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Steve Ricketts @SteveRickettsSP
, 20 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Warning: long thread about energy matters, focussing on how they affect AB. Thanks & credit to @politicalham (of @energi_news) who gave a talk in Sherwood Park last evening, organized by @CarlaHowatt and @fionabeland. Thanks to @suepeac and Grace Wong whose notes I’ve used
And I’m going to endeavour to make these comments as non-partisan as I can, because this issue is imp and needs to transcend political boundaries
Alberta's oil - particularly that coming from Suncor and CNRL - is going to be cost competitive and carbon competitive with the rest of the world, save Saudi Arabia (because they produce sweet oil, a completely different beast).
The innovation being developed by the oil industry in Canada is nothing short of mind-boggling. It’ll reduce the cost of production and GHG emissions. And it’s partially being aided by revenue from the carbon tax.
Energy company executives think very long-term. They have to. They’re making decisions wrt investments in new technologies to reduce the cost of producing oil and getting it to market, to prepare for the use of renewable energy and for the inevitable decline in demand for AB oil
They are doing this because it makes good business sense, not just because of the AB govt’s CLP (although it helps and is aligned with it)
A few years ago, CEOs of the heavy oil industry here in Alberta met with environmental groups, including Tzeporah Berman. They felt that their goals were not that different, and they reached a joint agreement, which they pitched to Shannon Phillips, our Environment minister.
This included proposing a price on carbon, and committing to a hard limit on GHG emissions, in return for no cap on oil sands production. This would provide them with certainty that they could build into their long-term plans.
This part's important: the carbon tax is aiding the move forward, and not just for funding the development of alternative energy sources. The cost of renewables continues to drop: solar now costs roughly two cents per MW and wind now costs roughly 1.5 cents
There is a sea change coming for the Alberta energy sector, and it will be data- and technology-driven. And it will have (and is already having) a profound impact on people and employment in this province.
The big, heavy haulers in Fort McMurray will shortly be driverless (autonomous). So that means all those truck drivers will be out of work.
And those pictures of big oil rigs with many people scurrying about doing their work? Well, what used to take a rig full of workers will be soon done by five guys sitting in a trailer beside the rig, looking at their computer screens and doing everything remotely.
This is all technology-driven, and aimed at reducing the cost of production, and not driven by the NDP government or their policies. And this isn't limited to blue collar workers, unfortunately. It's hitting across the board.
One-third of the geoscience people who used to work in oil and gas will likely never work in the sector again. These are highly-educated people, with university degrees.
Many of the oil industry jobs that were lost in in 2014 recession, including in Calgary, will never re-appear. We need to accept that and factor it into plans
And this price competitiveness puts us on par, if not slightly cheaper than, the oil coming from the Permian Basin in North and South Dakota (our direct competitors).
The carbon competitiveness comes from these new innovations reducing by one-third the GHG emissions per barrel of oil than we did 25 years ago.
And that makes us attractive to countries who already have implemented a price on carbon (54 and growing). Win-win all around.
Peak oil (i.e. when global demand for oil will drop from its current ~100M barrels/day) is now predicted by many experts to occur around 2036. That is when we'll see a decline in the use of carbon-based fuel and products.
What the experts *can't* predict is what the other side of peak oil is going to look like; i.e. whether it’ll be a steep decline or a long, gradual decline? While no one knows, oil companies are already planning for it.
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