The Drilldown: Canada doubles back after Biden revokes Keystone XL permit

The Lead  

President Joe Biden began his term yesterday signing a slew of executive orders including a recommitment to the Paris climate accords and an official revocation of the Keystone XL pipeline permit. The New York Times has more.

The Keystone XL pipeline, which is owned by Calgarian company TC Energy Corp., is already under construction in Canada. The pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels per day of Alberta oil sands crude to Nebraska, according to CTV News.

In the lead-up to Biden’s inauguration, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterated Canada’s commitment to pressing U.S. officials to reconsider cancelling the project. Canada has now doubled back in its efforts, according to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office last night.

“While we welcome the President’s commitment to fight climate change, we are disappointed but acknowledge the President’s decision to fulfil his election campaign promise on Keystone XL.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau expressed understanding and respect towards the decision, while Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to Washington, told CTV News that Ottawa was “very disappointed.”

In a statement published yesterday, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole called the cancellation “devastating.” Meanwhile, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in a statement to the press that he was disappointed by Trudeau’s reaction. Kenney also added that trade sanctions should be implemented if Washington doesn’t review its decision.


A recent study conducted by McGill University found annual methane emissions from abandoned oil and gas (AOG) wells have been underestimated by as much as 150 per cent in Canada, and by 20 per cent in the U.S.. Methane gas is a more significant contributor to global warming than carbon dioxide.

The findings suggest that methane gas emissions from AOG wells are currently the 10th and 11th largest sources of human sourced methane emission in the U.S. and Canada, respectively.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she won’t abandon the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a German-Russian gas pipeline project that is currently facing U.S. sanctions. However, she expressed her interest in discussing the issue further with Biden’s new administration.

Washington has argued that the project would harm European energy security. In response, the Kremlin has accused the U.S. government of instead promoting sales of its own liquefied natural gas.

Norway announced it will award oil and gas exploration permits in frontier regions of the Arctic in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, environmental groups say Norway’s interest in Arctic oil and gas exploration contradicts the country’s international commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Reuters has more.

On Thursday morning at 9:25 a.m., West Texas Intermediate was trading at US$52.99 and Brent Crude was going for US$55.76.

In Canada  

New Brunswick Green Party Leader David Coon is calling on Natural Resources Minister Mike Holland to resign. The calls for Holland to step down is because of a letter the minister wrote to the Energy and Utilities Board, where he encouraged the board to “quickly” review an application from Irving Oil, a provincial oil company.

Irving Oil is demanding “an increase in the wholesale prices of fuel oil, gasoline and diesel produced at its Saint John refinery.” Coon claims the letter signifies an effort to influence the work of the board and thus qualifies as an abuse of power. The Liberals, who form the opposition in the province, also accused Holland of interference.

However, Premier Blaine Higgs announced yesterday he will not ask Holland to resign, stating the minister was acting on behalf of the government to support a review. The Canadian Press has the story.

The executive committee of Regina’s city council voted Wednesday in favour of a motion that would ban fossil fuel producers and sellers from advertising or having sponsorship deals with the city. The motion will move to the full city council for another vote.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe warned Regina city council there could be financial consequences if it restricts energy companies from sponsoring or advertising with the city, according to the Globe and Mail.

Councillor Daniel LeBlanc expressed concern about the amount of carbon used in the city. “I think it is similarly or more inconsistent for us to have buildings and parks named after fossil fuel corporations than it is to be named after a pack of smokes.”

Canadian Crude Index was trading at US$40.05 and Western Canadian Select was going for US$39.41 this morning at 9:26 a.m.




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