Sunday, July 29, 2012

Today I agree with a Repulican, sort of...

It just seems that there are few places in Canada where you can get away from the oil issue.  Enbridge is still having leaks, and now they have permission to reverse the flow of oil in Ontario, the Chinese trying to buy Nexen (a Canadian oil company) which has upset the Americans and the ongoing soap opera in B.C. over the proposed pipeline to the Pacific.

Christy Clark, the Premier of B.C. was in a war of words with Premier Alison Redford of Alberta.  Basically it boiled down to Christy wanting money to allow the oil through B.C. and wanting a piece of the royalties paid to the Alberta government by the oil companies.  Alison suggested she do something else.

No money=No pipeline.

This issue was further escalated by the appearance of the Harper government’s pet bulldog John Baird who announced that no province has the power to hold Canada’s economy hostage. 

Now it seems to have calmed down.  Christy is no longer calling for a share of the royalties but only a tax on oil that goes through B.C.  Alison has no issue with this as it doesn’t affect her province’s royalties…

But the aboriginal people in B.C. are not amused.  They thought they were on the same team over the oil pipeline, the team with the environmentalists on it.  I guess not.  Money talks and, well you know the rest.  Link to the story.

Next we touch on the Nexen-China deal.

This is a strange puppy as there are Republicans and Democrats and a Bear Cat who are uneasy about this.

Republican Congressman Randy Forbes is upset that the deal would give China access to the U.S. energy market and he doesn’t support that.  He blames President Obama for the delays with the Keystone XL pipeline which was to pass through environmentally sensitive areas. Link to the story.

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer wants the deal blocked because it would give China access to the U.S. energy market and he doesn’t want that until China opens up their energy markets to U.S. firms.  Link to the story.

The Bear Cat is confused as to why our right wing media types are all whiney and moany about Dr. Bethune and the Chinese Communists but really haven’t said much about the Chinese buying Nexen at all.  The Chinese state owned company CNOOC is trying to buy Nexen, and it baffles me as to why these media types scream bloody murder about the Canadian government being involved in the oil fields but seem as happy as clams about a foreign government being there and Communists to boot.

Just to add to the confusion, the U.S. securities regulator (the SEC) is investigation insider trading in the CNOOC-Nexen deal.  It seems a number of investors in Asia bought Nexen shares just before the CNOOC announcement that they were going to buy Nexen, which sent Nexen stocks up 52%. Link to the story.

Next on the list, our friends at Enbridge got permission to reverse the flow of an oil pipeline in Ontario which links Sarnia to Hamilton.  Enbridge did have to make some big promises before it was allowed but some are arguing that it won’t be enough.

I’m no expert when it comes to oil and pipelines and trying to find out about these things on the internet is almost impossible.  There are seas of information, but the information is usually so biased that it is difficult to reach a real conclusion.  However it is worth noting that this pipeline (line 9) is part of the same system of lines that the oil spill in Kalamazoo Michigan came from.  Link to the story.

And finally, Enbridge is dealing with yet another spill.  This one is in Wisconsin.  Enbridge did manage to get the line shut down quickly but 1000 barrels of oil still managed to escape.  The scary part is this was a fairly new line built in 1998.  That is likely newer than the one in Ontario they are reversing. Link to the story.

Enbridge is none to popular in the Midwest right now.

Look, I’m not naïve, I realize that if there is oil to be got in Alberta that someone is going to get it.  What I’m after is why aren’t Albertans pushing to process the oil in Alberta?  That would make sense to me.

After the bitumen is processed into oil and gas, it can be sent all over the place in pipelines with greatly reduced risk.  That makes sense.

Instead we have The Harper Party trying to appease the oil companies by reducing environmental rules and making life easier for them while at the same time sitting on their hands about a Canadian oil company with holdings in the Gulf of Mexico being bought by a Chinese state owned company which if nothing else will annoy our largest trading partner to the south.

The onus should be on the oil companies and the pipelines to act responsibly.  We know that the oil will flow, it should be the responsibility of the Federal and Provincial governments to ensure that the oil companies do it properly and with the least harm to the environment and to the peoples in the regions affected.

But that would be a bit much to ask of the Harper crew, wouldn’t it?

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