Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted May 12, 2015
Encana President and CEO Doug Suttles participated in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Leadership Series last week with a luncheon address and a Q&A session with Linda Harbert of the Institute for 21st Century Energy. Highlights of the conversation below. Suttles joined Alberta-based Encana as president and CEO in June 2013. He has 30 years of oil and natural gas industry experience in various engineering and leadership roles. Before joining Encana, Suttles held a number of leadership posts with BP, including chief operating officer of BP Exploration & Production and BP Alaska president.
Q: You opened your talk by saying I’m a North American energy company. … Can you shed a little light on the differences and similarities between operating in Canada and the U.S.?
Suttles: They’re not as big as many people would think. First of all, in the places we operate – Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, and then Alberta and British Columbia – these are all natural resource states, and they understand that and I think the people and political leaders understand the importance, too. Both countries have high environmental expectations.
Probably the biggest difference you’d really see between them is the remoteness of operations, which creates a unique challenge in Canada. Many of our operations are away from large towns and cities … But you have an environment where I think people understand the benefits of our industry. They promote the industry, they support it.
Posted January 15, 2015
Facts and science over politics. That’s the way energy policy should be made. Too many policy matters in the energy space are being hijacked by politics. The Keystone XL pipeline is one example, as are some of the regulatory initiatives the administration is pushing right now. That’s not the way to craft good energy policy.
Keystone XL has been stuck on the drawing board more than six years because it was turned into a political football by the White House. Cross-border pipelines like Keystone XL historically have gained approval in 18 to 24 months. We’re at 76 months and counting for political reasons, not because of compelling scientific and economic analysis – as advanced in the five reviews conducted by the U.S. State Department.
Keystone XL finally has reached the debate stage in the Senate, but the White House is threatening to veto legislation that would advance the project. More politics, more delay, more missed opportunity for American workers and U.S. energy security.
Posted January 10, 2015
Throughout the Keystone XL pipeline’s long wait for federal approval, President Obama has used one excuse after another to deflect responsibility for blocking a project that polls in the 70s with the American people, one that would support thousands of U.S. jobs and help move the country closer to North American energy security. All along the way the president could have exercised his authority to say yes to all of the above but deferred instead.
The president said environmental questions needed answers, and they were provided by his own State Department, which cleared Keystone XL in five separate environmental reviews.
The president said the cross-border approval process – required because Keystone XL would cross the U.S.-Canadian border – needed to run its course. It did and then some, stretching now to more than six years when historically, cross-border approvals are granted in 18 to 24 months.
The president said Nebraska needed to work out the pipeline’s route through that state, which it did. Then the president said the state’s Supreme Court would have to settle a legal challenge over the re-routing process.
On Friday, Nebraska’s high court rejected that challenge, confirming the assessment of the state Department of Environmental Quality and the governor’s recommendation to the State Department – leaving the project with only one remaining obstacle: President Obama.
Posted January 8, 2015
With legislation to advance the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline moving ahead in the Senate, potentially attracting a misguided veto from President Obama, some important numbers:
76 – The number of months Keystone XL has been blocked by the Obama administration. Historically, approvals for cross-border pipeline projects take 18 to 24 months. Keystone XL’s history is something quite different – the story of how a shovel-ready infrastructure project was needlessly hijacked by politics.
830,000 – The number of barrels of North American oil per day that would flow through Keystone XL to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast, the vast majority of which would be turned into valuable fuel products.
42,100 – The number of U.S. jobs that would be supported during Keystone XL’s construction. That’s not industry’s number. That’s the number coming from President Obama’s own State Department. When he and others dismiss the project’s jobs impact, it reveals a serious lack of understanding of the way large infrastructure construction creates a positive ripple across the economy in terms of direct jobs, indirect jobs and induced jobs – all of which the White House fully appreciated when it was making the case for its federal stimulus package in 2009.
5 – The number of Keystone XL environmental reviews conducted by President Obama’s own Department of State.
5 – The number of State Department environmental reviews that have concluded Keystone XL would have no significant climate impact.
