Derrick Digest for July 13, 2017: Cause for optimism: The new chapter in Canada's oilsands

Canadian control will accelerate upstream innovation

The Derrick Digest is a weekly collection of curated content, based on events from across the oil and gas industry, that caught our eye at Pennine Petroleum Corporation.

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JULY 13, 2017


MEG Energy Corp. is not only surviving in Canada’s oilsands—it’s thriving.

As noted in a recent Financial Post article, MEG Energy is the lone next-generation pure-play Canadian oilsands developer experiencing growth in an industry that has seen international players turn their backs.

MEG Energy CEO Bill McCaffrey tells the Financial Post’s Claudia Cattaneo that the new chapter in Canada’s oilsands—with Canadian control, low-cost operations and lower emissions—is reason for optimism.

“We are becoming more efficient. We are becoming a greener barrel than a lot of other choices around the world, and there are a lot of studies that suggest that the world really wants Canadian oil and Canadian energy,” says McCaffrey.

What’s more, says McCaffrey, Canadian control of the oilsands will speed up upstream innovation.

“The Canadian companies that have the majority of development in the oilsands have . . . created the expertise and realize the importance of technology, of absolute focus on cost reduction, and of cost control,” says McCaffrey.

On the other hand, he says, “international companies . . . have opportunities in other places and they haven’t necessarily spent the same amount of time developing the skill that the Canadian companies have. It’s not a negative. It’s just a statement of where you spend your time and where your focus is.”


Trans Mountain twinning project ‘worth fighting for’

Alberta premier Rachel Notley warned her NDP counterparts in British Columbia this week that opposing Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion project would harm “working people.”

“Some say that to fight climate change, we have to leave our energy industry—and those working people who live in it—behind,” Notley told her audience at the Stampede Investment Forum in Calgary.

“To them, I say any climate plan that ignores our energy needs and the working people associated with it is not a plan.”

Notley also said that climate change plans and pipeline expansion are not mutually exclusive, and said leadership from industry and government can “bring together” those concepts.

“That is why the twinning of this pipeline is so important, not only to our economy but also to our ability to generate the jobs and wealth we need to chart a better, greener, healthier future,” said Notley. “I believe that is worth fighting for, and I am going to keep on fighting for it.”


Resource projects key to Aboriginal prosperity

Canada’s Aboriginal peoples and Canada’s resource sector.

Are we speaking for them—or are we speaking with them?

That’s the question posed by Ken Coates of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute in a recent Globe and Mail opinion article.

Whether it’s energy transmission, forestry or mining, sweeping claims by Canadian politicians reveal the public’s negligible recognition of the efforts that Aboriginal communities have made to earn their slice of the pie in Canada’s natural resource sector, writes Coates.

“The lessons for Canadian politicians should be clear by now,” he writes. “Not all Indigenous peoples oppose development. Many, if not most, realize their hopes for economic well-being and independence from the government of Canada rest on carefully planned and appropriately structured resource projects.”


Oilpatch can exhale: NEB will remain in Calgary

As most of us are aware, Justin Trudeau forgot Alberta in his now-infamous Canada 150 speech on Canada Day.

But Alberta remains on the Canadian federal government’s radar in matters of energy regulation, says Calgary Herald columnist Deborah Yedlin.

Back in May, a panel of experts recommended—among other things—that the 58-year-old National Energy Board be relocated to Ottawa from Calgary.

“Well, it’s time for the oilpatch to exhale,” writes Yedlin.

“By recommending the NEB remain in Calgary, the Trudeau government has recognized the importance of the regulatory body’s close proximity to the sector it oversees,” she adds. “And, by rejecting the creation of new regulatory bodies, the government has acknowledged the NEB is—despite what some want to believe—a robust regulatory body.”