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Canadian Energy Centre

Business leaders blast Ottawa’s ‘unnecessary and unacceptable’ oil and gas emissions cap

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From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Deborah Jaremko

The federal government is proceeding with its plans to cap emissions from the oil and gas industry in a move business leaders say will ultimately hurt Indigenous communities and everyday Canadians.  

The Business Council of Canada called the cap part of a “full-on charge against the oil and gas sector.”

The government announced on December 7 that it will implement measures to cap oil and gas emissions in 2030 at 35 to 38 percent below 2019 levels. A similar cap has not been announced for any other industry. 

“It all seems punitive and short-sighted,” wrote Business Council of Canada vice-president Michael Gullo and Theo Argitis, managing director of Compass Rose Group.  

A cap on production 

They don’t put much stock into the government’s claims that the cap is not intended to limit Canada’s oil and gas production. 

“That’s semantics. To work, a cap would ultimately need to be severe enough to curtail production if needed, and that would have significant economic consequences,” Gullo and Argitis said, warning of a “direct and immediate” loss of income for Canada’s economy. 

“There would be significant indirect costs as well, incurred by every household and business across the nation because Canada relies on income generated by oil and gas companies—totaling $270 billion in 2022 alone—to support social programs like health care, education, and infrastructure,” they wrote. 

Already on the path to net zero 

On the world’s current trajectory, oil and gas will still account for 46 per cent of world energy needs in 2050, down only moderately from 51 per cent in 2022, according to the International Energy Agency.  

Industry leaders argue that Canada’s oil and gas producers are already on the path to net zero emissions without the need for the cap. 

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada’s latest report to the United Nations, emissions from so-called “conventional” (non-oil sands) production declined to 26 megatonnes in 2021, from 34 megatonnes in 2019.     

Producers in Alberta have already reduced total methane emissions by 45 per cent compared to 2014, hitting the target three years ahead of schedule 

Oil sands emissions did not increase last year despite production growth, and total emissions are expected to start going down before 2025, according to S&P Global.  

“Imposing an emissions cap on Canada’s oil and gas producers, who are already achieving significant emissions reductions as shown in the federal government’s own data, is unnecessary and unacceptable,” the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada said in a statement 

A cap on Indigenous opportunity 

The Indigenous Resource Network (IRN) – which advocates for Indigenous participation in resource projects – said the cap would be “devastating” for Indigenous communities.  

“A pathway to self-determination is being achieved through the ownership of oil and gas projects and involvement in the sector,” said IRN executive director John Desjarlais.  

“This would result in a cap on Indigenous opportunity in the oil and gas sector.” 

Desjarlais said the IRN is seeking an exemption from the cap for Indigenous communities who are engaged in oil and gas development.  

He said the proposed cap directly contradicts the government’s promises on reconciliation and its support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.  

Counterapproach to the United States 

The approach of capping emissions runs counter to the incentive-based approach being pursued in the United States, the Canadian Association of Energy Contractors (CAOEC) said in a statement. 

“There, the Inflation Reduction Act has attracted capital and accelerated low-carbon technology and innovation in the energy sector at the expense of Canadian businesses and workers,” the CAOEC said.

Ottawa has yet to finalize announced investment tax credits to support clean technologies like hydrogen production and carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), the Business Council of Canada noted.  

“We have engaged the federal government in good faith over the past two years and have asked them to partner with us to accelerate the deployment of carbon abatement technology. As of today, we have received no support from this government,” said CAOEC president Mark Scholz. 

“Stop working against us and start working with us.” 

Final regulations on the proposed emissions cap are expected in 2025.  

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Alberta

Indigenous-owned LNG projects in jeopardy with proposed emissions cap, leaders warn

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Indigenous leaders meet with Japan’s ambassador to Canada Kanji Yamanouchi. Photo courtesy Energy for a Secure Future

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Cody Ciona

‘It’s like we’re finally at the table and we’re having to fight to keep our seat at the table’

A proposed cap on oil and gas emissions will threaten opportunities for Indigenous communities to bring cleaner alternatives to coal to international markets, Indigenous leaders warned during a recent webinar. 

Karen Ogen, CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, fears Indigenous-led projects like Cedar LNG and Ksi Lisims LNG are threatened by the cap, which is essentially a cap on production. 

“If we’re going to help China and India get off of coal and help reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, it makes common sense for us to be selling our LNG to Asia and to other countries. To put a cap on, it would just stop us from doing that,” Ogen said. 

