The proposed sale of Nexen Inc. to China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) is being applauded by some as potentially opening the doors to Asian oil and gas markets and providing an assured source of capital for resource development. On the other hand, some regard it as yet another sale of Canadian petroleum resources to foreign interests that could have serious long-term implications for Canadian energy security.
With her demand that either Alberta or Ottawa ante up more cash before the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline can proceed through parts of British Columbia, BC Premier Christy Clark is playing a risky and ill-advised game of economic chicken. But before getting into details of that, consider Clarks five demands, some of which are reasonable, if occasionally superfluous.
Iran is making lots of noise about closing the Strait of Hormuz, the vital international waterway that carries 17 million barrels of oil every day35 percent of the crude oil transported by sea. The control of the Persian Gulf region is in Irans hands, Iranian naval chief Habibollah Sayyari ominously warns. This follows news that the Iranian parliament is mulling legislation to block tanker traffic through the strait, which comes on the heels of Sayyaris boast late last year that closing the strait would be easier than drinking a glass of water.
When petroleum companies think about where to invest money in exploration and development of oil and gas, Quebec is far down the list of preferred destinations.
It seems everyone has advice on how Western Canada should manage its resources. NDP leader Thomas Mulcair blames the oilsands for Dutch disease, the notion that high resource prices cause a hollowing out of manufacturing. Its a largely mistaken claim, given that manufacturing in Western economies has been under pressure from more competition from emerging economies for some time. Nevertheless, Mulcair would slow down the energy sector by adding a carbon tax (though hell skip the same as applied to the automotive industry).
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy deserves credit for a number of courageous policy decisions during his presidency. Bringing France back into the NATO military command structure, leading NATO into and through Libya, challenging the West to get serious about Irans opaque nuclear program, and staying the course in Afghanistan despite the wars unpopularity all come to mind. But building windmills off the Normandy coast doesnt fall into that category. This is a bad idea for at least two reasons.
If Albertans employed in the energy sector ever wonder why some people underestimate the vast contributions made by the oil and gas industry to Albertas prosperity, a new ad from the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) provides a clue.