David Dougherty has prepared an analysis, with added critical comments, of a recent Internet article written by Randy Pompetti. The original statements by Randy Pompetti are in quotes; David’s comments follow in point format. [editor]
“Randy Pompetti is the author of the note below. He lives in Hanna, Alberta, and not sure if he is an oilfield worker, but he seems to have the knowledge and facts. He actually posted it on Facebook in October, 2015 and looks like it’s been shared over 17,000 times by other Facebook users, and also on many other blogs and websites.”
- Randy Pompetti is purportedly a Contract Operator at Barak Contracting Ltd., which is unfortunately impossible to trace on the internet. Anyway, it looks as though he likely works in the oil industry.
“I am pretty sure his facts are credible or reasonable, and he probably has the political side nailed, when he speaks about the Americans wanting to keep the oil landlocked is an absolute truth. They want to control Canada’s resources and have influential lobbying machinery in all facets of our politics, especially in British Columbia.”
- It is entirely within the bounds of possibility that the Americans are attempting to control Canadian oil and gas assets. After all, we allowed them and those of many other nationalities to invest heavily in all sorts of Canadian industries, especially resource extraction ventures. What else would reasonable investors do but manipulate their markets for maximum profit? These guys can sell ‘our’ oil and its derivatives get the same price from American consumers for the products as they do for products made from imported oil, but there is less transportation cost, so more profit. Most of that investment was, of course, approved and endorsed by wrong-wing (I mean right-wing, of course, but they are so rarely right about anything that the usual moniker just doesn’t fit) politicians such as Brian Mulroney.
“My fellow Canadians, you are buying into a lie regarding our energy industry and the global environment. We are a mere 35 million people, just 0.5% of this planet’s 7.3 billion population. Our country covers roughly 10 million square kilometres of which probably 90% is realistically uninhabitable (explaining why over 80% of our population live in urban centres within 200 kms of the U.S. border). ”
- It is true that Canada’s population is about 35 M, the world’s 7.3 B, and our proportion ~0.5%.
- While it is true that Canada has about 10 M km2, and I have argued that much of our land is currently rock, ice, water, and bog, most estimates that only about 10% of our land is habitable appear to be based on climate. All the native cultures of the North would be pretty surprised at our saying their lands are not habitable.
- It is true that about 80% of Canadians live in urban areas. Perhaps more of us will if and when we develop a new green economy. About 75% of us live within 160 km of the border.
- In any case, whether most of us do, or can now only, live within a few hundred km or the US border is actually irrelevant.
“We endure temperature extremes ranging from -40C or colder to 35C or warmer. Out of necessity we need to heat our homes for 6+ months the year. We face major transportation challenges simply because of the geography of our country. Yet, through all this we are responsible for less than 0.5% of the pollution generated globally. ”
- Before 1900, we had lots of people (~5.3 M), but we used preciously little oil or gas. Sure, we burned wood and some coal, and the society of the day was not without pollution problems.
- Home heating varies a great deal in Canada depending on location and house design. There are houses on Vancouver Island that hardly heat at all. There are houses in the Arctic that heat year-round. One thing that is concerning: there are now houses in the Arctic (e.g., Baker Lake and Ranking Inlet) that have air conditioning! Another is that climate variability is increasing, so we no longer really know what temperatures to expect.
- Actually, Canada emits far more than its share of GHGs. We’re in the top ten!
- We’re number 15 on a per capita basis, behind lots of oil exporting nations, such as Qatar and Kuwait.
“We ARE NOT the problem! If every one of us here in Canada chose to sacrifice ourselves for the betterment of mother earth and self-terminated, the positive effect on the global environment would be…..drum roll please……zero!”
- Actually, the data show we really are a big part of the problem. If we were to include the GHGs that are now apportioned to countries that buy our oil, gas, and coal, the picture would be even worse.
