Oilsands @ 50: Triumph over challenges gave rise to Alberta’s oilsands

On the morning of Sept. 30, 1967, dozens of jets and commercial aircraft landed on Fort McMurray’s airstrip — then its busiest day ever — carrying oil executives, government officials and other dignitaries for what Alberta’s then-premier declared a historic day. The bespectacled Ernest Manning, 59 at the time, stood before a crowd of some 600 […]

Oilsands will be around for another century, says Suncor CEO

Despite unwavering environmental and Indigenous opposition to oilsands expansion, Suncor Energy chief executive Steve Williams predicts the sprawling resource will still produce heavy oil 100 years from now, pointing to bite-sized projects as the next wave of growth. Williams said in an interview that Suncor is gradually “exploding the myth” that the oilsands is a […]

Small Calgary firm looking to shake up pipeline industry with new leak detection tech

In an era of divisive pipeline politics, a small Calgary firm behind a high-tech response to oil and gas spills will test its ultra-sensitive leak detection system in pipelines run by TransCanada Corp. and Enbridge Inc. Fear of spills has helped to galvanize often-effective opposition to large-scale pipeline projects. Leaks that last for weeks before […]

Global power players from Switzerland to South Africa eye Alberta’s green market

Alberta’s first auction to inject more green power into the province’s grid has entered the final phase, but electricity players from around the world are already preparing for future bids. The organization that oversees Alberta’s power market has invited proponents behind a shortlist of 29 renewable projects to submit formal bids to supply 400 megawatts […]

Calgary-based Precision Drilling donating up to $150,000 for Harvey relief

Canada’s largest driller says dozens of its employees have been hit by the destruction wrought by hurricane Harvey in Houston and the surrounding region, from displaced family members to having their own homes destroyed. Precision Drilling Corp., which employs 1,000 workers on the U.S. Gulf Coast and counts Texas as its second-largest base of operations […]

Government agency’s presence in Alberta’s power market could spook investors, report warns

An arm’s-length government agency is now a massive player in Alberta’s power market, raising new fears that its growing presence will scare away investment and potentially drive up costs for consumers. The Balancing Pool, which manages power contracts, now oversees 4,000 megawatts of electricity after several companies walked away from money-losing deals. This represents a […]

Gibson Energy’s largest shareholder proposes potential sale of company

Gibson Energy Inc.’s largest shareholder took aim at the Calgary-based oil and gas distributor, arguing it has been slow to address long-standing grievances and should consider putting itself up for sale. M&G Investment Management, a British firm with a 19.4 per cent stake in Gibson, publicly released a letter to the company’s chairman, James Estey, […]

Alberta could retaliate against B.C. over Trans Mountain, but it could get ugly, observers say

After the B.C. government stepped up its fight against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, there were new calls for the federal and Alberta governments to consider retaliation over a divisive project that has cleared major regulatory hurdles. While mechanisms are available to either override B.C. opposition or punish the province, several observers said Friday few […]

Syncrude charged in deaths of 31 great blue herons

Oilsands giant Syncrude Canada Ltd. has been charged under environmental rules after dozens of great blue herons were found dead near its mine north of Fort McMurray two years ago. In August 2015, the consortium reported finding 30 of the large shorebirds at various stages of decomposition at its Mildred Lake oilsands facility, on top […]

Trans Mountain opposition still faces uphill battle after Supreme Court decisions, analysts say

The Supreme Court of Canada warned the national energy regulator it cannot waver from its duty to consult Indigenous communities, but observers don’t believe the upbraiding will derail approvals for a massive pipeline project facing legal opposition. Canada’s highest court Wednesday released a pair of decisions on the National Energy Board’s consultations with Indigenous groups, […]

Alberta faces labour crunch in power market transformation: HR group

Amid fears of a looming labour shortage in Alberta’s electricity market, the province has commissioned a year-long study to identify workforce gaps before the grid is upended with greener sources of power. Electricity Human Resources Canada, a non-profit, will lead the study to outline Alberta’s long-term needs for labour and skills training in a power […]

India port project expects LNG supply from Canada

At a recent groundbreaking ceremony for a liquefied natural gas terminal on India’s east coast, a minister in that country’s government said Canada will be a source of the facility’s LNG. The announcement comes amid long-standing frustrations among those who want to see Canadian natural gas reach new international markets with an LNG export industry, […]

Oil and gas producers showing no signs of imminent slowdown: CIBC

Despite sagging commodity prices, oil and gas producers have not signalled intentions for major spending cuts or curtailed development, with production activity remaining on an upswing, according to a new report. Analysts at CIBC World Markets estimate in the report that energy companies have been issued licenses to drill about 4,600 wells in Western Canada […]

Small pipeline spill went undetected for three weeks

A small pipeline spill that sent crude oil into a creek and beaver ponds southwest of Edmonton, where dozens of animals were later found dead, went undetected for nearly three weeks. Journey Energy Inc. said Thursday in its latest update on cleanup efforts that two ruptures released 10 cubic metres of oil and water, the […]

Lexin agrees it breached environmental, industry rules

Alberta’s energy watchdog has closed its investigation into a junior oil and gas company — which it shut down and forced into receivership — after the natural gas producer accepted responsibility for many misdeeds in a stunning reversal. It ends a more than year-long dispute between the Alberta Energy Regulator and Lexin Resources Ltd. over […]

Paramount ‘extremely opportunistic’ in buying Apache’s Canadian assets

Apache Corp. is leaving Canada amid heightened fears that regulations in Alberta’s oilpatch are driving away investment, but the Houston company has previously signalled intentions to focus investment on its latest discovery in Texas, analysts say. Paramount Resources Ltd., which is buying Apache’s Canadian subsidiary for $459.5 million in cash, will reap the rewards with […]

Energy stocks suffering ‘buyer’s strike’ amid expectations of drilling

Oil and gas companies are suffering a “buyer’s strike” from investors amid weak commodity prices — with fears the outlook could deteriorate even further, analysts say. Weeks before energy companies begin reporting their second-quarter earnings, the industry’s outlook has worsened following considerable optimism over an expected recovery earlier this year, analysts said. Oil and gas […]

Auditor general commissioned review of Sturgeon refinery before Opposition calls

Amid fresh calls for an investigation into spiralling costs at an Alberta refinery, the province’s auditor general said it has looked into whether taxpayers are getting value for money on the Sturgeon project, now expected to cost $9.3 billion. Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark on Tuesday formally asked the auditor general to review financial risks […]

Refinery cost soars to $9.3 billion, prompting call for auditor general review

An oil refinery under construction in northern Alberta — already dubbed a multi-billion-dollar boondoggle by a former Tory minister — is now even more expensive, triggering calls for an investigation by the province’s auditor general. A recent report by investment bank AltaCorp Capital estimates the Sturgeon plant near Edmonton, Canada’s first refinery in decades, will […]

Lingering oilpatch struggles evident at Global Petroleum Show

While Canadian drillers, frackers and other oilfield service companies have started rehiring workers and restarting shelved equipment after a prolonged rout, marketing budgets in the sector appear to remain depressed. Calgary’s Global Petroleum Show, billed as Canada’s largest energy exhibition that largely showcases service companies and equipment manufacturers, will feature about 1,000 exhibitors at this […]

Painted Pony shareholders approve $276M deal, but not all are happy

A dissident shareholder failed to derail Painted Pony Energy Ltd.’s $276-million acquisition of a private natural gas producer as the Calgary company’s shareholders approved the all-share deal. Painted Pony faced pushback from major shareholder Invesco after announcing its intention to buy UGR Blair Creek Ltd., which has holdings in the resource-rich Montney play, for 41 million shares. […]

Enbridge faces renewed pressure to address First Nations concerns at shareholder meeting

Enbridge Inc. faced renewed pressure Thursday to come to grips with an uninterrupted wave of First Nations opposition to pipeline projects both inside and outside its meeting of shareholders. Inside a downtown Calgary conference centre, a group of activist shareholders launched a bid asking the company to disclose how it weighs indigenous rights and environmental risks when […]

Enbridge under pressure to disclose risks of indigenous rights in new investments

Enbridge Inc. is facing fresh calls to explain how it assesses indigenous rights and environmental risks facing new investments after the Dakota Access Pipeline ignited a firestorm south of the border. Shareholders for Canada’s largest pipeline company will vote Thursday on a resolution by the Sisters of Charity seeking disclosure on the weight Enbridge gives to indigenous and environmental concerns […]

