Major investor pulls out of Quebec pipeline project, citing rail blockades

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Major investor pulls out of Quebec pipeline project, citing rail blockades

Post by loomer » 2020-03-06 09:06pm

Major investor pulls out of Quebec pipeline project, citing rail blockades


MONTREAL -- A major investor has pulled out of a major Quebec natural gas pipeline project, with the company behind the project saying it was due to "challenges in the Canadian political landscape."

GNL Quebec, the company behind the Energie Saguenay Project, confirmed the investor’s withdrawal on Thursday but declined to identify them. Several media reports have indicated the investor as Berkshire Hathaway, the investment firm helmed by Warren Buffett.

A spokesperson for GNL Quebec said they could not say how much money the investor was going to put into the project but that they expect to find a replacement. They noted there are 15 other investors who have been in the project since the beginning and a final decision on financing won’t be made until the end of 2021.

When pressed, the spokesperson said rail blockades in opposition to a natural gas pipeline through traditional Indigenous land in British Columbia played a role in the investor's decision.

Quebec Solidaire co-spokesperson Manon Masse, who has criticized the environmental impact of the project, called it "doomed to failure" in a statement.

"If the Energie Saguenay gas pipeline project was so good for the environment and so profitable, investors would step up to put their money into it," she said. "It is a risky investment and the only way this project will pay off under current conditions is with government money, our money. It's not the government's job to fund lame ducks... in the end, it's an industry that will die."

A spokesperson for Chicoutimi MP Richard Martel-Le Fjord criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's handling of the blockade, saying Quebecers "risk losing out on a $4 billion energy project that would have brought jobs and opportunities to the Saguenay region."

"Over the last month, a clear signal has been sent to businesses across Canada that the rule of law will not be upheld and that major projects cannot get built. Yves-François Blanchet’s Bloc Quebecois are equally responsible for this potential loss of opportunity, as they continue to support Justin Trudeau’s government.”

According to the Energie Saguenay website, the project was conceived in 2014 and involves the construction of a natural gas liquefaction plant at Port Saguenay, which would ultimately export 11 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year.

The project comes with an estimated price tag of $9 billion with operations scheduled to begin in 2025.

On Feb. 23 the CEO of mining firm Teck announced the company was withdrawing from an Alberta mining project. Premier Jason Kenney blamed for the withdrawal, saying it was caused by inaction on the rail blockades.
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Re: Major investor pulls out of Quebec pipeline project, citing rail blockades

Post by Tribble » 2020-03-06 09:38pm

Congrats. Was that pipeline for domestic consumption? If so, how much oil / gas will Quebec have to import from out of the country in comparison to if it was built ?
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Re: Major investor pulls out of Quebec pipeline project, citing rail blockades

Post by Jub » 2020-03-06 09:39pm

This is excellent news.

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Re: Major investor pulls out of Quebec pipeline project, citing rail blockades

Post by loomer » 2020-03-06 09:41pm

Tribble wrote:
2020-03-06 09:38pm
Congrats. Was that pipeline for domestic consumption? If so, how much oil / gas will Quebec have to import from out of the country in comparison to if it was built ?
Export focused, but I question the logic of your post. You assume that if it was for domestic, the only alternative available should be importation rather than degrowth of the energy economy. Why is that?
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Re: Major investor pulls out of Quebec pipeline project, citing rail blockades

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-03-07 02:39am

I must say that I truly admire the current protests in Canada as a model for the effectiveness of peaceful protest via obstruction and civil disobedience, and hope to see it used as inspiration/a model for protests against Trumpism in the US.
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Re: Major investor pulls out of Quebec pipeline project, citing rail blockades

Post by Tribble » 2020-03-07 02:53am

loomer wrote:
2020-03-06 09:41pm
Tribble wrote:
2020-03-06 09:38pm
Congrats. Was that pipeline for domestic consumption? If so, how much oil / gas will Quebec have to import from out of the country in comparison to if it was built ?
Export focused, but I question the logic of your post. You assume that if it was for domestic, the only alternative available should be importation rather than degrowth of the energy economy. Why is that?

