Linking Deep Panuke to Kyoto an
unfair proposition |
By Roger Taylor
NOVA SCOTIANS have to wonder when people from Calgary or
Saint John or wherever will stop using the Scotia Shelf as a
pawn to help them achieve a political agenda.
One of the latest to do this is Gwyn Morgan, the head of
Canada's second-largest oil company EnCana. He says the
$1-billion Deep Panuke natural gas project would be shut down
if Ottawa signed the Kyoto protocol before the end of the
In a visit to Halifax last week, he said that Deep Panuke,
of all the EnCana projects in the world, would likely be shut
down if the company were forced to cut greenhouse gas
If Canada signed the Kyoto protocol to the United Nations
framework convention on climate change, Morgan said it would
push the Deep Panuke project beyond feasibility.
The Kyoto protocol calls on signatory nations to cut their
overall emissions of carbon dioxide gases, which cause global
warming, by at least five per cent below 1990 levels in the
commitment period of 2008 to 2012.
To many, Morgan's linking Kyoto to Deep Panuke was just
another example of someone trying to use an issue that's
sensitive in Nova Scotia as a political lever to change minds
Injecting the Nova Scotia offshore into the Kyoto debate
might be viewed as a low blow.
There are already questions about whether Deep Panuke will
go ahead. It is costing many millions of dollars to drill,
with still no accurate natural-gas reserve estimate. Some
analysts have speculated that Deep Panuke is too costly as a
stand-alone entity and must link with other gas finds in the
area to make its development viable.
With that background, Morgan's statements seem only to
demonstrate how little he knows or cares about this region.
EnCana was recently created from the merger of Alberta
Energy and PanCanadian Petroleum. The Deep Panuke project was
brought to this point by PanCanadian.
Perhaps he doesn't know that the oil-and-gas industry has
been a political football for years in Nova Scotia and that
many Nova Scotians are of the mistaken opinion that they are
not benefiting from offshore development.
A lot of Nova Scotians, rightly or wrongly, don't care. For
many, EnCana's threat to pull the plug unless it gets what it
wants is business as usual.
Linking Kyoto to Deep Panuke made front page news, but to
what end? It likely turned off more Nova Scotians from the
energy sector rather than motivating them to fight against
EnCana is not alone in using this tactic. I've read that
the developers of the giant oil-sands project in Alberta say
that project will also be adversely affected by Kyoto. But
others in the energy sector seem to believe cutting emissions
is not that big a task.
One reader pointed out in an e-mail that in March, British
Petroleum CEO John Browne announced his company had met its
self-imposed target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions -
nearly eight years ahead of schedule - at no net cost to the
BP cut pollution by improving efficiency, by doing things
like plugging gas pipeline leaks and by cutting back on gas
If one believes we must address the issue of global
warming, perhaps we should encourage EnCana to be more
progressive in trying to save the Deep Panuke project while
meeting reduced green house emissions.
Roger Taylor is business editor of The Chronicle-Herald,
The Mail-Star and The Sunday Herald.