- However, whether Canada alone was to stop using fossil fuels is not the point. The point is that all nations need to participate in the shift away from carbon-intensive fuels. If Canada refuses to jump on this bandwagon, why would anyone else? That’s exactly what eventually sunk the Kyoto Accord.
- If Canada were to stop extracting, using, and exporting fossil fuels, there is no reason to believe we would be sacrificing ourselves. In fact, leading thinkers (including investors) are quickly moving to shift into a new economic model that really doesn’t require fossil fuels. If we continue to try resting on our tarry laurels, the real risk is that we’ll be left behind, which would be an economic disaster.
“The global effect would actually be negative because we are one of the most ethical, environmentally responsible producers of energy in the world! If we were out of the picture the U.S. would be mining our oil sands before our corpses had even started giving off methane gas. They would then proceed to build the biggest pipeline imaginable, from Fort Mac to Texas.”
- Well, this is just ridiculous. First, the USA is already mining our tar sands–let’s get real, sand containing bitumen is much more like a tarry goo than an oily one.
- We’re also madly exporting what’s left of our conventional crude oil.
- Second, there is already about 160,000 m3 per day being shipped into the USA. One m3 is about 6.3 US barrels, so we’re exporting about 1 M barrels per day!
- Thirdly, the US doesn’t want a great deal more of the poor quality stuff we’re shipping. They have much better quality materials available from the Middle East and other sources, and certainly want to support their own extraction industry. At the same time, they are doing a lot more to shift away from coal and oil than we are.
“Don’t believe me? Let’s look at some facts. The U.S. has no problem with pipelines; U.S. pipelines that is. They actually have over 3.2 ‘million’ kilometres of liquid petroleum and natural gas pipelines already. There’s also the 1300 kilometre, 122cm (48 inch) line running from Prudhoe Bay to the Valdez Marine Terminal (yes, big bad oil tankers). You are aware, aren’t you, of the Trans Alaskan pipeline running directly through the pristine heart of that beautiful state?”
- What, what? Should we think Canada has not been in love with pipelines? We have ~825,000 km, 425,000 km in Alberta alone.
- It also seems the USA likely has much less than claimed (circa 2.2 M km probably).
- Since tankers have been raised, it’s now fair for all to recall the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill and the fact that its effects are still being felt decades later.
- Not only should we recall the Exxon Valdez, but the 2006 Prudhoe Bay spill and the 2009 PB spill and the 2014 PB spill and a host of other incidents, including explosions
- Given all sorts of problems with oil and gas, there are many Americans who have big problems with liquid fuels (coal too).
“As of 2010 16 ‘BILLION’ Barrels of oil had been transported through this U.S. pipeline and terminal. The U.S. also has no problem drilling for oil in the Atlantic ocean, the Pacific ocean, the Arctic ocean or the Gulf of Mexico yet they have the audacity to condemn Canada for mining our oil sands in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan?”
- It is entirely unclear who ‘they’ are, these people who are condemning Canada. It is likely anyone condemning Canada over the tarsands is also condemning the American oil and gas industry over all sorts of issues it has had, from spills to air pollution and climate change.
- It remains to be seen what Alaska will do in coming decades (boom and bust, anyone?) as the pipeline from the North Slope looks set to be shut down in the not-too-distant-future, too, not even because of falling demand for oil but because the oilfields are nearing exhaustion.
“The opposition to our Canadian energy development is a well-organized attempt to keep our Canadian oil land locked so that we are forced to sell to the U.S. and to the U.S. only and then at a very discounted price. The U.S. is attempting and succeeding in preventing us from marketing our own natural resources globally to the highest bidder. U.S. foundations (HP, Tides – THE ROCKEFELLERS – et al) are funding the opposition to our oil sands and contrary to popular belief it has absolutely nothing to do with threats to the environment.”