Government agency under investigation over controversial power deals

Alberta’s electricity market watchdog is investigating a provincial agency for its handling of controversial power contracts that are losing billions of dollars. The Market Surveillance Administrator (MSA) says it’s investigating complaints lodged against Alberta’s Balancing Pool, the arm’s length agency that has been dealing with money-losing power purchase arrangements after they were dropped by industry. The head of the group conducting the […]

Lexin Resources sues Alberta energy watchdog for $200M in counterclaim

An embattled oil and gas company forced into receivership by Alberta’s energy watchdog has filed a $200-million lawsuit against the regulator, accusing it of acting “unlawfully and with intent to cause harm.” Lexin Resources Ltd. has been at loggerheads with the Alberta Energy Regulator for more than a year over the watchdog’s orders calling for spill cleanup […]

Suncor seeking approval for new oilsands operation

Suncor Energy Inc. has proposed a new oilsands operation that would stretch across 25 square kilometres northeast of Fort McMurray. The major oil and gas company says the Lewis project would produce up to 160,000 barrels of oil per day for 25 to 40 years. Suncor said it’s in the early stages of seeking approvals from the Alberta Energy […]

ConocoPhillips laying off 300 Alberta workers

ConocoPhillips is laying off 300 Alberta workers weeks after announcing the sale of oilsands and natural gas assets to Cenovus Energy Inc. in a blockbuster $17.7-billion deal. A spokesman for ConocoPhillips Canada said the company will be much smaller after the sale, which comes amid a spate of international producers selling their stakes in Alberta’s oilsands. The layoffs, which […]

Notley doubts B.C. has authority to impose carbon tax on coal exports

Premier Rachel Notley says she doubts British Columbia has the authority to implement a proposed carbon tax on coal exports through its ports, which is feared to damage Alberta’s industry. B.C. Premier Christy Clark said this week a Liberal government would tax thermal coal exports from her province to make them uncompetitive, in retaliation to new softwood […]

Lexin lobs accusations as receiver seeks company records

A director of embattled natural gas producer Lexin Resources Ltd. accused a court-appointed receiver’s lawyer of making “silly threats” when she warned of using the courts to secure the company’s records. The latest report prepared by Lexin’s receiver, Grant Thornton, outlines ongoing roadblocks in its attempts to obtain company documents needed to sell Lexin’s assets and pay creditors. […]

Calgary developer Walton International Group in creditor protection

A developer behind suburban communities in Calgary and Edmonton has landed in severe financial turmoil that it blames on two recessions, including the latest rout in Alberta. Walton International Group Inc. and 32 of its affiliates have obtained protection from their creditors and will attempt to restructure under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. The Calgary-based developer, which has $245 […]

Energy watchdog seeks appeal to Supreme Court over abandoned wells

Alberta’s energy watchdog wants to thrust a small, bankrupt energy company into the national spotlight and set a precedent for Canada’s oil and gas industry. The Alberta Energy Regulator said Friday it would ask the Supreme Court of Canada for permission to appeal a recent Alberta ruling that industry officials fear will lead to an influx of abandoned […]

Out of ‘hell,’ oilfield services sector now in ‘purgatory,’ forecasters say

Oil and gas drillers, frackers and other service companies have been through the depths of “hell” during the downturn but now appear to be in purgatory, industry forecasters said Thursday.  A new oil and gas drilling outlook suggests the sector is performing far better than previously expected as momentum continues to build after a prolonged slump that sowed widespread pessimism.  […]

Nexen asks Wood Buffalo for $19.5M tax break due to Long Lake blast

Nexen Energy ULC is seeking a $19.5-million tax break from the financially strapped Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to deal with losses at its Long Lake oilsands facility after a deadly explosion last year. The blast at the Long Lake upgrader killed two workers and caused production setbacks for the Calgary-based subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned oil […]

Lexin claims oil and gas law violates charter rights

A beleaguered oil and gas company forced into receivership by Alberta’s energy watchdog is striking back with claims the regulator invoked provincial legislation that violates charter rights. Lexin Resources Ltd. is attempting to fend off the receivership and other litigation brought by the Alberta Energy Regulator after the junior natural gas producer allegedly failed to […]

