Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Economic Ruin?

Everytime someone mentions curbing emissions from the oil sands, invariably the "economic ruin" argument comes up. Interesting discussion today in committee that puts the HYSTERIA into perspective:
The oil sands could be brought into compliance with Kyoto emissions-cutting targets at a cost of about $1 per barrel of oil produced, a Commons committee was told Tuesday.

Lambert said it costs $20 to $30 per to produce a barrel from the oil sands. Oil is selling at around $60, and Suncor earned $2.97 billion in profit last year, up from $1.168 billion in 2005.

What's this, an oil company open to Kyoto:
Lambert said his company prefers an intensity target and consultation on further steps. Suncor also wants access to international trading under the Kyoto system.

"Access to the Kyoto mechanisms and purchase of international reductions would be absolutely essential as an element of a plan of that type (recommended by Pembina).''

Good question:
Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia said industry seems to be reluctant to be proactive on the climate issue.

"I hear that everything's going well, the market's strong, profits are good, but just leave us alone. That's the message I hear from a lot of industry sectors and especially the oil industry.

"It's like we can't do anything unless we're giving you money to develop technology.''

From The Pembina Institute, another figure to put the ruin into perspective:
For coal-fired electricity generation, meeting the target would cost on the order of one cent per kilowatt-hour. This cost would fall as government-funded investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency come onstream.

The one dollar a barrel argument puts everything into perspective. Quick math, around a 4% increase in cost per barrel. A pitance, when you factor in the OBSCENE profits these companies extract. Obviously, there is room for these companies to improve techniques, without the government ponying up money. Some of these entities outpace many countries GDP, so let's keep it real when arguing about devastation. Besides, they will just tack the extra dollar onto the price and consumers will pay, just like they always do.


Anonymous said...

The price of a barrel of oil will not always be at the $60 mark.

One has to consider the price that a barrel of oil *did* reach in 2006.

The effect that had on their profit margin had to be significant, and it would be a dangerous game to expect to judge the whole industry's ability to reach emission targets based on one high year.

And look at what happens when one refinery in Ontario has a fire. The whole balance of local/regional supply and demand, goes out the window.

Of course the consumer will be on the hook for any increase, and that is how it should be to stay in business.

From your link, I think this is pretty noteworthy, too.:

"The government has dismissed the idea of international emissions trading, saying it would amount to spending billions of dollars abroad for no environmental benefit.

The government has not said whether it would allow Canadian companies to engage in Kyoto trading on their own, without government involvement or public money."

"He said investors will bail out of the project if the government imposes a "punitive model'' on oil sands producers, but Lambert would not define what he means by punitive."

The last statement is the great unknown that has people in The West watching every signal.

It doesn't matter if you, or anyone else, thinks there is no reason for hyping the concern.

It already IS, for those folks, a concern.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious! a dollar a barrel and a penny per kilowatt/hour - fine, let's do that, but that wouldn't get Canada anywhere close to the demands of Kyoto - dreaming in technicolour seems to be very popular among Kyoto scheme proponents.

Only morons would have signed the Kyoto accord for Canada as it was negotiated...

Anonymous said...

Great post, as evident how the sluggish trolls you've attracted were too stunned to pick up the 'economic ruin!' talking points for the defence.
Equally as important to your excellent post is the admission by Alberta politicians -- mostly of the blue-man group -- that the past 6-8 years has been virtually wasted when it comes to taking advantage of this boom. While the industry has gotten fat off the land, the land and cities and the infrastructure just took the shots, buckled under the weight of the development and spun into some nether-reaches of decrepitity. The underpinnings of everyday life -- core services like hospitals and education, roads, environment etc, are all paying the price. Without a more well-thought out response to current and future exploration and production, some kind of crisis will be the result. That's them talking. Naturally, all the Cons' talking points spin around that stuck song 'Economic ruin!' in Alvin and the Chipmunks' voices. You wouldn't want to ask the bloated corporations to invest a little more in the communities, in their process of production, in creating a better environment for the denizens of Alberta and their neighbours. And what, expect consumers to pay for part of the additional cost that is being paid by the other sectors of the community? Heaven forbid! Canadians pay too much tax, they say. But going by the method of their childcare program that is costing money, where dollars are thrust upon couples and stay-at-home mothers, hoping to encourage more of the same because its what 'Real Women' do... Then theres the aim at locking more people up for longer time, get tough on crime. Sure, its nothing new and certainly hits a nerve, but its expensive and doesn't necessarily agree with the majority of studies out there on criminal rehabilitation or the current down-moving crime rate. But money spent will bring results. Surprise, Cons obviously believe that tax dollars can influence the public's decision making and standards. But don't make it change our current consumptive choices and out-of-control expectations. Just as long as everyone is singing from the same song sheet.


Anonymous said...

It is not only the "oil sands" project that is emitting a large about of GHG. There is also Ontario's auto manufacturing sector, coal power plants, industries, etc that will also have to be curtailed/shut down as well to meet our GHG targets.

Even your buddy Buzz Hargrove, who was campaigning for your Liberal party in the last Federal election, is speaking out against the devastating effect that the Kyoto accord will have on the auto manufacturing sector.

Ti-Guy said...

The anti-Kyoto anonymous trolls are a real scourge among progressive bloggers. Every time this topic is brought, they start with their belligerent noise: smear and personal attacks.

You can almost imagine this is what has been happening in government in the past 13 years with the Harper opposition.

Anonymous said...

Only a "moron would sign on to Kyoto"?

Best to follow that great mind - George W. Bush I guess.

All other leaders of the world are morons and Bush knows best - uh, huh.

lance said...

"What's this, an oil company open to Kyoto:
Lambert said his company prefers an intensity target and consultation on further steps."

Except intensity targets have been poo-poo'ed, remember?

I laugh though. Pembina is about as trustworthy as Frasier. Their ideology shines through their PR, for both firms.

No link to Pembina's plan?


Steve V said...

"It is not only the "oil sands" project that is emitting a large about of GHG. There is also Ontario's auto manufacturing sector, coal power plants"

Did you read the part about the coal-fired plants, or did you regional bias make you lose concentration?

As for the rest from the knee-jerk apologists, blah, blah, blah.

Anonymous said...

so why didn't Professeur Dion put it in place during his watch?

Steve V said...

Is Small Dead Animals down or something? Holiday in Alberta?