Oil & Gas

Posted on August 30, 2016

Sunset on Vancouver Island's west coast - Photo by Paxson Woelber via FlickrIt was a beautiful day in Sarita Bay. The Christmas season had just passed and a winter high-pressure weather pattern gave ten days of sunshine and daily cold outflow winds blowing from the north. The front had started to shift and now the wind was blowing down Alberni Inlet and on out to the mouth of Barkley Sound.

Posted on March 22, 2016

Mar 5Shannon and I took the noon bus to Port Hardy, then spent 22 hours on the ferry to Prince Rupert, stopping at Bella Bella, and Klemtu/Kitasoo Xai Xais (Haw Haws) at 1 am and 5 am. Many people spread sleeping bags on the thickly carpeted floor. We arrived at 4 pm, and stayed at the Pioneer Hostel in Prince Rupert.

Posted on November 05, 2014

Last year on July 4, North Dakota oil and gas billionaire, Harold Hamm just couldn’t contain his patriotic enthusiasm. In an op-ed commentary published by Forbes, Hamm wrote, “America has a long history of achieving the impossible.  We defeated the British. We landed on the moon.  We invented the Internet. And now we can add horizontal drilling to the list of American innovations that have changed the world forever.”

Posted on March 11, 2014

Community opposition to fracking was spurred by an application submitted by the Chinese company, Northern Cross, in 2010. There is currently no fracking underway in the Yukon, but Northern Cross has been conducting 3D seismic testing. The Council of Yukon First Nations passed a resolution in July 2013 declaring traditional territories “frack-free.” A Standing Committee of the Yukon Legislative Assembly is accepting public comments about fracking, and will report on its findings and recommendations on a policy approach to hydraulic fracturing in the Yukon during the 2014 spring sitting.

Posted on March 11, 2014

Hydraulic fracturing – commonly called fracking – may well become the political issue that polarizes Nova Scotians this year.
The practice has already generated huge controversy elsewhere in Canada, the US and Europe, and now it is raising political concerns both on mainland Nova Scotia and on Cape Breton Island, where industrial contamination and costly remediation are fresh in everyone’s memory.

Posted on February 13, 2014

The first thorough comparison of evidence for natural gas system leaks confirms that organizations including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have underestimated U.S. methane emissions generally, as well as those from the natural gas industry specifically.

Posted on January 23, 2014

Neil Young's support of the Athabaskan Chipewyan's fundraising efforts towards their tarsand court case gained a truckload of press attention last week.  Every national and daily paper reaped the benefits of a hot topic and it ignited a national conversation about energy resources in Canada. I’m grateful for that.

Not just to Neil though. The press seemed to miss that the leaders of the debate are the Athabaskan Chipewyan people and countless other First Nations that are launching court cases to protect our land and drinking water for ALL of us.
Neil was just lending a helping hand.

Posted on January 22, 2014

by Curtis Tate, Bellingham Herald, McClatchy Washington Bureau, January 20, 2014

WASHINGTON — More crude oil was spilled in U.S. rail incidents last year than was spilled in the nearly four decades since the federal government began collecting data on such spills, an analysis of the data shows.

Posted on January 18, 2014

The National Energy Board (NEB) has approved seven LNG export applications for BC, totalling 14.6 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d).

  • Meeting these approved exports would require increasing BC’s gas production to nearly 50 per cent more than all of Canada currently produces - within less than a decade.
  • These exports would require more and more gas wells and more and more fracking, up to 50,000 wells over the next 27 years, using up to 10 million gallons of water per well for the fracking.
  • The NEB's job is to protect Canada's energy security, but in its reference case, the NEB projects that Canada will have no more than 4.5 bcf/d of export capacity by 2035 – yet it has approved LNG exports of 14.6 bcf/d starting in 2020.
Posted on January 02, 2014

Piles of dusty petroleum waste called "petcoke"It looks like Armageddon but it’s “just a little bit of Alberta.”

Posted on October 30, 2013

Hupacasath Update
With the help of fundraising efforts across Canada, the Hupacasath First Nation will launch an appeal after their first court challenge to the Canada-China investment treaty known as FIPA was dismissed in August.

Those opposed to the treaty are wary of the powers it could give to Chinese business and the secrecy of private arbitration hearings. Since treaty making is a royal prerogative and parliamentary debate is not required, the Hupacasath and other critics are calling it undemocratic.