While transitioning away from fossil fuels is a desirable goal it's not going to be something that can be done overnight. And in the meantime right now Canada is importing significant amounts of oil, despite our massive oil reserves. Granted the trend is going down lately, but it's still significant. While our fossil fuel industry certainly has many problems I'd rather keep things in house as much as possible as at least that way we'd have more control, not to mention we'd be giving less revenue to someone else.

I'm generally against importing oil from countries like the USA (which gets to import a lot our fossil fuels for below market value while selling it back to us at market value or above) or Saudi Arabia (which tends to have even worse human rights records than we do, which is really saying something). Not to mention we have no real control over how they environmentally regulate their fossil fuel production.

IMO if we shut down our own fossil fuel industry and while transitioning away from a fossil fuel economy we just import fossil fuels from abroad instead, all we're really doing is patting ourselves on the back for a job well done while exporting our pollution problem elsewhere. Nimbyism at its finest.
Last edited by Tribble on 2020-03-07 02:57am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Major investor pulls out of Quebec pipeline project, citing rail blockades

Post by loomer » 2020-03-07 02:57am

Tribble wrote:
2020-03-07 02:53am
loomer wrote:
2020-03-06 09:41pm
Tribble wrote:
2020-03-06 09:38pm
Congrats. Was that pipeline for domestic consumption? If so, how much oil / gas will Quebec have to import from out of the country in comparison to if it was built ?
Export focused, but I question the logic of your post. You assume that if it was for domestic, the only alternative available should be importation rather than degrowth of the energy economy. Why is that?

While transitioning away from fossil fuels is a desirable goal it's not going to be something that can be done overnight. And in the meantime right now Canada is importing significant amounts of oil, despite our massive oil reserves. While our oil industry certainly has many problems I'd rather keep things in house as much as possible as at least that way we'd have more control, not to mention we'd be giving less revenue to someone else.
The only reason it can't is consumer demand and political impetus. I'm not actually expecting you to have a comprehensive answer for why, by the by - it's just important to check that tendency to assume that the way it is now is the only way it can be. The most effective first step towards ending fossil fuel reliance and the utterly unsustainable energy and emergy budgets of the modern first world is to simply end all expansion of domestic production and begin shutting down existing production while prohibiting imports. We assert it can't be done, but it is our own demand for luxury that makes it so.
I'm generally against importing oil from countries like the USA (which gets to import a lot our oil for below market value while selling us oil at market value or above) or Saudi Arabia (which tends to have even worse human rights records than we do, which is really saying something).

IMO if we shut down our own oil industry and while transitioning away from a fossil fuel economy we import large amounts of oil from abroad instead, all we're really doing is just patting ourselves on the back for a job well done while exporting our pollution problem elsewhere. Nimbyism at its finest.
Fair points, and I suppose I should also apologize for springing the epistemic trap on you. In the context of stopping production, there just needs to be reminders wherever possible that there's actually nothing innate'y necessary and unavoidable about most of the energy and emergy budget involved in the Westernized lifestyle.
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Re: Major investor pulls out of Quebec pipeline project, citing rail blockades

Post by Tribble » 2020-03-07 03:28am

loomer wrote:
2020-03-07 02:57am

The only reason it can't is consumer demand and political impetus. I'm not actually expecting you to have a comprehensive answer for why, by the by - it's just important to check that tendency to assume that the way it is now is the only way it can be. The most effective first step towards ending fossil fuel reliance and the utterly unsustainable energy and emergy budgets of the modern first world is to simply end all expansion of domestic production and begin shutting down existing production while prohibiting imports. We assert it can't be done, but it is our own demand for luxury that makes it so.
While I agree there are certainly benefits to doing so, there might be significant drawbacks as well.


