Site C dam approved: troubled waters ahead?

Jonathan Drance and Rachel V. Hutton -

On December 16, 2014, the Province of BC made a Final Investment Decision to proceed with the development of Site C – an $8.335 billion dam project on the Peace River with the capacity to produce 1,100MW of electricity.

A Cheaper form of Clean EnergyThe Province’s analysis, released together with news of its FID, concludes that Site C will be a cost-effective alternative to help meet future electricity demands in BC and in particular, will be cheaper than developing gas-fired plants operated by BC Hydro, or any alternative projects by Independent Power Producers.

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Russia sanctions expanded

The Canadian government today announced it is expanding sanctions that target certain individuals and activities associated with Russia and Ukraine.

While a number of designated individuals were added to the Ukraine sanctions, the Russia sanctions were expanded to include prohibitions against supplying certain goods, financial services or technical services in respect of certain types of oil exploration and production.

Existing prohibitions concerning equity and debt financings were also clarified.

New Brunswick says no to fracking

Erin Dand-

On Thursday, December 18, the Minister of Natural Resources of New Brunswick, Hon. Donald Arseneault, introduced Bill 9, An Act to Amend the Oil and Natural Gas Act (the Bill) to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick. The Bill will create a moratorium on all forms of hydraulic fracking in the province of New Brunswick, regardless of whether the process uses water, propane or another substance to extract natural gas from shale rock beneath the earth’s surface. The Bill will also put an end to any fracking projects currently underway in the Province, as no “grandfathering” in of projects will be permitted outside of the moratorium.

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BC Approves the Pacific Northwest LNG Export Terminal, Federal Approval Pending

On November 25, 2014, the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office (the BC EAO) approved the Pacific Northwest LNG Export Terminal (the Terminal), one of the twelve major BC LNG projects announced to date. The proponent of the Terminal is Pacific Northwest LNG Ltd. (Pacific Northwest), which is owned primarily by Malaysia’s PETRONAS. However, other minority shareholders such as China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., Japex and Indian Oil Corporation are also backing the development of the Terminal. 

In approving the Terminal, the BC EAO also approved two pipelines: (i) the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline (the Prince Rupert Pipeline), which is being developed by TransCanada Corp.,  and (ii) the Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission pipeline, proposed by Spectra Energy Corp. The Prince Rupert Pipeline will transport gas produced by PETRONAS’ subsidiary, Progress Energy Canada Ltd., in northeast B.C. to the Terminal on Lelu Island.

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U.S. and China reach historic deal

P. Jason Kroft and Tamir Birk -

On November 11, 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (the Plan). In what is being touted as a significant step forward in the fight against climate change, the U.S. will aim to reduce its emissions by 26%-28% below its 2005 levels by 2025. China will use its best efforts to achieve peaking carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 or earlier, and will aim to increase its share of non-fossil fuel energy generation to around 20% through clean energy investment in sources like solar and wind. To do so will require the deployment of 800-1,000 gigawatts of clean energy, nearly equal to the entire electricity generation capacity of the U.S.

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CSA adopt enhanced oil and gas disclosure rules

Keith Chatwin

The CSA today released amendments to NI 51-101 Standards of Disclosure for Oil and Gas Activities intended to promote the disclosure of resources other than reserves, while also improving flexibility for issuers. 

As discussed on our securities law blog when the changes were first proposed in October 2013, the amendments will, among other things, permit, in certain circumstances, disclosure prepared under an alternative resources evaluation standard such as the SEC's reserves disclosure regime, provide clearer guidance for the disclosure of contingent and prospective resources, introduce a principle-based approach to the disclosure of oil and gas metrics and clarify the concept of marketability in the reporting of oil and gas volumes.

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Surprise: Energy east requires a political solution

Erik Richer La Flèche -

On November 18, 2014 the environment minister of Québec wrote to TransCanada Pipeline listing seven conditions for approving the Energy East Pipeline to Cacouna, Québec.

On November 21, 2014 the Office of the Premier of Ontario, Kathlyn Wynne issued a press release confirming that Ontario and Quebec had agreed on joint principles for pipeline projects. Since then the Premier of New Brunswick has characterized the principles as “very, very reasonable” and “achievable”.  The Premier of Saskatchewan on the other hand has vented his frustration at “goal posts continuously changing.”  

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Energy east pipeline: Quebec has had enough and takes control of the process

Erik Richer La Flèche -

After months of very public wrangling culminating on November 8 with a full page ad taken by Quebec’s gas utility in the Globe and Mail opposing the Energy East Pipeline, followed a week later with the embarrassing leakage of TransCanada’s 2014 Quebec communication strategy, Quebec’s government has had enough and has taken control of the process in the province. The purpose is to dial down the rhetoric and provide a calmer and more structured environment within which to evaluate the pipeline.

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Keystone XL pipeline still a pipe dream

Erin Dand -

On Tuesday (November 18, 2014), the U.S. Senate defeated Bill S. 2280 (the Bill), a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Approval of the Keystone project was stopped by a single vote, as the Bill received only 59 of the 60 affirmative votes required to continue forward in the legislative process. Shortly after the vote, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senator of Kentucky and the incoming U.S. Senate majority leader from the Republican Party spoke on the Senate floor and stated that he would reintroduce a bill in support of the Keystone XL pipeline once the new Senate convenes in the new year. In 2015, the Republican Party, which has traditionally been in support of Keystone, will control both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in eight years. It is also important to note that even if both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate approve the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama still has the power to veto approval of the project. However, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate together may override a presidential veto in certain circumstances.

Ninth time's the charm? Keystone XL Pipeline approved by the U.S. House of Representatives

Cameron Anderson and Erin Dand -

Bill H.R. 5682 (the Bill) to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives today (November 14, 2014). The Bill was approved with 252 representatives voting in favour of approval and 161 representatives voting against it. Approval of the Bill marks the ninth time the U.S. House of Representatives has approved the Keystone XL project.

On Tuesday, November 18, 2014 the Bill will be considered by the U.S. Senate. Although the Republicans, who have traditionally been supporters of the Keystone XL project, regained the majority of the U.S. Senate in the recent midterm elections, the new Senators-elect will not be sworn in until the new year. Moreover, it is important to note that even if the Senate approves the Bill, President Obama has the presidential power to veto passage of the Bill. However, a presidential veto may be overridden by the U.S. Congress in certain circumstances.

To date, the Keystone XL pipeline has been delayed for roughly six years due to environmental reviews, legal challenges to the route of the pipeline and political opposition.

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