By Kevin Martine
Canadian and international investors have had a hard time getting shovels in the ground on their projects, even after securing regulatory approval. The reasons have been many: pure economics, political divisions, Indigenous disapproval and environmental concerns.
All of the above factors have left a slew of projects stranded as Canadians are unable to agree on our need to develop resources and at the same time fight climate change. Together, they make up around $150 billion of lost investment opportunity that would have generated taxes, jobs and businesses for the domestic economy.
Here are some of the major energy projects over the past few years that never saw the light of day:
Project: Frontier Oilsands Mine
Cost: $20.6 billionCompany: Teck Resources Ltd.The proposed oilsands mine in northern Alberta was expected to produce 260,000 barrels of oil per day. It was cancelled by the proponent over the weekend amid a major fight between Ottawa and Alberta over climate change issues, a lack of pipeline capacity and low oil prices. The project was expected to push up Canadian carbon emissions and was opposed by environmental groups, but enjoyed the support of many First Nations in the region.
Project: Northern GatewayCost: $7.9 billionCompany: Enbridge Inc.The proposed pipeline to bring oil from northern Alberta to a port in Kitimat B.C. was approved by Stephen Harper’s government in 2014, but was quashed by a Federal Court of Appeal two years later. It was rejected by the Liberal government in 2016.
The pipeline was expected to ship 525,000 barrels of oil per day to international markets and boost pipeline capacity to meet the needs of surging Canadian oil production.
Project: Energy EastCost: $16 billionCompany: TransCanada Corp. (now TC Energy Corp.)
A proposed pipeline to carry 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to coastal refineries in New Brunswick. TransCanada planned to build 1,500 kilometres of new pipe and reverse the direction on another 3,000 km of an existing pipeline. It faced heavy opposition in Quebec and Ontario and the environmental review process was marked by controversy. The National Energy Board, the regulator at the time, ultimately asked the company to restart the environmental review process. TransCanada scrapped the project in October 2017.
Project: Pacific Northwest LNGCost: $36 billionLead company: Petronas Bhd.
The proposed LNG pipeline and export terminal in Prince Rupert B.C. on the Pacific Ocean was to export as much as 18 million tonnes of natural gas per year. The Malaysian state-owned oil and gas company and its international partners said high upfront investment costs along with plummeting global prices for natural gas reduced the feasibility of the project. The project also faced a lengthy environmental review process, with concerns raised by local Indigenous groups about the project’s impact on fragile salmon spawning grounds in the area. It was cancelled by Petronas in July 2017.
Project: Aurora LNGCost: $28 billionLead company: Nexen Energy
The proposed LNG export terminal was expected to be built south of Prince Rupert in B.C. The project was a partnership between Nexen, the Chinese-oil company based in Calgary, and Japan-based INPEX Gas. It was expected to handle between 10 to 12 million tonnes of natural gas each year, but the proponents announced in September 2017 that they would scrap the project.
Project: Prince Rupert LNGCost: $16 billionLead company: Royal Dutch Shell
The proposed LNG export facility in Prince Rupert B.C. was expected to have an export capacity of up to 21 million tonnes per year. It was cancelled in March 2017, after its developer BG Group was acquired by Royal Dutch Shell.
Shell said that it was cancelling the project because it wished to focus on its other B.C. LNG project in Kitimat B.C. The LNG Canada export terminal will connect resources in B.C. to Asian markets via the Coastal Gaslink — the pipeline opposed by some hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs who are upset that the pipeline traverses through their unceded territory. The opposition has led to rail blockades across the country and has emerged as another flashpoint in the debate over Indigenous issues and resource development.
Project: WCC LNGCost: $25 billionLead company: Exxon Mobil Corp.
A proposed LNG export facility in Prince Rupert B.C. which was expected to export 15 million tonnes of natural gas per year, with room to expand to up to 30 million tonnes per year. It was being developed as a joint partnership between Exxon Mobil Corp. and its subsidiary the Calgary-based Imperial Oil Ltd. The project was shelved indefinitely in December 2018.
By Kevin Martine