- So who owns the oil and gas facilities in Canada? Here are the majors: Majors (+100,000 boe/d)
- ARC Resources Ltd. (TSX:ARX)
- Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (TSX:CNQ) ~60% foreign
- Canadian Oil Sands Limited (TSX:COS) ~55% foreign
- Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE) ~55% foreign
- Crescent Point Energy Corp (TSX:CPG)
- Encana Corporation (TSX:ECA)
- Enerplus Corporation (TSX:ERF)
- Husky Energy Inc. (TSX:HSE) ~90% foreign
- Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX:IMO) ~90% foreign
- Pacific Exploration and Production Co.(TSX:PRE)
- Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU) ~55% foreign
- Tourmaline Oil Corp. (TSX:TOU)
- With some digging and extrapolation, one could get estimates on the other firms. It seems Crescent Point is likely about 40% foreign
- Some 71% of the ownership of oil sands production was foreign, while the foreign-based companies controlled 24.2% of the sector’s production.
- Canada is already moving diluted bitumen and refined products through the Kinder Morgan (American, by the way) Transmountain Pipeline through Vancouver. Current capacity: 48,000 m³/d (300,000 bpd).
- If Canada tries to sell refined products, those will get standard market-set prices. If we try to sell dilbit, we’re going to get much less. The Chinese and not any dumber than the Americans: they won’t pay more than the Americans do for dilbit. The stuff is just lousy quality and requires a lot of investment to make anything useful out of it.
- There actually is not much of a record of how much investment is going into opposition to the tarsands, but surely it is coming from only a few ENGOs.
“If they really were that concerned about our planet why are they not protesting the real polluters, the real threats to our environment? China, the world’s worst polluter (besides having a tragic human rights record)? No protests.”
- Protesters are, of course, concerned about all kinds of things that threaten society–indeed, let’s be clear, most are much less worried about the environment than they are about the very survival of humanity. It is ridiculous to say that there have not been protests against the Chinese environmental record, and such protests have not lessened in any way. There have been domestic protests in Canada despite the very real threat of intense government sanctions and punishments. It’s understandable that there wouldn’t have been many protests in other countries about China’s record, but there surely has been discussion of it, especially in diplomatic circles.
- However, China is really going at the shift to a new economy, and is doing more than Canada.
“Why isn’t David Suzuki over in Beijing chastising Jinping? What about the other major polluters? Russia? The U.S. themselves? India? I can understand a Canadian that is benefiting financially, who is receiving grants to oppose or protest or hamstring our own resource development. What I can’t understand is the rest of my fellow Canadians buying into their bovine excrement.”
- Dr. Suzuki has been outspoken about emissions from many nations. So have other environmental leaders.
- Raising the possibility that people are benefitting financially from protesting about fossil fuel use is a red herring. If it is OK to benefit from working in the industry, surely it is fair to benefit from working in another industry. Fair is fair. In any case, it is not at all clear that protesters are getting rich off their activity–most are actually spending their own money getting to protests, and they don’t get to write off such expenses the way corporations do when they pay for their employees to attend conferences and meetings. [Now there’s another issue that really bothers me. Corporations should be taxed on their gross income just as individuals are. Governments should not effectively be subsidizing their spending. Odd that few neocons see that, but then most benefit from the corporate lunch.]
- Likely the author is actually saying that climate researchers (who are not protesters) are getting rich by fabricating evidence and scaremongering. Typical baseless accusation. Now we have a whole other argument to dispel, but that’ll have to be in another rant. That would, of course, need to address the fact that most such accusations come from people who are paid to make them–witness the unending investments of Exxon Mobil and the Koch Brothers, among many others.
“In the oil sands, our very own Canadian oil sands, we have the 3rd largest proven crude oil reserve in the world, behind only Saudi Arabia and Venezuela – again, both with ‘stellar’ human and women’s rights track records. EVERY person in Canada, and EVERY province and territory in Canada has benefited tremendously, whether directly, indirectly or both from our oil sands development.”
- The human rights records of nations are irrelevant. Full stop.