“It’s like we’re finally at the table and we’re having to fight to keep our seat at the table.” 

Indigenous communities across Canada have increasingly become involved in oil and gas projects to secure economic prosperity and reduce on-reserve poverty. 

Since 2022, more than 75 First Nations and Metis communities have entered ownership agreements across western Canada. Among those are key projects like the Coastal GasLink pipeline and the joint investment of 23 communities to obtain a 12 per cent ownership stake in several oil sands pipelines. 

The planned federal emissions cap will stall progress toward economic reconciliation, Ogen said. 

“Our leaders did not accept this and fought hard to have rights and titles recognized,” she said. 

“These rights were won through persistence and determination. It’s been a long journey, but we are finally at the table with more control over our destiny.” 

Chris Sankey, CEO of Blackfish Enterprises and a former elected councillor for the Lax Kw’alaams Band in B.C., said the proposed emissions cap could stifle Indigenous communities pushing for poverty reduction. 

“We’re working hard to try to get our people out of poverty. All [the emissions cap is] doing is pushing them further into debt and further into poverty,” he said. 

“When oil and gas is doing well, our people do well.” 

Together, the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, LNG Canada project and Coastal GasLink pipeline have spent more than $10 billion in contracts with Indigenous and local businesses

Indigenous employment in the oil and gas industry has also increased by more than 20 per cent since 2014. 

For Stephen Buffalo, CEO of the Indian Resource Council, an emissions cap feels like a step in the wrong direction after years of action to become true economic partners is finally making headway. 

“Being a participant in the natural resource sector and making true partnerships, has been beneficial for First Nations,” he said. 

“So, when you see a government trying to attack this industry in that regard, it is very disheartening.” 

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Canadian Energy Centre

Nine major insights from Shell’s latest global LNG outlook

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A worker at Shell’s Hazira LNG import terminal, about 250 kilometers from Mumbai, India. Photo courtesy Shell

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Deborah Jaremko

Led by growing demand in China and the need for energy security, LNG is playing an increasingly important role in global gas supply

Global energy giant Shell has released its latest outlook for world liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply and demand through 2040. Here are nine key insights about what to expect in the future.

1. LNG is playing an increasingly important role in global gas supply. Total world LNG demand is set to continue growing beyond 2040.

2. Global LNG trade reached 404 million tonnes in 2023, an increase of 7 million tonnes compared to 2022. Over the last five years, LNG demand grew by 45 million tonnes, or 13 per cent.

3. In 2040, the world is expected to consume up to 685 million tonnes of LNG, an increase of nearly 70 per cent compared to 2023.

4. The United States became the world’s largest LNG exporter in 2023, shipping 86 million tonnes, followed by Australia, Qatar, Russia and Malaysia.

5. By 2030, North America will supply about 30 per cent of global LNG demand, led by natural gas from major basins including the Appalachia (Marcellus) play in the eastern United States and the Montney play in Alberta and British Columbia. But the global gas market is increasingly exposed to U.S. risks like the Biden administration’s pause on new LNG approvals.

6. China is likely to dominate LNG demand growth as the country’s industries seek to cut carbon emissions by switching from coal to gas. With China’s coal-based steel sector accounting for more emissions than the total emissions of the UK, Germany and Turkey combined, gas has an essential role to play in tackling one of the world’s biggest sources of carbon emissions and local air pollution. China’s gas demand is expected to rise by more than 50 per cent by 2040.

7. Natural gas, delivered as LNG, provides flexibility to balance intermittent solar and wind power generation. In countries with high levels of renewables in their power generation mix, gas provides short-term flexibility and long-term security of supply. Gas provides grid stability, enabling a higher share of renewables in power grids.

8. LNG continues to play a vital role in European energy security, with European nations importing more than 120 million tonnes in 2023, assisted by new regasification facilities. Europe will continue to rely on LNG to support its energy mix through 2030, even as total European natural gas demand is expected to decline by about 25 per cent.

9. South Asia and Southeast Asia are emerging as major LNG import regions, with Vietnam, and the Philippines starting to import LNG to backfill domestic gas declines. From less than 10 million tonnes in 2020, LNG imports to Thailand, Bangladesh, Vietnam and the Philippines are expected to rise to about 40 million tonnes in 2030 and more than 60 million tonnes in 2040. 

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