    an interview in Calgary. “The principles are probably agreed upon by the
    players. The question is, where do you put the level to incentivize the
    industry to go in a more efficient way?”

    Europe’s third-largest
    oil company joins a group of competitors around the world calling for a
    price on carbon. Many favor taxes over a cap-and-trade system to
    encourage cuts. After European Union emissions credits plummeted in
    price, securitizing CO2 has lost favor among jurisdictions considering
    pollution limits, said Guy Turner, director of commodities and energy
    economics at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in London.”

    One quote from Andre Goffart, president of Total’s Canadian unit. Total SA controlled by none other than Power Corp. and the Desmerais family who have actively supported the Liberal Party of Canada for decades.

    Total was very late getting into the oil sands and also happen to be a relatively small player.

    This is a very feeble attempt to further the Liberal agenda.

    • The oil patch will be supporting the Liberals big time if Harper doesn’t get with the program.

      • That is one delusional statement…………….yikes.

        • The oil co’s see the writing on the wall. as did the forestry industry. They were facing international boycotts and made the necessary adjustments to avoid them. A group of oil ceo’s appeared in front of a house committee back in the early days of the Harper asking for the carbon problem to be settled so that they knew what to plan for. Years later, Harper has not only not done anything about it, he has waged a ridiculous campaign against pricing carbon in any way. He seems stronger on ideology than business sense. Another party may be a better choice for the oil patch to support.

          • One wonders who he is fighting the campaign against carbon taxes for, if not the oil and gas industry? The know-nothings that think O&G are opposed to carbon taxes?

    • ““A carbon tax maximizes the use of markets and minimizes complexity,” Pius Rolheiser, an Imperial Oil Ltd. (IMO) spokesman…”

      “Brian Ferguson, chief executive officer of Calgary-based oil-sands producer Cenovus, said last year that a carbon tax is “probably the most effective means of regulating and addressing the cost of carbon.”

      “For oil-sands producers, carbon pricing may be the answer to reduce risk associated with carbon regulation and access to markets, said John Stephenson, a Toronto-based fund manager. “What business hates is a lack of clarity,” Stephenson, who helps manage C$2.7 billion at First Asset Investment Management Inc.”

      How about these quotes? Got a Liberal conspiracy theory for them too?

      • Got some links to see the context of those quotes and the questions posed?

      • Were they being asked what would be preferable, a carbon tax or cap and trade?

        No option for neither?

    • Total, the giant French oil company, is controlled by Power Corp? Huh?

      • Power Corp is the largest individual shareholder (4.5 %) in the French
        company Total S.A., and wields further influence with Paul Desmarais,
        Jr. on Total’s board of directors. Total S.A. has invested $6 billion
        USD in Alberta’s oil sands to date, and plans to invest $20 billion USD
        more over the next two decades.

        They have a Belgian investor they work with and many proxy votes.

        • Are you suggesting Oil companies are shilling for the Liberals at the expense of their bottom line – because that would have to be a first.

          • Oil companies bottom lines are not affected by a carbon tax, only consumers pay.

            Of course the answers given in the article are not prefaced by the actual question posed.

          • More likely not having one will affect their bottom line. Hard to market a product that is considered environmentally dirty. But I’d like you to expand on your claim about the motivation of Total viz the LPC.

          • Affect their bottom line………not.

            The oil from Alberta oil sands will sell no problem.

            Look up Paul Desmarais Sr. and Power Corp and the links and support to the LPoC.

          • So you got nada, but everything’s coming up roses in Harperland.

          • The company is controlled by Paul Desmarais, Sr.. Paul Desmarais, Jr. is one of thirty members of the North American Competitiveness Council, a group whose advice directs the policies of Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP). Additionally, the company has long been a close ally of the Liberal Party of Canada,
            although former or current members of other Canadian political parties
            have also worked for Power Corp. A brief summary of the connections
            between Power Corp. and those with political power in Canada is below.

            Former Prime Minister of Canada, Paul Martin, was hired in the 1960s to work for Paul Desmarais, Sr. by Maurice Strong. Martin became President of Canada Steamship Lines,
            a subsidiary of Power Corp., and in 1981 Desmarais sold the company to
            Martin and a partner. Martin went on to make his personal fortune as an
            owner of CSL.

            Former Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chrétien sat on the board of Power Corp. subsidiary Consolidated Bathurst in the late 1980s before he became the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. Chrétien’s daughter France is married to the son of Paul Desmarais, Sr., André. Also Chrétien’s chief of staff Eddie Goldenberg worked in the past for Power Corp.

            Former Prime Minister of Canada, the late Pierre Trudeau,
            served in the mid-1990s on Power Corp.’s international advisory board.
            Trudeau’s assistant Ted Johnson also worked for Power Corp. During the
            Trudeau administration Michael Pitfield
            held a variety of positions in government but during his time in the
            private sector he was at one time a Vice-Chairman of Power Corp. and is
            currently listed as a Director Emeritus.

            Former Prime Minister of Canada Brian Mulroney
            also has a relationship with Power Corporation. Mulroney’s friend Ian
            MacDonald described Desmarais as “Mulroney’s mentor in the business
            world,” and it is believed that Mulroney has done legal work for Power
            Corp. since the end of his term as Prime Minister. Additionally, former
            Mulroney Minister of Transport Don Mazankowski is currently Power Corp.’s company director.

