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The Canadian Oil Boom: Click to see full size version!

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The Keystone XL Pipeline: A Crash Course Infographic

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Energy board says it has strengthened pipeline safety rules

The National Energy Board says it has strengthened regulations for federally regulated oil and natural gas pipelines to make them safer for people and the environment.

The amended regulations that came into effect earlier this month require companies to do more to address safety, pipeline integrity, security, environmental protection and emergency management.

Board chairman Gaetan Caron said the new rules can help companies better manage risk and safe pipeline operations.

“These regulations are part of a commitment to continual improvement in terms of safety and outcomes,” Caron said in a statement.

“The board believes that with proper management, pipeline incidents are preventable. It is on that critical foundation that we have developed a proactive approach that targets the prevention of incidents before they occur.”

Some of the changes are meant to make senior pipeline company executives more accountable by, for example, filing annual reports on pipeline projects that can be audited by the board.

Other changes include requiring companies to appoint “accountable officers” who are responsible for ensuring safety and environmental goals ripple down from top executives to frontline employees. Their names are to be sent to the board.

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Keystone criticism misplaced, TransCanada CEO insists

Keystone XL is “just a pipeline” that will have little impact on the pace of development in the oil sands, says the head of TransCanada Corp., hitting back at opponents who argue that stopping the project is crucial to fighting climate change.

Chief executive officer Russ Girling said the $5.4-billion pipeline has unfairly been cast as the embodiment of the ills of the energy business. But he suggested that oil industry economics, including crude prices and the cost of production, will be more important than one proposed pipeline in determining how quickly Alberta increases its output from the oil sands.

The Keystone project “has become this symbol of everything that’s wrong with the fossil fuel energy industry. And it’s not,” he said.

“It transports products from A to B, and it does that safely. It has no material impact on refining markets or supply.”

Mr. Girling’s comments, made in an exclusive interview with The Globe and Mail in advance of TransCanada’s annual meeting this week, illustrate one of the main arguments likely to be employed by the company and its supporters as the Keystone debate heads toward its conclusion. In the U.S., the project is the subject of public hearings, congressional debate and arguments from the energy industry, unions, landowners and climate activists. Alberta Premier Alison Redford has said rejection of the project could damage the two countries’ strong economic relationship.

The U.S. State Department concluded last month the pipeline will not, on its own, have a major impact on development in the oil sands and, therefore, on global emissions of greenhouse gases. Mr. Girling’s remarks are intended to support that view, and to counter the opinions of environmentalists who say approval of Keystone XL would lift the remaining obstacles to unhindered oil sands growth.

Read the full article from globe and Mail

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Energy companies release environmental database for earth day

The oilsands marked Earth Day with a public environmental database about the industry.

The joint oilsands monitoring data portal, sponsored by the federal and Alberta government, was officially unveiled Tuesday in an attempt to earn public support for the oilsands.

Many industry groups and energy companies, such as Shell and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, already have elaborate tablet apps and online programs touting Alberta’s oilsands industry. However, the government argues this data is more comprehensive than any other public database about the energy industry’s impacts on the environment.

“As the world celebrates Earth Day and showcases commitments to protecting the environment, Canada is contributing and doing its part,” said federal environment minister Peter Kent. “We are delivering on our promise to ensure that scientific data from the monitoring activity is transparent and accessible.”

Kent’s provincial counterpart Diana McQueen echoed his statements in a news release.

“By openly reporting on our data and our progress, we are ensuring the rest of the world recognizes our commitment to responsible and sustainable resource development,” she said.

Under the “latest data” section, the database concludes “the levels of contaminants in water and in air are not a cause for concern.”

“Good data is better than bad data, but the tarsands monitoring system is still not independent and governments still aren’t using it to make better decisions,” said Greenpeace campaigner Mike Hudema. “There is no indication of when, or even if, this will become a truly independent monitoring regime as recommended by the federal government’s scientific panel.”

Read the full article by Fort McMurray Today

 

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Labour Shortage Facing Alberta Oils Sands dicussed by Alberta Energy Minister Hughes

As oil sands production increases, getting the right people to spend months at a time in remote locations north of Edmonton is an ongoing challenge for companies. Minister Hughes pointed out this is not a new phenomenon, “Alberta has a long history of needing people and capital to come from outside to develop its resources,” he said. [Read more...]

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Alberta Energy Minister Hughes Discusses Options if Keystone XL not Approved

An industry source told AOL Energy last November the two greatest challenges companies operating in Alberta’s oil sands region face are access to markets and skilled labor. Alberta Energy Minister Ken Hughes elaborated on these and other issues during a recent phone call.

In a scenario where the Keystone XL Pipeline is not approved by the Obama Administration, Minister Hughes said companies have lots of different options and that rail has become “compelling.” [Read more...]

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Alison Redford “I’m proud to say Alberta applauds and shares the President’s strong desire to address climate change”

I’m proud to say Alberta applauds and shares the President’s strong desire to address climate change and we’re already taking action.

On behalf of my province — a close friend, ally and northern neighbor to the American people — I can say confidently that Alberta and the United States share one of the most trusted and important relationships in the world. The United States is already Alberta’s biggest customer for our oil. The Keystone XL pipeline will further [Read more...]

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