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Alberta

International Energy Agency boss prefers oil and gas from Canada

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This article is submitted by Canadian Energy Centre Ltd.

Producers building a competitive advantage with ESG performance

The head of the International Energy Agency says Canada is a preferred global oil and gas supplier and should take steps to ensure it remains so in the decades to come.  

IEA executive director Fatih Birol is a big advocate for net zero targets, but he knows that even as the world transforms its energy systems, oil and gas will be around for a long time.  

He’d prefer the supply comes from “good partners” like Canada, Birol said on Jan. 13 during the virtual launch of the IEA’s Canada 2022 report.  

The Paris-based IEA is a world-recognized authority on energy supply, demand and policy.  

“Canada has been a cornerstone of global energy markets, a reliable partner, for years,” Birol said.   

“We will still need oil and gas for years to come… I prefer that oil is produced by countries… like Canada who want to reduce the emissions of oil and gas.” 

World oil consumption has returned near pre-pandemic levels, and natural gas demand surpassed levels pre-COVID last year, according to IEA data. Consumption of both is expected to continue rising even as more renewable energy sources come online.  

In Europe, energy customers are feeling the pain of dealing with an unreliable supplier.  

Birol said Europe’s natural gas crisis is in part because it depends on Russia for nearly half its natural gas imports. As a result, Russia’s policies “have a huge impact on the European energy mix.”  

Right now, Russia has unused capacity to send the equivalent of a full LNG vessel every day to help reduce natural gas prices in Europe, amid a standoff between Moscow and the West over Ukraine, Birol told reporters last week. 

“[The] world needs reliable partners,” he said. Canada’s first LNG exports are expected in 2025 and forecast to rise steadily thereafter, the IEA noted in its report.  

Canada is the world’s fourth-largest producer of oil and natural gas and home to the third-largest oil reserves, which “creates employment for Canadians and secure and reliable oil and gas for both domestic and global markets,” the IEA said.  

Remaining competitive in global oil and gas markets – and ensuring the sector remains a major driver of the Canadian economy beyond 2050 – requires emissions reductions, the IEA said, praising work that has been done already. 

Canada is not only stable and reliable, but its LNG supply will also be cleaner than competitors, the IEA said.  

The LNG Canada project that is under construction in B.C. is expected to have the lowest carbon emissions intensity of any large LNG facility currently operating in the world, at 60 per cent lower than the global average. 

Other proposed LNG projects in Canada plan to use clean, renewable hydroelectricity to power operations, resulting in emissions profiles up to 90 per cent lower than global competitors, the IEA said.  

Analysts praised the oil and gas industry’s “strong track record” of reducing emissions intensity, in the oil sands by 32 per cent since 1990 and by 13 per cent for natural gas production since 2010. A further reduction of up to 27 per cent is expected in the oil sands by 2030. 

The success is in part because of large investments in clean technology and environmental protection, the IEA said. 

Oil and gas companies in Canada together spend an average of $1 billion per year on energy cleantech, in addition to billions in environmental protection.  

In 2018, oil and gas companies also invested $3.6 billion in environmental protection initiatives – by far the largest environmental protection spend of any industry in the country, the IEA said.  

“Canadian oil and natural gas producers are leveraging their improving environmental, social and governance performance and Canada’s stringent environmental regulations to build a global competitive advantage” as interest in cleaner fuels and environmental sustainability grows. 

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Alberta

Reducing funding for RCMP on the table for Saskatchewan amid firearm buyback debate

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REGINA — Saskatchewan says it would consider reducing its funding for the RCMP if the force was to help the federal government with its proposed firearms buyback program.

Public Safety Minister Christine Tell says all options are on the table, signalling the province will not help Ottawa collect guns it has banned.

“We as a province fund the RCMP to a tune of 70 per cent, so it could even get more interesting,” Tell said Thursday.

The Saskatchewan Party government said it is pushing back to protect law-abiding firearms owners from what it views as federal intrusion on its provincial autonomy.

Under Ottawa’s proposed firearms buyback program, it would be mandatory for people to have their assault-style firearms rendered inoperable or have them discarded. That could also include centrefire semi-automatic rifles or shotguns designed to accept a detachable magazine that can hold more than five cartridges.

In response, Saskatchewan has introduced its own firearms act to forbid municipalities and police services from receiving federal money to help confiscate firearms.

The proposed law says a municipality, police service or board would have to get written approval from the province’s public safety minister before agreeing to support the federal buyback program.

It also states that Saskatchewan’s chief firearms officer would enforce which federal agent can or cannot confiscate firearms in the province.

“These legal firearm owners are not the ones committing the crimes,” Tell said.

The legislation was tabled Thursday, months after Tell wrote a letter to Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore, the head of Saskatchewan’s RCMP. It stated that the province would not support the Mounties using provincially funded resources to help confiscate firearms.

Alberta, Manitoba and New Brunswick have sent similar letters to their RCMP forces. They have joined Saskatchewan in asking Ottawa to not use up “scarce RCMP and municipal resources” for its buyback program.

In October, Blackmore said Mounties are service providers, not decision-makers, and any decisions over the buyback program are between the federal and provincial governments.

“As the service provider, we would be the individuals that get our information from them,” Blackmore told The Canadian Press.

That includes if additional resources would be needed by RCMP once the buyback program rolls out.

“It would depend on the level of expectation, and what that looks like, and what the involvement is if there are additional resources,” Blackmore said.

The specific role of the RCMP and the details surrounding the buyback program have not been determined.

On Friday, the Saskatchewan RCMP said it will continue to prioritize front-line services and the safety of communities is its highest priority.

The Saskatchewan Firearms Act also calls for helping firearm owners get fair market value for guns collected through the buyback program and would require all seized firearms to go through forensic and ballistic testing.

The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, which advocates for hunters and the protection of the province’s hunting heritage, praised the proposed act, saying it would mitigate the “draconian” federal legislation.

There are approximately 115,000 licensed firearms owners in Saskatchewan, 75,000 of whom may be penalized under the federal government’s policy. That’s about 10 per cent of Saskatchewan’s adult population, the province said.

Saskatchewan’s NDP Opposition has stood united with the government to denounce the program.

“It does not strike the right balance for Saskatchewan,” justice critic Nicole Sarauer said last week in the legislature.

“These amendments are overbroad and capture rifles that have legitimate uses for both hunters and producers in Saskatchewan.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2022.

Mickey Djuric, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Premier Smith goes on the attack against NDP opposition to the Alberta Sovereignty Act

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It appears Premier Danielle Smith has had enough of playing defence. In the days since introducing the Alberta Sovereignty Act in the Alberta Legislature this week, Smith has found herself explaining and re-explaining how the Act will survive scrutiny and serve the province well in ongoing battles over issues of contention with Ottawa.  Peppered by the media and by the Official Opposition NDP inside and outside the legislature, Smith and her team decided to turn the tables.
The media and the official opposition claim the Sovereignty Act allows laws to be crafted by cabinet members “behind closed doors” after the legislature has declared a federal overreach into provincial jurisdiction.
However that appears to be a confusing opposition tactic since the Sovereignty Act does not require the passing of new laws.  Rather, the Province will simply provide reasons for declining to enforce federal laws which (i) intrudes into provincial legislation jurisdiction, (ii) violates the rights and freedoms of Albertans under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or (iii) causes or is anticipated to cause harm to Albertans.
Thursday, Premier Smith took the opportunity during Ministerial Statements to lash out at the opposition leader Rachel Notley for siding with Ottawa instead of Alberta in the struggle to defend provincial rights.

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