For example, even if we were able to completely shut down our fossil fuel industry tomorrow and solely import our fossil fuels with a phase out, IMO that wouldn't change much globally. While it would certainly disrupt the global fossil fuel market for awhile, it's not likely that even something that drastic would lead to an overall reduction of fossil fuel use world-wide long term. The most likely long term response from other fossil fuel countries would be to simply ramp up their fossil fuel production to pickup the slack. And now instead of being a major player we would become entirely dependent on others with effectively zero say on global fossil fuel production. Not to mention wrecking a good chunk of our economy in the process. Again I feel that's more patting ourselves on the back rather than actually helping to deal with the problem.

Our fossil fuel production has many problems, I won't dispute that for a second. And yes I 100% agree that all nations need to transition away from fossil fuels. At the same time though as you noted it's a lot more complicated than it looks at first glance.

I think a decent start would be to ensure that all the fossil fuel we used is produced domestically, so at least we have the maximum amount of control on the environmental regulations and how that revenue is being spent (preferably by investing in green technology and in environmental reclamation/decontamination).
loomer wrote: Fair points, and I suppose I should also apologize for springing the epistemic trap on you. In the context of stopping production, there just needs to be reminders wherever possible that there's actually nothing innate'y necessary and unavoidable about most of the energy and emergy budget involved in the Westernized lifestyle.
I do agree with you on that.
Last edited by Tribble on 2020-03-07 03:33am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Major investor pulls out of Quebec pipeline project, citing rail blockades

Post by loomer » 2020-03-07 03:33am

Tribble wrote:
2020-03-07 03:28am
loomer wrote:
2020-03-07 02:57am

The only reason it can't is consumer demand and political impetus. I'm not actually expecting you to have a comprehensive answer for why, by the by - it's just important to check that tendency to assume that the way it is now is the only way it can be. The most effective first step towards ending fossil fuel reliance and the utterly unsustainable energy and emergy budgets of the modern first world is to simply end all expansion of domestic production and begin shutting down existing production while prohibiting imports. We assert it can't be done, but it is our own demand for luxury that makes it so.
While I agree that there are certainly benefits to doing so, there might be significant drawbacks as well.


For example, even if we were able to completely shut down our fossil fuel industry tomorrow and solely import our fossil fuels with a gradual phase out, I'm not inclined to believe that would change much globally. While that would certainly disrupt the global fossil fuel market for awhile, it's not likely that even something that drastic would lead to an overall reduction of fossil fuel use world-wide long term. The most likely long term response from other fossil fuel countries would be to simply ramp up their fossil fuel production to pickup the slack. And now instead of being a major player we would become entirely dependent on others with effectively zero say on global fossil fuel production. Not to mention wrecking a good chunk of our economy in the process. Again I feel that's more patting ourselves on the back rather than actually helping to deal with the problem.

Our fossil fuel production has many problems, I won't dispute that for a second. And yes I 100% agree that all nations need to transition away from fossil fuels. At the same time though as you noted it's a lot more complicated than it looks at first glance.
I agree that individual national action is unlikely to be sufficient, but if you couple an actively enforced ban on imports with a ban on expansion of domestic production and subsequent staged drawdown of that production and permissible energy expenditure and emergy hoarding, it doesn't matter how much they ramp up production. If you're impounding every illegal shipment (and one of the advantages of the nature of modern energy economics is that it sure as hell can't be done on the small scale) of oil and coal, your market is effectively closed. For it to be effective still requires either all major oil and coal reliant nations or all major fossil fuel exporters to agree to a drawdown but that pretty much has to happen to avoid extinction at this stage anyway, so either we manage or it doesn't really matter.
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Re: Major investor pulls out of Quebec pipeline project, citing rail blockades