Posted on June 03, 2013

by Karen Wristen

The impacts unchecked climate change could have on global food security might accurately be described as apocalyptic. As detailed in the most recent assessment by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, these include dramatic increases in drought, famine, flooding and disease, as well as equally dramatic losses in biodiversity.

Posted on March 06, 2013

Enbridgeby Joyce Nelson

Enbridge public relations (PR)advisor Hill + Knowlton Strategies (H+K) has become the butt of jokes because of those wildly distorting animation maps for the Northern Gateway pipeline/tanker route and its bungled handling of Enbridge’s 2010 Kalamazoo disaster. But while TV viewers laugh at the tagline – “It’s more than a pipeline, it’s our path to the future” – H+K is ably earning its multimillion-dollar fees from Enbridge and other energy clients through its skill in government relations alone.

Government Relations
Michael Coates, Canadian CEO and Chair of H+K, is reportedly well-regarded by the Harper government, having

Posted on January 04, 2013

by Joyce Nelson

In 2012, the horror stories about fracking just kept rolling in. There are increasing reports of livestock illnesses and deaths on farms near shale oil and natural gas operations in Alberta, Colorado, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and North Dakota.  According to The Nation (Nov. 28, 2012), veterinarians have ruled out other causes of strange illnesses in which (for example) cows lose their tails, then sometimes keel over and die, after fracking is underway.

Of course, the people caring for these farm animals are worried about their own health. A 2012 study from the

Posted on October 15, 2012

Too often, filling up means adding a Toxic Tiger to the gasoline in your tank.

by Delores Broten

The war at the gas pump rages un••• abated, with the oil and gas companies and consumers lined up in unequal battle over gasoline price hikes. Meanwhile, the toxic assaults from benzene, Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons and other natural components of this fuel so central to current industrialized society continue to wreak havoc.

Posted on October 15, 2012

The "unconventional unidentified" oil that the global economy is counting on has not yet been discovered, and just might not exist.

by David Fleming

I have missed my vocation. I should have been a pick-pocket. I like dipping sneakily into heavy tomes full of small print, and seeing what I come up with. Very occasionally, I find something quite extraordinary.

Posted on October 14, 2012

Hard times in BC's export economy are fuelling an effort to lift the moratorium on offshore oil and gas development.

by Oonagh O'Connor, Living Oceans Society

The exploration and development of offshore oil and gas have been prohibited on the west coast of Canada for almost 30 years because of the threat they pose to our environment and coastal economy. Now downturns in BC's resource export economy have some people promoting offshore oil and gas.

Posted on October 13, 2012

by G. Leona Green, Hillspring Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility, Dawson Creek BC

The Pine River, born in the Rocky Mountains in the Pine Pass, meanders for many kilometres through still and peaceful valleys, deep canyons and stands of ancient timber. It finally spills into the "Mighty Peace" at Taylor Flats. The Pine is a fast flowing, gravel bottom river with many backwaters and muskegs. A few farms and ranches scattered along her way and the town of Chetwynd depend on her for life-giving waters.

Posted on October 09, 2012

The Northeast of BC is a large area of mountains, rolling hills and wooded valleys, dotted with farm and ranch land. There are many large rivers and streams as well as crystal clear lakes. It is home to a multitude of species of wildlife. Unfortunately, there are also untapped reserves of oil and natural gas.

For the last few years exploration for this wealth has been in full gear, to the extent that drilling companies are like a lot of crazies in the gold strike eras of years long past. It appears they will stop at nothing to drill a well anywhere they have the smallest evidence of

Posted on October 08, 2012

Myth #1: Coastal BC communities will gain thousands of long-term jobs if offshore oil development proceeds.

Fact: Research reveals that many of the jobs created from the oil industry are short term and employment is often granted to workers outside of the development area. On Canada's east coast, Hibernia did little to help the economies of rural communities. The construction of Terra Nova has employed more foreigners than Canadians and the Sable Island gas project produced many short-term jobs but few long-term jobs. Our commitments under international trade laws, such as NAFTA, prohibit us from guaranteeing local employment.

Posted on September 30, 2012

A Liquefied Natural Gas terminal on Texada Island in the middle of scenic Georgia Strait is one of those bizarre ideas that shouldn’t float, but, given the peculiar throes of the world of fossil fuels and the absence of strategic energy planning in BC these days, one never knows.