Shareholders punish TransAlta after CEO’s compensation spikes by 60 per cent

TransAlta Corp.’s shareholders issued a stinging rebuke against the Calgary company’s senior management after CEO Dawn Farrell’s total compensation spiked by more than 60 per cent to $7.4 million last year. Nearly 53 per cent of shareholders who cast ballots in a non-binding resolution this week rejected the board’s decision to reward senior executives with nearly $5 million […]

TransAlta Corp. fast-tracks transition to greener power

TransAlta Corp. is accelerating its strategy to become a source of greener power as it shuts down two coal plants and converts six others to natural gas generation ahead of schedule. The fast-tracked transition comes as the Calgary-based power company seeks a long-term contract for a proposed pumped hydro project next to its existing Brazeau dam in the […]

Gas retailers are battered by low margins, but Parkland is betting on scale

Parkland Fuel Corp.’s acquisition of Chevron Corp. gas stations solidifies the Red Deer company as Canada’s largest fuel retailer, but it also signals an ongoing shakeup in the retail market that’s been battered by low profits. The $1.5-billion deal, which includes 129 refuelling stations and a refinery in British Columbia, was quickly followed Wednesday by Brookfield Business Partners buying Loblaw […]

Investor seeking climate change disclosure from more oilsands players after Suncor’s report

After a Toronto investor’s successful campaign to have Suncor Energy disclose its plans to remain viable under stringent climate change policies, the shareholder is turning its attention to other oilsands players. NEI Investments had successfully presented a resolution at Suncor’s annual meeting last year calling on the country’s largest integrated energy company to provide regular reporting on how it […]

‘They can sue us and let the judge decide’: hostile takeover takes dramatic turn

A long-standing hostile takeover bid in Alberta’s oilfield services sector took another dramatic turn Tuesday with a threat of legal action, just as the deal appeared to be in the final throes. Total Energy Services Inc. said it intends to finalize its unfriendly shares and cash bid — worth $444 million late last month — for heavily indebted Calgary […]

Oil and gas industry presses provinces, Ottawa on pot ban in dangerous jobsites

Worried that dope-smoking workers could cause a “catastrophic event” at an oil and gas operation, an oilpatch safety group will press the federal and provincial governments to ban marijuana in hazardous workplaces after the drug is legalized. Enform, which is funded by oil and gas industry groups, had raised its proposed ban with the federal cannabis task force, […]

Painted Pony confident in shareholder approval for takeover, despite lingering concerns

Painted Pony Petroleum Ltd. says it remains confident it will secure shareholder approval for its proposed takeover of a privately held natural gas producer, despite the objections of a major shareholder. Patrick Ward, Painted Pony’s chief executive, said the criticisms levied by a dissident shareholder over the Calgary company’s proposed acquisition of UGR Blair Creek Ltd. have become […]

Alberta power companies hit with credit rating downgrades amid electricity market overhaul

Two Alberta companies caught up in the NDP government’s overhaul of the provincial electricity system were hit with credit rating downgrades Tuesday amid an uncertain outlook in the power market. The credit rating agency DBRS Ltd. issued separate downgrades for TransAlta Corp. and Capital Power Corp., which have both been affected by power market changes triggered by the province’s climate […]

Former Lexin workers raise public safety fears over sour wells near Calgary

For scores of residents across Alberta, sour gas wells have been unwelcome neighbours for decades.  The dangers of having sour wells close to heavily populated areas drove Marilynn Christensen to help wage a successful campaign in 2005 against one company’s proposal for four new sour wells on the outskirts of Calgary. Still, Christensen and her husband continue to live less […]

Energy watchdog escalates scrutiny of pipeline operators to reduce spills

Alberta’s energy watchdog is escalating its scrutiny of pipeline operators with far more reviews of their ability to detect spills and prevent them from happening. The Alberta Energy Regulator said Friday it plans to review the pipeline safety systems of roughly 20 operators each year, up from the six or so it has checked annually in the past. The regulator said […]

Alberta borrowing more than $2B over four years to cover electricity losses

The Alberta government plans to borrow more than $2 billion over four years to cover losses from power contracts, despite claims there are cheaper alternatives. Four companies that bought coal-fired electricity from generators and resold it to the grid under the deregulated market have walked away from these power purchase agreements. They claimed the deals are no longer attractive after the […]

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