Why, nine years later, Keystone XL’s fate is still in limbo

pipeline

It’s nine years and counting since the Keystone pipeline was first proposed and TransCanada is still waiting for presidential approval to build the line. An environmental assessment report from the US State Department that landed in January would seem to move TransCanada’s hopes forward, but the pipeline’s ultimate fate is still very much in limbo. The State Department concluded that the … [Read more...]

Big oil companies find it harder to turn a buck

gas station on a red sky

Judging by pump prices, drivers might think oil companies were rolling in profits that only move higher. Lately, though, the big boys in the global oil industry are finding that earning a buck isn’t as easy as it used to be. Royal Dutch Shell, for instance, just announced that fourth quarter earnings would fall woefully short of expectations. The Anglo-Dutch energy giant warned its quarterly … [Read more...]

Is oil-by-rail boom an accident waiting to happen?

oil train

Tick, tick, tick. The countdown to another rail accident is already on. A 90-car derailment recently in Alabama is only the latest in a series of train wrecks unfolding across North America.The next one, as promised by a dangerous combination of lax regulations and booming traffic, is just around the bend.Fracking may be paving the way towards energy independence for North America, but that … [Read more...]

The downside of higher U.S. energy exports

oil tanker

Critics of TransCanada’s Keystone XL project often argue that Canada should reap the full benefits of its natural resources, rather than exporting its petroleum riches south of the border. Head to the U.S. and, ironically, you can hear the same discussion. Much of America’s new found oil wealth is being shipped abroad, which is worrying Americans who figured they had a Made-in-the-USA solution to … [Read more...]

Why energy producers need to pay heed to global warming

Santa with oil tanker

The world’s top climate change scientists are now 95 percent certain that humans are responsible for global warming. That’s the headline takeaway from the latest findings by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Global temperatures are the hottest since the last ice age and the planet is only getting warmer. What to make of this news? On one hand, it’s likely not much of a surprise to … [Read more...]

How farmland became Canada’s hottest real estate market

Alberta farmland

Buy land, advised Mark Twain, because, as the punch line goes, they ain’t making any more of it. Fast forward to 2013 and that advice, as a look at prices for farmland shows, seems as prescient as ever. As any farmer will readily tell you, the agriculture business has had a tough run. Agriculture was once an economic mainstay. Turn back the clock to 1950 and the sector employed nearly a fifth … [Read more...]

Will Syria bring an oil shock?

Syria war

Is the Middle East about to deliver another oil shock to the global economy? The U.S. military has targets picked out in Syria and President Obama is trying to convince Congress that America needs to intervene. If the U.S. does go ahead with tactical strikes against the Assad regime, oil markets will be caught in the middle. The size of the repercussions, though, is an open question. History, … [Read more...]

The price for energy independence

bumper sticker

Move over OPEC, North America is about to become a net exporter of oil. At least that’s the supposed good news from the International Energy Agency’s latest outlook. According to the IEA, the drilling boom for shale oil is putting US production on track to pass Saudi Arabia. North of the border, output from Alberta’s oil sands is expected to notch a similarly grand expansion. Notions of energy … [Read more...]

Do we have enough water to frack our way to energy independence?

dried mud in drought

In chemistry you quickly discover that oil and water don’t mix. The same is true in the energy industry. It’s unfortunate, because the new fuel sources that the International Energy Agency claims will allow North America to reach energy independence require tremendous amounts of water. Whether it’s from shale plays or the oil sands, millions of gallons of water are needed to pull that energy … [Read more...]

Fracking for yellowcake

uranium rock

It works for oil and natural gas, so why not frack for uranium too? After all, America relies on foreign uranium just like it depends on foreign oil. In the U.S. these days, it seems like you can sell almost anything if you spin it as part of the pursuit of energy independence. Enter Uranium Energy Corp. A junior mining company with Canadian roots, UEC is developing the newest uranium mine in … [Read more...]