Residents of Texada Island, 84% opposed to the idea, are taking no chances and are trying to squash the proposal before it gets to the formal application stage,

Posted on August 28, 2012

After two years of pressure from the provincial government, the federal government has agreed to consider lifting its moratorium on offshore oil and gas in British Columbia. The federal moratorium has been in place since 1972. It prohibited tanker traffic from traveling on the inside

Posted on August 23, 2012

With dull predictability, the federal Royal Society Expert Panel on the science of whether or not to lift the moratorium on offshore oil and gas development on BC’s west coast reported in February that there wasn’t enough knowledge to assess the risks, but that shouldn’t stop development. Here are some problems with that report.

by Stuart Hertzog © 2004

1) In reaching its conclusions, the Panel used the same illogic as Dr. David Strong used in the provincial Science Review, that while many knowledge gaps exist they can only be filled by lifting the moratoria, as only then will industry pay for

Posted on August 21, 2012

by Mark Butler, Ecology Action Centre, Halifax

In 2004, there were several large spills from offshore platforms off the coast of Atlantic Canada, all of which are still under investigation. You may be surprised to learn that, as far as the Ecology Action Centre can determine, no oil company operating off this coast has been charged for any environmental infraction in the last 15 years.

Posted on August 17, 2012

Federal government decision threatens Canada’s marine life.

Environmental groups from coast to coast condemned the federal government in mid-November for eliminating regulations it had recently put in place to protect Canada’s marine life. 

Federal Environment Minister Stéphane Dion has announced that the first exploratory drilling in an offshore area will no longer require a comprehensive study under the

Posted on August 11, 2012

by Arthur Caldicott

Americans are addicted to oil. George W Bush said it himself.

Actually, the entire industrialized world is addicted to oil. And those countries that aren’t yet fully wired on

Posted on July 13, 2012

The process of refinement of petroleum.

by Arthur Caldicott

You know those coin sorters – a set of stacked trays punched with holes. Different sized holes for differ­ent coins. You toss your jar of coins in the top tray, shake them, and eve­rything falls through except twoonies, the biggest coin. All the remaining coins fall through the holes in the next tray, except loonies, then quarters, nickels, dimes, pennies? Oops, pen­nies, dimes.

Posted on July 10, 2012

A host of oil and gas companies based in Calgary and Toronto have been increasing their holdings throughout Latin America, taking advantage of the same lax legal standards Canadian mining companies enjoy.

Posted on June 21, 2012

by Dawn Paley 

Originally published in Edmonton’s Vue Weekly, www.vueweekly.com 

When Minister of International Trade Stockwell Day signed the Canada- Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in Peru on November 21, it was a happy day for Canada’s oil and gas sector, but the deal was promoted instead as a landmark for human rights and democracy in Colombia. 

“Deepening both economic and political engagement between our countries is the best way Canadians can support the citizens of Colombia in their efforts to create a safer and more prosperous democracy,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the signing ceremony.

Posted on November 07, 2011

Sacrificing BC's Energy and Environment for Profit

by David Hughes

Download a pdf of this article or download a Word version of this article

Natural gas has been hyped of late as a way to reduce carbon emissions and reliance on oil and coal in

Posted on March 08, 2011

by Joyce Nelson

It’s only a dozen years ago that "slick-water fracks" were introduced. This form of fracking uses huge amounts of water mixed with sand and dozens of toxic chemicals like benzene, all of which is injected under extreme pressure to shatter the underground rock reservoir and release gas trapped in the rock pores. Contamination of fresh water, and potential

Posted on December 16, 2009

by Clara Broten

Some History

In the 1990s, concern about ground level ozone and carbon monoxide from vehicles was increasing, along with the rising levels of air pollution in large cities. Additives were found to oxygenate gasoline to make it burn better and reduce both the smog forming pollutants (e.g. nitrous oxide) and the toxics (e.g. benzene) in car exhaust. The US Clean Air Act of 1990 required the use of oxygenated gasoline, called reformulated gasoline, in areas with air pollution problems.

One of the additives was methyl tertiary-butyl ether,

Posted on February 02, 2009

by David Simms

Grandfather used to sneak off to his camp in the woods where he'd brew a few gal­lons of "firewater" for special occasions. But, Grand­father would have doubled up in laughter if someone had suggested that, one day, cars, trucks and his own farm trac­tor might run on this stuff. Almost intuitively, Grandfather knew that it took more energy to brew ethanol than the fin­ished product embodied and that, in the long-term, growing crops for fuel would be an unsustainable