The Teck Frontier mine

2019-12-11

in Canada, Economics, Politics, The environment

Not only is the Trudeau government calling into question its seriousness about decarbonization by allowing the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, they are considering allowing Teck to build another open-pit bitumen sands mine which will produce 6 million tonnes of CO2 per year in its operations and far more when the fuel it produces is burned.

Every Canadian government must live in fear of being the ones in power when the markets and Canadians finally realize that developing the bitumen sands has been a mistake and the industry has no future. Since every government wants to avoid the blame when that happens, they each do what they can to maintain the illusion of a future for the industry which will justify the tens of billions that have been invested. In so doing, they inadvertently tell Canadians and the world that they are willing to create a permanently destabilized global climate in exchange for as many more years of oil profits as they can get away with.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

. December 19, 2019 at 4:24 pm

Minister ‘wrestling’ with how Frontier oilsands mine would fit into climate commitments

Teck’s proposed $20B mine would produce 260,000 barrels of oil per day

. December 29, 2019 at 2:29 pm

Federal and provincial environmental regulators are both recommending approval of a massive new oilsands mine, but whether the environment minister in Ottawa agrees is up in the air.

Teck’s Frontier project is estimated to cost $20.6 billion, significantly more than any other facility in the region. It would also be the northernmost oilsands operation and cover a territory about half the size of Montreal.

Even if it receives the green light, it may not get built. Investors aren’t keen these days to sink big money into an oilsands project that will take many years to produce a return.

In addition, oil prices will need to rise to between $70 and $80 US per barrel before large oilsands mines can be economically viable, said Mark Oberstoetter, a Calgary-based oil and gas analyst at Wood Mackenzie.

Some industry insiders believe that Teck may look to sell the project to an existing oilsands player in the area, if it receives federal approval.

. January 28, 2020 at 10:58 am

Kenney calls for swift approval from Trudeau for Teck oilsands mine

Alberta’s premier says if the mine doesn’t move forward, it means Ottawa wants to phase out oilsands

. January 28, 2020 at 2:35 pm

Decision on Teck’s massive $20.6-billion oilsands project could be delayed, environment minister says

Officials say final say rests with cabinet, noting ministers have the power to ask for more information, which would mean extending the deadline

. January 28, 2020 at 2:39 pm

With decision expected soon, Indigenous communities divided over Teck oilsands project

The $20-billion Frontier mine has the First Nations group that support it calling for respect from those opposed

. January 28, 2020 at 2:41 pm

First Nation says Alberta premier is ‘killing’ proposed oilsands mine by failing to address concerns

‘This would be the first time that the Alberta government is killing its own oilsand project,’ says chief

. January 30, 2020 at 1:19 pm
. February 1, 2020 at 7:25 pm
. February 5, 2020 at 4:27 pm

Canada, on the other hand, elected a government that believes the climate crisis is real and dangerous – and with good reason, since the nation’s Arctic territories give it a front-row seat to the fastest warming on Earth. Yet the country’s leaders seem likely in the next few weeks to approve a vast new tar sands mine which will pour carbon into the atmosphere through the 2060s. They know – yet they can’t bring themselves to act on the knowledge. Now that is cause for despair.

The Teck mine would be the biggest tar sands mine yet: 113 square miles of petroleum mining, located just 16 miles from the border of Wood Buffalo national park. A federal panel approved the mine despite conceding that it would likely be harmful to the environment and to the land culture of Indigenous people. These giant tar sands mines (easily visible on Google Earth) are already among the biggest scars humans have ever carved on the planet’s surface. But Canadian authorities ruled that the mine was nonetheless in the “public interest”.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/05/when-it-comes-to-climate-hypocrisy-canadas-leaders-have-reached-a-new-low

. February 6, 2020 at 6:46 pm

Canada readies aid for Alberta as deadline for provincial oil sands project nears: sources

OTTAWA — Canada is preparing an aid package for Alberta, heart of the country’s struggling oil industry, that would help dull the pain if it blocks an oil sands project that could create thousands of jobs, sources familiar with the matter said this week.

Rejecting the project would be “a devastating signal for investors looking at Canada,” a spokesman for Alberta’s energy minister said. About 20 oil sands projects currently sit dormant despite receiving approval.

Options being considered in the provincial aid package, to be featured in the upcoming budget, include a cash injection to help clean up thousands of inactive oil and gas wells abandoned by bankrupt companies, five sources with knowledge of the situation said.

. February 13, 2020 at 1:42 pm

Alberta environment minister says First Nations concerns with Teck Frontier are about money | CBC News

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/environment-minister-nixon-acfn-teck-frontier-1.5460388

. February 13, 2020 at 1:46 pm

Clearing the air on Teck Frontier: Here are the expected benefits — and harms — of the oilsands project

Andrew Leach & Martin Olszynski
CBC News · Posted: Feb 12, 2020 2:00 AM MT | Last Updated: February 12

The project is being framed as both a test of Prime Minister Trudeau’s resolve to combat climate change, and a referendum on the federal government’s support for Alberta’s economic interests and its commitment to national unity.

Frontier is among the most destructive oilsands projects assessed to date.

Frontier’s remediation and reclamation plans, which like all of its predecessors must address the contentious issue of the project’s tailings, are marked by a high degree of uncertainty.

Teck’s plan would see 240 million cubic metres (about 100,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools) of fluid fine tailings accumulate on the landscape by 2037.

Teck estimates that reclamation liabilities on the site will peak at $4.3 billion in 2037, and that $2.9 billion of reclamation liability will remain when the mine ceases production in 2066.

Teck’s reclamation plan requires “45 to 65 years or more” of post-closure care. Sixty-five years after the mine’s expected closure would be the year 2131.

The JRP did not make a final determination with respect to the project’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, estimated at 4.1 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year.

Whether Frontier’s significant adverse environmental effects are “justified in the circumstances” appears to depend largely on the positive economic ones. The JRP is explicit: “the economic benefits for Alberta and Canada and the expected social and economic benefits for Indigenous communities outweigh the adverse environmental effects.”

The environmental damage doesn’t change with the oil price, but economic benefits do. As oil prices change, so do the taxes, royalties and returns to investors that inform the benefit side of the equation.

These likely benefits have dropped — a lot.

. February 13, 2020 at 1:47 pm

“Moving from a 2011 oil price forecast to a current equivalent would reduce expected revenues from the Frontier project (all else equal) by about a quarter, while reducing taxes, royalties and return on capital each by about a third.

If oil prices follow the $65 plus inflation break-even cited by the Canadian Energy Centre, that would reduce revenues by almost two thirds, and taxes, royalties and returns to investors by about three quarters.

At today’s oil prices, plus inflation, revenues would be reduced by three quarters relative to 2011 forecast levels, and taxes, royalties and returns on capital would be reduced by about 95 per cent.”

. February 14, 2020 at 7:50 pm
. February 17, 2020 at 11:44 am

Liberal MPs Urge Trudeau To Reject Massive Alberta Oilsands Mine

Liberals are concerned the $20-billion project would undermine a pledge to be net zero by 2050.

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