- By this argument, every Canadian has benefitted from everything that has ever happened in this country and every country. So what?
- Perhaps the author is trying to say that, if we stop using fossil fuels and changing the climate (and poisoning people), we’ll all just sit on our hands and starve. Ridiculous!
“Over the next 25 years the oil sands has the potential to generate over $1.5 TRILLION in federal and provincial taxes and royalties. Of course Quebec will need their share – but, oh yeah, they don’t want a pipeline either! There is the potential for well over 500,000 direct and indirect jobs.”
- It is pretty clear that many more jobs can be created in the new green FF-free economy. What we really need to consider is whether there will be more than $1.5 T in damage from tarsand development. We have yet to restore more than 100 hectares of mined out land. It is quite likely all those foreign companies are going to walk away from their facilities, leaving us to clean up the mess. Here’s an example of what can go wrong: the Giant Mine in Yellowknife produced $2.7 B worth of ore, but it is going to cost $1 B to clean it up (if you believe current estimates, and I suspect it will turn out to be more likely $3 B and I once bid on doing the job).
“So here’s the deal my fellow Canadians. I fear our Canadian ‘goose that lays the golden egg’ is suffering the death by a thousand cuts. Alas, it may already be too late. Maybe it’s already on life support. If you share the views of the Gore’s, the Suzuki’s, and the Obama’s of the world, that our Canadian energy producers and those that work in this industry are bad and evil and a scourge on the Earth, a blight on Canada’s reputation in the global community then fine, stick your fork into the goose as well but please do not whine and complain 10 or 15 years down the road when the wait time for your hip replacement is 3-5 years because our health care system is underfunded and there’s a severe shortage of doctors and nurses in the system. Meanwhile, the Suzukis and their ilk will be flying down to the Mayo clinic in a big bad fossil fuel burning jet for their medical needs.”
- The author is great with mixed metaphors, but they are meaningless.
- Canadians are surely sufficiently intelligent and resourceful to develop a new economy and do their part to prevent run-away climate change that could destroy civilization.
- If the healthcare system is underfunded, or under-resourced, it will be the result of neoconservative policies, nothing more.
- It will come as a surprise to the author, no doubt, that Dr. Suzuki has largely given up flying. Mostly, he gives speeches at conferences via videolink. In any case, why would the author whine (his term–see below) about people paying to use fossil fuels when doing so is what he is advocating? That is nuts!
“Don’t whine and complain when your grandchild’s class has a 50:1 student to teacher ratio because our education system is underfunded and the government coffers are bare.”
- Again, large class size will be the result of neocon policies.
- By the author’s logic, provinces closest to the oil industry ought to have the lowest class sizes. Well, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Prince Edward Island are the only provinces who don’t have any caps on class sizes. Only Quebec, Newfoundland, and New Brunswick have caps in place after grade three. So, getting rich off oil has not sparked governments to limit class size, and if you look at the caps that are in place in these and other provinces, they are not correlated with oil riches.
“Don’t whine and complain when your city’s infrastructure is decaying and falling apart and there’s no money to repair it. Instead of whining and complaining make sure you look into the mirror and realize you believed a lie that has cost this incredible country and our future generations an amazing opportunity to prosper and succeed globally.”
- Again, neocons will be driving such problems.
- Doesn’t it seem strange that we’ve nearly reached the end of the author’s thesis, such as it is, and there has not been one word about the enormous cost that faces Canada all the rest of the world if we don’t stop climate change? Clearly, the author hopes Ft. McMurray can burn down and be rebuilt repeatedly through aid from the Red Cross, federal government largesse, and the generosity of those dreaded Quebecois.
“If the arguments here ring true for you as well, then please consider circulating this to others.”
- Unfortunately, many, especially in Alberta and Saskatchewan, perhaps northeastern BC too, will likely think this story reasonable. Apparently, many already have done so, hence the sharing on Facebook.
- I’m much more tempted to circulate information such as that contained at this link