A Canadian fairy tale
By Mark Scholz
Let’s do something a bit different this year. Instead of recapping a flat year and making projections for an uncertain future, let’s paint a picture of what the best possible 2019 could look like.
The perfect 2019 starts with pipelines. The Trans Mountain Expansion project clears its remaining two regulatory hurdles early in Q1 and begins construction in Q2. In addition, Energy East is put back on the table, as a part of the federal government’s new “Canadian energy for Canadians” initiative. The cornerstone of this initiative is getting responsible Canadian oil and gas across the country, and to new international markets in order to create good jobs, promote and export Canadian products and technology, and reduce overall global GHGs. In order to entice TransCanada back to the table, the feds also scrap Bills C-69and C-48, streamline the application process, and set out hard deadlines for approvals for projects deemed in the national interest.
With the TMX underway and Energy East guaranteed to be built, investors begin to bring their capital back to Canada. More drilling programs are announced, financing flows back into the Canadian service sector, and CAODC members begin to climb out of the pit they have been stuck in over the last four years. Money for hiring and training begins to appear, longer term contracts are signed, and rig hands can count on steady work for the first time in a long time.
In the second half of 2019, Enbridge’s Line 3 begins shipping product, and the differentials for Canadian crude start to correct. Producers, and most importantly Canadians, begin getting world prices for their resources, and the revenues flowing back to federal, provincial, and municipal coffers are allocated for new hospitals, school infrastructure, hiring of teachers and nurses, and things like road repairs, parks, and museums.
To top things off, LNG Canada continues to make excellent progress in Kitimat. Jobs, wells, production and takeaway infrastructure sprout up in the most environmentally friendly manner possible, and the people of Northern BC have more jobs and higher incomes than they know what to do with. They have smiles on their faces every day because they know the work they are doing, will mean global GHG reductions of as much 40 per cent as the LNG they produce displaces coal in countries like China.
All of this growth and excitement is complemented by our political leaders and educators communicating the facts about our industry. It is not a dinosaur fighting off extinction, but actually part of the solution in providing energy to meet a growing demand to fuel our modern lives. Canadian men and women are the best in the world at what they do, and are continually investing time, energy, and money into improving processes. Tailings ponds are eliminated by SSAGD technology, emissions per barrel come down yet again! Petrochemicals, natural gas, bitumen…all of it not only necessary but even GOOD for our country and the rest of the world! Suddenly this industry looks as if it could be a good career path for a new generation of young people with a strong work ethic and an entrepreneurial spirit. Working with and creating modern oil and gas technology, making money, and building a family and community! What could be better!?
I have three young kids who I read fairy tales to on a nightly basis, and this certainly reads like the making of a fairy tale to me. Let’s hope however, for the sake of all Canadians and the businesses that support them, that dreams do come true, and 2019 gets us a little closer to living happily ever after.