            Former Premiers of Ontario William Davis and John Robarts of the Progressive Conservatives have both sat on Power Corp.’s national advisory board. John Rae, the brother of former NDP Premier Bob Rae, currently serves as Power Corp.’s Executive Vice President.

            Former Premier of Quebec Premier Daniel Johnson, Jr. worked for Power Corp. from 1973 to 1981 and in the last three years of this term was a Vice-President in the company.

            Former member of the Liberal Party of Canada Maurice Strong became President of Power Corp. by his mid-thirties. He had a role in the creation of the Canadian International Development Agency and in 1976 he was appointed to run Petro-Canada. He later worked for the United Nations.

            Power Corp.’s international advisory board has featured individuals such as former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, former oil minister of Saudi Arabia Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, former head of the US Federal Reserve Board Paul Volcker, and the previously mentioned former Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Trudeau.

            The former Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec’s President and CEO Henri-Paul Rousseau became the vice-chairman of the company and a member of the board of directors of Power Corporation.

          • Still nothing. Stop digging.

          • You must be related to Emily

          • A U.S. investigation into the UN Oil-for-Food scandal determined that
            Power Corporation had extensive connections to French bank BNP Paribas, which was selected in 1996 to broker the Oil-for-Food program. Power owned a stake in Paribas through its subsidiary Pargesa Holding SA. Pargesa Holding SA’s investment portfolio also includes Imerys, a mining entity majority owned by the Desmarais family and Belgian tycoon Albert Frère.
            The Desmarais family and Frère are also the largest shareholders in oil company Total SA, France’s largest oil company. Total was the subject of a formal investigation by the United Nations in February 2010 for bribery charges concerning oil deliveries from Iraq during the rule of dictator Saddam Hussein.

            Who else with Liberal Party and Power Corp connections was implicated in the Oil For Food Scandal?

            None other than Maurice Strong.

          • No Liberal connections to Total SA………………..:-)

        • So, perhaps 10% influence on a giant oil company’s board is enough to make it argue against its economic interests?

          Sorry–this is patently absurd.

          • You obviously don’t know of the Belgian or the proxy voters.

            If clues were shoes you’d be barefoot.

          • Where do you get your tin foil? You must buy in bulk…

  5. wiki ~ A simple definition of rent seeking is spending resources in order to gain by increasing one’s share of existing wealth, instead of trying to create wealth. The net effect of rent-seeking is to reduce total social wealth, because resources are spent and no new wealth is created. It is important to distinguish rent-seeking from profit-seeking. Profit-seeking is the creation of wealth, while rent-seeking is the use of social institutions such as the power of government to redistribute wealth among different groups without creating new wealth

  6. Canada will not have a carbon tax or cap and trade anytime in the future, nor will the USA, the Keystone XL pipeline will be approved, greenies heads will explode.

  7. January 2013;

    A bipartisan group of more than half the 100-member U.S. Senate has
    urged President Barack Obama to approve the northern leg of the Keystone
    XL pipeline project, which would connect Canadian oil sands to
    refineries in Texas.“This is about something that Americans want. It’s
    about energy for this country,” Senator John Hoeven, a North Dakota
    Republican, told reporters on Wednesday.

    Mr. Hoeven and Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, wrote a letter
    to Mr. Obama, signed by 51 other senators, urging him to approve the
    TransCanada Corp. project, which has been pending for nearly four and a
    half years.

    The letter came a day after Nebraska Governor Dave
    Heineman approved a revised route for the pipeline to travel through the
    state while avoiding ecologically sensitive areas.

    “Nebraska has
    now addressed the outstanding concerns you raised when you denied the
    permit, and we therefore urge to finish expeditiously the review process
    and approve the pipeline” the letter said.

  8. For a carbon tax to happen in Canada it would have to happen in the USA first and that will not happen, it would never make it through Congress, probably not the Senate either.

  9. Owens joins bipartisan call for president to act on Keystone XL pipeline

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013 – 11:20 am

    Congressman Bill Owens is calling on the president to move forward with a revised plan for the Keystone XL pipeline.

    Owens reiterated his support Monday for the Keystone XL pipeline by
    signing a bipartisan letter to President Barack Obama on the issue.

    The letter asks Obama to move swiftly on a revised plan for routing the proposed pipeline through the State of Nebraska.

    The project would transport Canadian oil to refineries in the Midwest and Southern United States.

    The new plan is intended to address environmental concerns surrounding the project, while allowing the project to proceed.

    In their letter to President Obama, members of congress noted the
    potential for new investment and job creation as a result of the
    project, as well as the potential to reduce America’s dependence on
    foreign oil.

    “We respectfully request that your administration act expeditiously
    and approve the project as soon as possible,” the letter reads. “We
    need to make our country energy independent.”

    As co-chairman of the Northern Border Caucus, Owens has long supported a fair and expeditious review of the project.

    “The Keystone Pipeline stands to increase economic activity between
    the United States and Canada while supporting America’s energy
    independence,” said Owens. “After four years of waiting, it’s time for
    Washington to make a decision and hopefully proceed with the pipeline.”

    A bipartisan coalition of nearly 150 Members of Congress signed the
    letter to President Obama. The letter is available by clicking here http://owens.house.gov/uploadedfiles/keystoneletter.pdf.

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