Winter PEG 2019

The Watch

The Watch




KEYSTONE PIPELINE REPAIRS APPROVED, PRODUCT FLOWS AGAIN To the relief of many, the Keystone Pipeline is back in operation after an October breach in North Dakota spilled an estimated 1.4 million litres of crude onshore. After the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration approved the line’s repair and a restart plan, TC Energy Corporation did what it needed to do to resume operations. It’s now operating the line at reduced pressure before ramping up to full volume. The spill triggered a massive cleanup. Some wetlands, but no sources of human drinking water, were affected. Time will tell how it affects TC Energy’s efforts to push forward the beleaguered Keystone XL project. When Warren Buffett gets involved, you have to believe a project has its financial fundamentals in order. Among the world’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, Nebraska’s Mr. Buffett is no stranger to investing in Alberta energy. His firm Berkshire Hathaway Energy holds a stake in Suncor and owns AltaLink, the regulated transmission company providing electricity to most of the province. And in 2020, Mr. Buffett’s financial muscle will be behind some construction in another energy area: wind. The outcome will be a 117.6-megawatt farm in southern Alberta, called Rattlesnake Ridge Wind Project. The $200-million farm will be privately funded by BHE Canada, a subsidiary of the more recognizable Berkshire Hathaway Energy. Located on a 13,000-acre site southwest of Medicine Hat, Rattlesnake Ridge will include 28 wind turbines and should produce enough electricity in a year to power nearly 80,000 homes. BHE Canada says a Canadian company has signed a long-term agreement to purchase most of the project’s output. Rattlesnake Ridge is being developed by a U.K. firm called Renewable Energy Systems, which completed a 149.4-megawatt, 83-turbine wind farm in central Alberta in 2012. It’s also secured permits to build the Forty Mile Wind Farm in southern Alberta, which has yet to secure long-term, power-purchase agreements. NEBRASKA’S MOST FAMOUS INVESTOR PUTS MONEY IN THE WIND

More and more, drivers of electric vehicles in southern Alberta are able to travel without breaking into a sweat as their batteries start to discharge. That’s thanks to APEGA permit holder ATCO, the owner and operator of a growing string of recharging stations. At last count, the number of ATCO stations up and running had reached 10, including recent additions in Pincher Creek, Nanton, and Longview. Powered by renewable energy, the stations are part of the Peak to Prairies Project, a two-year initiative to create a 21-station network in the region. Some the initiative's fast-charging stations move your bar from 20 per cent to 80 per cent in 30 minutes. Others take 4-6 hours to hit 80 per cent, so visiting some local sites or sleeping over somewhere nearby might be a good idea. When completed, the network will allow drivers to choose electric between Crowsnest Pass and Medicine Hat, Pincher Creek and Calgary, and Calgary and Canmore, via 1,100 kilometres of highway. In partnership with the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the $2-million collaboration was developed and funded by: • the Alberta SouthWest Regional Alliance

- photo courtesy Encana

A NOTICEABLE PRESENCE Wonderland, a sculpture by Jaume Plensa, provides an ar- tistic accent to the architectural magnificence of The Bow behind it. Encana’s showpiece Calgary building is home— for now—to the company’s headquarters.

ENCANA SAYS HEADQUARTERS MOVE WILL NOT AFFECT CANADIAN WORKFORCE It’s the kind of news Alberta and its weary oil and gas industry don’t like to hear, but it might not be as bad as it sounds. Encana has announced that it will move its headquarters from Calgary to Denver in 2020. From its stateside base, the APEGA permit holder will be known as Ovintiv Inc. The company says the move is about gaining passive investor capital in the U.S. and will have no impact on the Canadian workforce. Encana came into being in 2002, when Alberta Energy Company Ltd. merged with PanCanadian Energy Corp. The merger created what was then called EnCana (with a capital C), a company branded to emphasize its Canadian origins. The announcement is a blow to morale in an industry and province that have been battered with bad news. Economic factors that include low commodity prices have resulted in job losses that will reach upwards of 12,000 in 2019, say predictions released by Petroleum Labour Market Information.

• the SouthGrow Regional Initiative • the cities of Calgary, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat • Medicine Hat College

What about the year ahead? An annual activity forecast released by the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors in the fall predicts nearly 14,000 direct and indirect job losses in the oilfield in 2020, most of which will be in Alberta, naturally. The National Bank Financial Group, however, predicts oil and gas spending will increase by seven per cent in 2020 and production will grow by six per cent. The numbers are relatively flat, but perhaps they’re a proverbial glimmer of hope. Back to Encana for a final word, this one from CIBC. The banking giant’s president and CEO called the move a setback but not a crisis. Victor Dodig said Canadians need to become less polarized and focus on positive technological advancements in oil and gas. “Let’s get that message out. There are many good things happening,” the Calgary Herald quoted him saying.

38 | PEG WINTER 2019

WINTER 2019 PEG | 39

Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker