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Old 10-07-2015, 04:17 PM   #21
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Different orders of magnitude:

Norway: population 5 million, 0 refineries. Oil production 1.5 million bpd. Oil consumption 224,000 bpd.

Canada: population 35 million, 15 refineries. Oil production 4 million bpd. Oil consumption 2.4 million bpd.

USA: population 318 million, 140 refineries. Oil production 9 million bpd. Oil consumption 19.5 million bpd.

There is nothing relative between the countries.

BTW, Norway has one of the largest merchant marine fleets in the world due to oil production and transport in the North Sea. A fantastic area of the world very similar to the BC Coast.

As far as being an insider, yep, I did take the plunge to join up to see for myself a couple years back. My take on it is that there is an incredible amount regulatory oversight, and Canada should be proud on how it has developed the resource. There is lots of room for improvement, but it is head and shoulders above any other oil producing area in the world in environmental affairs and worker safety. The possible exception of the North Sea. Norway has set the standard in development of the resource.
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Old 10-07-2015, 04:23 PM   #22
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I think Spy's take on the issue of where things happen and why is pretty accurate. If there was money to be made by refining oil in Canada, someone would be doing it. There is no reason not to other than cost and return. So obviously it's not cost effective to refine petroleum products on a large scale in Canada. I have no clue why. Labor cost? Environmental blockades? Labor availability? Capital availability? Inability to compete with existing refiners elsewhere?

The issue of jobs going overseas is tied directly to the cost of keeping those jobs in-country. Depending on one's point of view one could say that company management and stockholders are greedy and so want to glom onto every penny they can at the expense of "ordinary people." While I'm sure there are people like that associated with many companies, I don't believe that is really the defining reason.

Countries like the US and some of the European countries, particularly those with strong socialist setups where the government pays for a lot of services and benefits are effectively pricing themselves out of competition.

The company I work for has just announced that we are opening a 737 "finishing center" in China. 737s made in Renton, WA will be flown to this center for interior installation and painting. Initially, these will just be planes destined for customers in China.

But..... I am willing to bet that this center will grow and will eventually be assembling complete 737s just as we do in Renton. Airbus did this some years ago with their A320 family, with a complete assembly line set up in China. Whether this will or will not eventually spell the end of our 737 assembly work in the US is just a wild-ass guess at this point.

For a bazilliion reasons, the cost of the American lifestyle has increasingly made it cost-prohibitive to do more and more types of work in this country. Particularly work that involves humans and large, ongoing capital investments, like product manufacturing and assembly.

So the bottom line is we've done it to ourselves. When we have riots in our cities and looters are breaking windows and running off with stuff, what are they running off with? Not food and toilet paper. They're running off with big screen TVs and computers and stuff that our society has convinced itself are desirable possessions.

It's human nature to want better, more capable, cooler stuff but it means that we all have to have more and more disposable income in order to buy all the stuff we've convinced ourselves we need. A bigger boat, a Tesla, a nice house, the list is more or less endless.

So where to do we get the money? From getting paid more for what we do. Who pays it? The people we work for. Where do they get the extra money to pay us more? From selling whatever products and services they offer at higher prices.

That works fine until somebody else from a country or a region where the cost of living and the cost of desire isn't as high comes along and makes the same thing for a lower price.

Solution--- make your product in that same country or region to keep the cost competitive to what is now a worldwide market. So---- we make more and more of our "stuff" outside the US so we can stay in business.

There is only one solution. Reduce the cost of labor in the US, which means labor has to be willing to reduce its standard of living. And so far, we're not willing to do that. So the jobs will continue to migrate until the lack of jobs, or lack of well paying jobs, lowers our standard of living for us.

By then the same thing that's happened here (and in other developed countries) will have happened in China and South Korea and India and Sri Lanka and the US will have become the source of cheap labor for the world. And so the work will dribble back in again and the cycle will start all over. It's a very long cycle, so don't look for jobs to be coming back to the US in our lifetimes, or probably even your grandkids lifetimes. The pendulum has a long way to swing in the direction of job migration before it starts swinging back.

The only kind of work that has been coming back is work that has proven to be done poorly in other countries because of their inability--- often cultural inability--- to do it well. Call centers, for example. India is proving to be problematical in this area, so some companies are bringing this work back to the US. But this is just a drop in the bucket.

A number of years ago Harley Davidson came within about a quarter-inch of moving all motorcycle production to China. But they realized what this would do to their image and brand and ultimately sales, so they didn't do it. Instead, they jacked up the price of their product to cover their increasing costs because they knew they had no competition in a market that will cough up the extra dough to be able to say they own a Harley. But most product manufacturing companies don't have this kind of captive, wealthy market. Even in the lofty realm of commercial jetliner manufacturing we have an extremely tough competitor who, for a number of reasons, can always build a comparable product cheaper than we can.

So companies in this country move their manufacturing overseas because nobody gives a hoot in hell where an iPhone or a toaster--- or a jetliner--- is made.
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Old 10-07-2015, 06:26 PM   #23
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Hi Spy,

A quick search found two refineries in Norway at Mongstad and Slagentangen.

You bring up valid points, but I still believe if we had some guts, we'd not be exporting raw petroleum products. Heck, even the US would have to let us at least upgrade the stuff because we have a free (and therefore equal, right?) trade agreement with them How could they deny us what they do themselves?

I guess what it boils down to here on BC's north coast is that we don't want to shoulder most of the risks for the Northern Gateway project. We've had a moratorium on even the exploration of offshore oil and gas since the 1960's...if we aren't willing to risk our coastal environment for our own pot of gold, why would we do it for Alberta, especially since it's been Alberta's mismanagement of the resource which has put them in such a desperate state to get it overseas.

It'll squirt one way or another, just not here!

We'll see if it goes east...at least that proposal includes Canadian refining and lessening our dependance on foreign oil.
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Old 10-07-2015, 07:28 PM   #24
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Didn't pick up those Norwegian refineries. Big ones too. They appear to feed much of Scandinavia and the Baltic.

Not out to change your opinion. I respect that. I also recognize that you have conducted a lot of research to support your position.

I do believe the new stand against all pipelines to be knee jerk reactionary, and the consequences of such actions are fairly grave for Canada's economy. People from the states can't grasp how provincial Canada actually is. As a displaced American having lived in both Alberta and BC, I see it, but I still don't get it.

I just wish more people could defend their position better than "oil bad, pipeline bad".

The line 9 reversal makes sense to me as does the twinning of the TransMountain. I've always thought that the he Northern Gateway is pretty ambitious.

I can't understand how in Kitimat, where there was a pulp mill built by the Finns, and has a smelter owned by Australians all for the point of export, doesn't poke holes in the exporting Canada's resource rhetoric.

How do you feel about the refinery proposals for Prince Rupert and Kitimat? Frankly, I'd protest one in my area and likely move if they built one...
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Old 10-07-2015, 08:48 PM   #25
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I'm pretty sure Enbridge picked Kitimat as the terminus of their pipelines, despite the obvious geological, weather, and navigational hazards, specifically because we are such a heavily industrialized town...if any town on the coast of BC was going to chug their Kool Aid (give them "social license") surely it would be Kitimat! Another reason could have been that according to Statistics Canada, Kitimat had the honour of being Canada's fastest shrinking city and was on its knees, economically.

Fighting Enbridge during the District of Kitimat's Northern Gateway plebiscite was a real education in what it takes to achieve social license here in Kitimat.

We did have a pulp mill which chewed its way through old growth forests to make paper, but it came with about 600 jobs. There is the aluminum smelter which I believe employs about 1000 people which spews junk in the air that you can actually taste in town some days. Then there's the clear cutting of the 30 mile by 4 mile Kitimat Valley which happened in less than two decades.

People here (most of them) accepted the impacts these industries had on our local environment because they came with a substantial number of well paying jobs. Heck, there wasn't even an outcry when Northern Health revealed that people here with asthma and other breathing disorders are 60% more likely to die of complications related to their disorders than the provincial average.

Enbridge came to town with an offer of 250 local jobs...then it was one hundred and something...then it dwindled to 50...then they admitted the 1.2 billion litres stored in tanks on a ridge just south of the estuary would be controlled by the same control room in Edmonton which caused the Kalamazoo spill. They also admitted they would torch the estuary and/or dredge the salmon gravel from the bottom of the river after a dilbit pipeline rupture.

Kitimat asked itself if the benefits to the community were worth the risks, and they voted against the project.

We love this place and stay here despite the negatives of relative isolation and weather. We love the quality of life this place affords. We've seen what the cumulative industrial impacts of a mere 60 years can do to a pristine environment, and don't want to risk multigenerational harm from bitumen spills for a mere 50 jobs.

A refinery? Now that's an entirely different beast, and to speak truthfully, one battle I don't know if our scrappy little Douglas Channel Watch can win because it would come with lots of well paying jobs. Our group is seen locally as reasonable people with valid concerns, so we'd have to actually see a proposal before deciding to fight it. I'm with you though, in that if they do actually build a refinery in the Kitimat Valley, we're outta here!!

The Prince Rupert one may have legs, but then there's that lack of Treaties thing again, and all it would take is one First Nation to stop the project much like in the supreme court of Canada's ruling in Tsilhqot'in Nation v. British Columbia.

I'm hoping someone gets their head around thorium reactors or some other revolutionary technology before it starts getting really weird!
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Old 10-07-2015, 09:26 PM   #26
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The following link is a good primer on the 'problem' of all the First Nation's who have never signed Treaties in BC. Basically, as was proven in the supreme court of Canada ruling in my post above, a First Nation which has never signed a treaty has never relinquished their traditional governance of their land or its resources, and more importantly, has not adopted those of the Crown.

https://dogwoodinitiative.org/blog/angry-inch-problem

Complicating matters for the uninformed trying to understand all the maneuvering amongst First Nations, Federal & Provincial governments, and proponents is the difference between Chief Councillors and Traditional Chiefs.

Non treaty First Nation Traditional Chiefs hold the power, whereas Chief Councillors are a product of the Indian Act (something they have never signed onto) and who are limited to administering Federal Government funds to Reserves (my interpretation). Anytime you hear an announcement about such and such a First Nation signing onto a project, your first question should be, "Was it Chief Councillors or Hereditary Chiefs?" If it was a Chief Councillor, well, don't start buying stocks in that company just yet!

Just to make it even more squirrelly, each First Nation's governance structure is pretty much unique, but for the most part as I understand it First Nation's are composed of clans or houses, with each one having a Hereditary Chief and Wing Chiefs who support him or her. In matters of great concern or impact (usually considered for 7 generations into the future) the Hereditary Chief will follow the will of his/her clan members...if all the clan groups within one First Nation unanimously agree, then they go ahead with the project.

Ironic, isn't it, that it could be First Nation's democratic principles which kill a project so energetically promoted by Canada's version of a democratic dictatorship
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Old 10-07-2015, 09:57 PM   #27
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...and if you're still engaged in this information (I've likened it to looking at a ball of cooked spaghetti and trying to figure out which noodle goes where) here's one court case that could kill the whole Northern Gateway project once and for all;

Adding to the pile: Another legal challenge regarding Enbridge’s Northern Gateway proposal argues BC is required to make its own decision | West Coast Environmental Law
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Old 10-10-2015, 11:54 AM   #28
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I just wish more people could defend their position better than "oil bad, pipeline bad".
Hi again Spy,

Maybe this letter which was published in several Alberta and BC newspapers in 2013 will help you understand why there is so much opposition to Enbridge's Northern Gateway proposal.

(Don't want to toot my own horn about my predictive soothsaying abilities too much, but this letter did foretell the collapse of Alberta's Conservative Party...we'll see if the Harper prediction comes true as well!)

"Dear Alberta,

This letter comes to you from Kitimat, BC, which is ground zero for Enbridge's Northern Gateway dual pipeline and supertanker port proposal. This is where the combined risks of the proposed pipelines, tank farm, and supertankers all meet. I hope this letter helps you see things from Kitimat's, and BC's, perspective.

Since 1959 BC has had a voluntary moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration. Despite sitting on top of our own pot of petro-gold, no politician has been willing to destroy their career by suggesting we risk the coastal environment, or all the fisheries and tourism jobs it supports, by allowing even exploratory drilling to occur.

So this begs the question; if it isn't worth the risk for us, why should we risk it for you?

It pains almost every British Columbian to see logging trucks going down the highway these days because we know most of it is raw logs destined for Asian markets, not for local sawmills providing local jobs. We know the pain of a Provincial Government making bad decisions. We will not allow your Provincial Government to force diluted bitumen across the Coast Mountains, or through our complex coastline, in a desperate attempt to save themselves from their colossal mismanagement of your Tar Sands.

Why should BC carry the majority of the risk? Shouldn't you be pressuring your Provincial Government to better manage your resources? Why is Alberta so cash strapped that you have to squander what you have so quickly, without adding value? Where did the money go, and why did the companies in the Tar Sands get away with so paying so little?

Back in the late 80's and early 90's in Vancouver Island's Clayaquot Sound, the early clear cut logging protesters hoped that 600 people might show up to help them stop the logging. A total of 10,000 people made their way out there, and almost 1000 got arrested. This was before the Internet and in a single valley on the island's western edge. Can you imagine how many tens of thousands would show up on construction blockades across the width of BC if Enbridge attempts to build the Gateway project?

If your hopes rest on Prime Minister Harper approving the project, good luck with that. Harper became involved in politics because he didn't like the way Ottawa was telling Albertans what to do. Ironic, isn't it then, that if he tries to push large diluted bitumen pipelines through to British Columbia's coastline, he'll effectively be committing political suicide. He needs BC if he ever wants to be Prime Minister again, and he sure needs BC if he still covets a "majority" in the House of Commons.

Almost operatic in scale isn't it, how the very thing which lured him into politics could ultimately poison his political future. I've taken to calling it, Harper's Folly.

So there you have it. We aren't willing to risk the things we value most to bail your Province out of its colossal mismanagement of the Tar Sands. Hope you have a good plan B, and don't forget to hold your Provincial Politicians to task for the position you now find yourselves in.

