The Alberta government may well leave taxpayers to clean up the oil and gas industry’s mess.
‘I think this issue is too big and too scary for both government and industry to face.’
The main thing Jason Kenney and Rachel Notley have in common, other than their affinity for pipelines, is their joint fear of the possible $260-billion cleanup bill for the province’s aging oil and gas fields.
Neither Kenney, the United Conservative Party leader, nor NDP Premier Notley have said much on the hustings about this astounding liability, which includes tens of thousands of inactive wells, abandoned gas plants, oil sands tailing ponds and 400,000 kilometres of pipelines.
The mountainous size of the cleanup costs dwarfs the puny pile of security deposits the province has collected from industry to pay for the cleanup — $1.5 billion.
Regan Boychuk, a 41-year-old Calgary roofer, independent researcher and a driving member of the Alberta Liabilities Disclosure Project, understands why Kenney and Notley don’t want to talk about such embarrassing math.
“I think this issue is too big and too scary for both government and industry to face. It is a can of worms,” said Boychuk in a Tyee interview.
But if not corrected, the scale of the problem could affect the province’s credit rating, bankrupt hundreds of smaller oil and gas firms and leave Canadian taxpayers with the mother of all cleanup bills. MORE
On the cusp of a major fracking boom, B.C.’s Oil and Gas Commission is already struggling to keep up with the ballooning cost of cleaning up inactive and, at times, contaminated sites that have grown by 48 per cent in the last two years
Fracking operations near Farmington. B.C. Photo: Garth Lenz / The Narwhal
Nearly 400 kilometres north of Fort St. John is a large, leaking fracking pond owned by Ranch Energy Corporation, a Calgary-based company that went into receivership last year leaving 700 gas wells in B.C. and a sea of debt.
The storage pond is filled with 113,000 cubic metres of sludge and water that may be contaminating soil and groundwater through a documented leak in its outer lining, according to the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission.
Twenty months ago, the commission issued an order to Predator Oil BC Ltd., the company that sold Ranch the wells, to empty the pond and test for contamination.
But nothing has been done. Ranch’s receiver, Ernst & Young, says it’s an expense the estate cannot afford.
The story of Ranch — pieced together by The Narwhal from a review of receivership documents and B.C. Oil and Gas Commission documents — highlights some of the mounting financial and environmental problems created by B.C.’s fracking industry. MORE
Light from a train is seen as it rounds a bend near the Sacramento River as flames from the Delta Fire fill a valley in Delta, California on September 6, 2018. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP)
Pacific Gas and Electric said it plans to file for bankruptcy protection amid potentially vast liabilities resulting from the deadly California wildfires. The announcement Monday, in the form of a filing with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, follows the resignation of the utility’s chief executive, Geisha Williams, a day earlier. John Simon, the company’s general counsel since 2017, will serve as interim chief executive.
Officials are investigating whether the utility’s equipment sparked the Camp Fire in November, a blaze that killed 86 people and destroyed nearly 14,000 homes.
In addition, Cal Fire investigators have ruled that PG&E equipment was involved in at least 18 of the more than 170 fires that swept Northern California in October 2017. The agency found that the company may have broken state law in 11 of those incidents and referred the cases for possible prosecution. MORE
A windmill is seen on the White Pines Wind Project in Prince Edward County, Ontario, on July 19, 2018. Photo by Cole Burston
After he was sworn in, Ontario Premier Doug Ford made a series of announcements about green energy. All of them were negative. One of the few projects he called out by name was the White Pines Wind Project in Milford, Ont. – a project that was cancelled by legislation adopted on July 25.
Ford and his majority Progressive Conservative government had campaigned on the elimination of “wasteful” energy contracts, and ceremoniously moved to cancel 758 of them within weeks of taking office, arguing that this would translate into savings for consumers on their energy bills.
The swiftly-fulfilled promise garnered mixed reviews; critics lambasting the lack of proposed alternatives, supporters celebrating the long-fought victory. Overall, the decision could translate into the loss of thousands of clean energy jobs across the province at a time when countries are moving away from fossil fuels and investing trillions of dollars in new clean and green growth. MORE
What the new Doug Ford Government means for the Energy Sector – A detailed analysis
With a new majority provincial government now fully in control of Ontario’s policy landscape, McMillan LLP and McMillan Policy Vantage Group are pleased to provide their insight into what lies ahead for clients and investors in the Energy sector. MORE
Doug Ford’s energy shake-up could wind up costing Ontario
Opinion: Whether the government’s actions around the province’s electricity system will offer consumers any significant benefits remains an open question at best
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces his plan to keep the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station in operation until 2024, in this June 2018 photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
The company heading up the White Pines project has already signalled its intention to seek $100 million in damages. MORE