Post by Tribble » 2020-03-07 03:50am

loomer wrote:
2020-03-07 03:33am
I agree that individual national action is unlikely to be sufficient, but if you couple an actively enforced ban on imports with a ban on expansion of domestic production and subsequent staged drawdown of that production and permissible energy expenditure and emergy hoarding, it doesn't matter how much they ramp up production. If you're impounding every illegal shipment (and one of the advantages of the nature of modern energy economics is that it sure as hell can't be done on the small scale) of oil and coal, your market is effectively closed. For it to be effective still requires either all major oil and coal reliant nations or all major fossil fuel exporters to agree to a drawdown but that pretty much has to happen to avoid extinction at this stage anyway, so either we manage or it doesn't really matter.
On the other hand if we continued to be a major oil exporter (preferably without going through the US first so we could sell it at market value) and we were to use the revenue generated towards developing and expanding renewable technology, that could have a bigger global impact in the long run than us closing down our fossil fuel industry on our own. That seemed to be where the NDP government in Alberta was at least trying to head towards before Trudeau, the Fed NDP and the B.C. NDP threw them under the bus.

Should we really be letting the fossil fuel market be decided on by the USA, Russia, Saudi Arabia etc without our input? Should we be importing their oil rather than relying on domestic use? Again while we have a lot of problems I'd argue other countries are at least as bad in most cases, if not decidedly worse.

I'm not saying you're wrong, but it's not a black and white issue from my perspective.
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Re: Major investor pulls out of Quebec pipeline project, citing rail blockades

Post by loomer » 2020-03-07 04:01am

Tribble wrote:
2020-03-07 03:50am
loomer wrote:
2020-03-07 03:33am
I agree that individual national action is unlikely to be sufficient, but if you couple an actively enforced ban on imports with a ban on expansion of domestic production and subsequent staged drawdown of that production and permissible energy expenditure and emergy hoarding, it doesn't matter how much they ramp up production. If you're impounding every illegal shipment (and one of the advantages of the nature of modern energy economics is that it sure as hell can't be done on the small scale) of oil and coal, your market is effectively closed. For it to be effective still requires either all major oil and coal reliant nations or all major fossil fuel exporters to agree to a drawdown but that pretty much has to happen to avoid extinction at this stage anyway, so either we manage or it doesn't really matter.
On the other hand if we continued to be a major oil exporter (preferably without going through the US first so we could sell it at market value) and we were to use the revenue generated towards developing and expanding renewable technology, that could have a bigger global impact in the long run than us closing down our fossil fuel industry on our own. That seemed to be where the NDP government in Alberta was at least trying to head towards before Trudeau, the Fed NDP and the B.C. NDP threw them under the bus.

Should we really be letting the fossil fuel market be decided on by the USA, Russia, Saudi Arabia etc without our input? Should we be importing their oil rather than relying on domestic use? Again while we have a lot of problems I'd argue other countries are at least as bad in most cases, if not decidedly worse.

I'm not saying you're wrong, but it's not a black and white issue from my perspective.
It's definitely not, but this line of logic also only takes us so far. It takes it as an unavoidable given that the fossil fuel industry will continue to be viable enough that choosing the lesser of two evils is the only choice. That's probably true, unfortunately, but we also need to be willing to examine when and where it breaks to try and identify the moment to shift away from exportation and domestic consumption swiftly. Otherwise we wind up with the continuing Australia situation, where we frantically try and prop up a dying industry because someone has to export that coal and it might as well be us, regardless of consequence, and in the process help keep the price of the commodity from skyrocketing due to impaired supply.
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Re: Major investor pulls out of Quebec pipeline project, citing rail blockades

Post by Coop D'etat » 2020-03-07 10:48am

Couple points.

This is a natural gas play. Not an oil one at all (Quebec has no appreciable oil production currently). In the current North American market natural gas acts to displace coal based electricity and natural gas is a lot cleaner. Solar/Wind have also gotten cheap, but only on the fringes of the grid, actually replacing what coal does currently as the base of the grid they are incredibly expensive.