2 – The number of Pinocchios just awarded by the Washington Post’s Fact Checker to claims that Keystone XL will negatively impact the environment and that it would only be only a conduit for oil to be shipped overseas. (This follows the Three Pinocchios given to President Obama last fall for saying oil transported by Keystone XL would go “everywhere else” but the U.S. Bottom line, that’s a lot of Pinocchios.)
Posted November 11, 2014
America’s trading relationship with Canada is key to U.S. energy security but also to the U.S. economy, as discussed in this recent post.
Some numbers from the International Trade Administration (ITA) help make a couple of finer points. First, while the United States imports more crude oil from Canada than any other country, our goods exports to Canada supported nearly 1.3 million jobs here in 2013 – and that number is on the rise. Second, U.S. oil and natural gas sector goods exports account for more than half of the growth in overall jobs supported by goods exports to Canada from 2010 to 2013 – and that number also is increasing.
Posted September 16, 2014
This week the Keystone XL pipeline reaches a dubious anniversary – six years waiting for the Obama administration to approve a shovel-ready, privately financed infrastructure project that would create jobs while strengthening America’s energy, economic and national security.
It has been an unfortunate, unnecessary wait. Such projects historically are approved by Washington in one to two years. In the six years Keystone XL has been left on hold by this White House, 10,000 miles of oil and natural gas pipelines have been built in the United States.
While Keystone XL languishes, Canada – our neighbor, friend and largest supplier of imported oil – gets the cold shoulder from an administration that has dithered, delayed and dumbfounded its way into obstructing a vital piece of energy infrastructure – pleasing a small minority instead of advancing the national interest.
Posted June 16, 2014
This week the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to vote on bipartisan legislation that would advance the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline – a $5.3 billion, privately financed infrastructure project that the U.S. State Department says would generate more than 42,000 jobs during its construction phase while contributing more than $3 billion to our economy.
Congress is acting because the administration has not – not in more than five years of review by the administration, during which the project has cleared five environmental reviews by the State Department. Congressional leadership on Keystone XL is about the administration’s lack of clear leadership on the Keystone XL.
As the vote approaches, API President and CEO Jack Gerard and Sean McGarvey, president of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, talked about the pipeline during a conference call. Both pointed to developments in Iraq and the ongoing standoff between Ukraine and Russia as reminders of how important it is for the United States to secure its energy future – and the significance of the Keystone XL in that equation.
Posted April 24, 2014
Americans support building the Keystone XL pipeline. A new Harris Poll shows that by nearly a 4-to-1 margin Americans agree the pipeline is in the national interest. By continuing to put off a decision on Keystone XL, the Obama administration is casting its lot with the 1. On this issue, a lonely number indeed. API’s Cindy Schild, during a conference call with reporters:
“Friday’s announcement by the administration seems to dismiss not only congressional support but American support as well. President Obama and his advisers have apparently determined to put their political interests over the national interest and side with a small group of activists led by a billionaire instead of the labor community and the vast majority of ordinary Americans, regardless of harm to the middle class.”
For all the talk from this administration about building up the middle class, its lack of action on Keystone XL is hurting middle-class Americans.
Posted March 28, 2014
The Keystone XL pipeline has been delayed by Washington way too long – more than five years and counting – but we haven’t lost our sense of humor.
At a Vets4Energy event supporting the Keystone XL, Gary Doer, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, recognizing the U.S. military veterans in the audience, remarked that the two countries are old friends. “Ever since the War of 1812 we’ve been allies together,” said Doer, noting the little war during which Canada helped the British. “I won’t get into that war, but …”
U.S. Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota good-naturedly cut him off: “We won that war!”
Posted March 26, 2014
A Vets4Energy press event in support of building the Keystone XL pipeline underscored the link between North American energy security – based on increased domestic production and a stronger partnership with Canada, our No. 1 source of imported oil – and national security. The pipeline would be a significant part of an energy strategy that could see 100 percent of the United States’ liquid fuel needs supplied domestically and from Canada by 2024.
This resonates with men and women whose mission often involves ensuring the safe flow of energy around the world. Retired Rear Admiral Don Loren:
“I believe that everybody realizes that there is a relationship between the flow of energy, the access to energy and national and international security. … Having unbounded energy resources, not (being) dependent on foreign energy sources, it gives us tremendous military strength and capability.”