Aligning Canadian oil production for a national market rather than the international market is an incredibly dumb auturkist policy. that is getting pushed for political reasons. The point of having a national oil market is if you want to be self-sufficient because you're worried your armoured divisions will run out of go juice in the middle of a campaign. The point of Canadian oil industry isn't to be self sufficient, its to make money and all the wonderful benefits that come from that (jobs, tax revenue, a prosperous society in general). The geography of the market doesn't favour connecting Western oil to the Eastern market at all. First the transport costs are significant because the terrain is very unfavourable. Second, existing refining capacity that uses imported oil is set up for the light oils common to the North Atlantic basin oil trade, not the heavy ones the West produces.

The actual market for West Canadian oil is the Pacific Basin or to ship to Texas for refining and being sold on the world market.



Here I think loomer's Austrialian experience does him a disservice on the matter. There is little to no merit to coal production in transition of the energy market that isn't the case for Oil or natural gas. Oil is extremely difficult to replace in its industrial and transportation uses and is going to be needed for a fair bit of the forseeable future while Natural Gas is a cheap and effective way in the markets its abundant to displace worse


These blockades and disruptions sound effective to the eco-left, but they're incredibly shortsighted. The research on the matter shows that they're incredibly expensive in terms of emissions reduced compared to economic damage done compared to policy alternatives. The effective thing to do is to push governments to put economy wide prices on emissions and support the governments that are doing that. Unfortunately, the environmental movement in Canada is run by deeply unserious people and has lost their god damn minds seeking out worthless symbolic victories when the real prize of broad based action was in reach.

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Re: Major investor pulls out of Quebec pipeline project, citing rail blockades

Post by madd0ct0r » 2020-03-07 11:39am

The research on the matter shows that they're incredibly expensive in terms of emissions reduced compared to economic damage done compared to policy alternatives. The effective thing to do is to push governments...
Heh. It's almost like the protests being incredibly economiclly expensive might encourage the government to find ways to avoid getting into this situation again.
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Re: Major investor pulls out of Quebec pipeline project, citing rail blockades

Post by loomer » 2020-03-07 07:56pm

Coop D'etat wrote:
2020-03-07 10:48am
Couple points.

This is a natural gas play. Not an oil one at all (Quebec has no appreciable oil production currently). In the current North American market natural gas acts to displace coal based electricity and natural gas is a lot cleaner. Solar/Wind have also gotten cheap, but only on the fringes of the grid, actually replacing what coal does currently as the base of the grid they are incredibly expensive.


Aligning Canadian oil production for a national market rather than the international market is an incredibly dumb auturkist policy. that is getting pushed for political reasons. The point of having a national oil market is if you want to be self-sufficient because you're worried your armoured divisions will run out of go juice in the middle of a campaign. The point of Canadian oil industry isn't to be self sufficient, its to make money and all the wonderful benefits that come from that (jobs, tax revenue, a prosperous society in general). The geography of the market doesn't favour connecting Western oil to the Eastern market at all. First the transport costs are significant because the terrain is very unfavourable. Second, existing refining capacity that uses imported oil is set up for the light oils common to the North Atlantic basin oil trade, not the heavy ones the West produces.

The actual market for West Canadian oil is the Pacific Basin or to ship to Texas for refining and being sold on the world market.



Here I think loomer's Austrialian experience does him a disservice on the matter. There is little to no merit to coal production in transition of the energy market that isn't the case for Oil or natural gas. Oil is extremely difficult to replace in its industrial and transportation uses and is going to be needed for a fair bit of the forseeable future while Natural Gas is a cheap and effective way in the markets its abundant to displace worse


These blockades and disruptions sound effective to the eco-left, but they're incredibly shortsighted. The research on the matter shows that they're incredibly expensive in terms of emissions reduced compared to economic damage done compared to policy alternatives. The effective thing to do is to push governments to put economy wide prices on emissions and support the governments that are doing that. Unfortunately, the environmental movement in Canada is run by deeply unserious people and has lost their god damn minds seeking out worthless symbolic victories when the real prize of broad based action was in reach.
So, same basic question to you. Why do you feel that those jobs deserve to exist and should be preserved at the expense of humanity's survival? If the only point of a Canadian oil and extractives industry is for export, why allow it to continue at all?
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