Murray Minchin"


Both the Liberals and NDP have said that if they form the next federal government they will cancel this project. Things are shaping up so it looks like BC might decide the upcoming election...we'll find out in 9 days if it's enough of an issue to kick Harper out.
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Old 10-10-2015, 12:25 PM   #29
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Murray it's time to move.
As you know Kitimat was specifically created by the government as an industry town/centre. It's existence is attributed to Alcan, and everyone there either works for the company or his income is dependant on the spending of it's employees.
Canada is a really BIG place, I can think of many better places to live.
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Old 10-10-2015, 12:37 PM   #30
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Murray it's time to move.
As you know Kitimat was specifically created by the government as an industry town/centre. It's existence is attributed to Alcan, and everyone there either works for the company or his income is dependant on the spending of it's employees.
Canada is a really BIG place, I can think of many better places to live.
The Haisla were here for thousands of years before Alcan showed up. The District of Kitimat held a plebiscite on this very question, and Enbridge lost. I am not alone.
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Old 10-10-2015, 12:47 PM   #31
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The Haisla were here for thousands of years before Alcan showed up. The District of Kitimat held a plebiscite on this very question, and Enbridge lost. I am not alone.
Well yes, the Natives were everywhere before we arrived. I don't think anyone is going to give back North America.
The question is, do YOU want to make this your life struggle and probably die prematurely by way of some cancer causing by-product of your local industry, or do you want to live a happy, healthy and long life in a more conducive geographical location.
Just imagine, less rain, clear air and warmth.
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Old 10-10-2015, 01:14 PM   #32
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The question is, do YOU want to make this your life struggle...
Already have. Was an Intervenor in the JRP hearings and intend to defend the place I love. Thanks, but I think I'll stay right here, where Humpbacks feed beside the marina, where I have never felt crowded on the water, anchorages are mostly empty, and where we've seen 10 whales within a half hour from the dock.

Like I said earlier, the stuff will squirt one way or another, but this place (north coast mountains) has too many geohazards and then there's those troublesome 'Z' turns to get into Douglas Channel from Hecate Strait.

Sorry, but you'll have to find another patsy to keep those stock dividends coming in.
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Old 10-10-2015, 01:19 PM   #33
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Sorry, but you'll have to find another patsy to keep those stock dividends coming in.
Sorry, no stock dividends here. Good luck in your life struggle
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Old 10-10-2015, 01:26 PM   #34
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Sorry, no stock dividends here. Good luck in your life struggle
Thanks for the positive support

Hope you find some place that equally inspires you to defend against such a high risk / low reward project which has such potential for multigenerational harm...see avatar.
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Old 10-20-2015, 03:27 PM   #35
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Liberal majority...complete Conservative slap-down from the Canadian people...goodbye Northern Gateway...(might take a while to let the JRP timelines run out)...insert my smiley face here;

Sent this to friend on October 14th;

"I finally figured out Harper's "Justin...he's just not ready yet" campaign. The Liberals lost a bunch of support to the Cons when Stephan Dionne was at the helm, then lost even more last election when Ignatieff headed the Liberals. Harper knows if those swing voters go back to the Liberals, he's well and truly F****D!"

Another smiley face;
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Old 10-20-2015, 04:34 PM   #36
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The Liberal Party will say anything to anyone to get elected. I wouldn't put too much into any of their election promises. At least one knows where the CP and the NDP stand.

My prediction on pipelines; Gateway dead, all others supported.
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:28 PM   #37
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Mr Trudeau is a very smart man. He knows that to get elected you run down business of any sort especially the oil guys in maverick Alberta. He also knows that to stay elected job creation is king.

Kitimat as an oil and gas hub was DOA from the outset but hope springs eternal. I know for a fact that ALCAN and Rio Tinto hated the negative publicity that was running rampant on the issues and can now get back to business as usual - quietly refining Al from bauxite that is hauled up the channel in very big ships.

As Mr. Trudeau knows (learned from his father), job growth in the cyclical resource business requires that one strike while the iron is hot, or better said when commodity prices are up. The world is not short of oil and gas. What Canada has lost during this nearly decade long attempt to move product from the West Coast is what drives the oil business - market share.

Canada's oil based export market share revenue loss will gladly and easily be made up by exports from the Middle East, the US (yes it will happen) and Venezuela when they become less silly. Russia is chomping at the bit to sell more oil. The final nail in the oil growth coffin for the Middle East will be internal Chinese production whether from disputed offshore land or fracking inland.

To keep the high cost tar sand exports alive from Canada a C$ of around 75 cents US or less is needed. So far so good in this regard.
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:35 PM   #38
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My prediction on pipelines; Gateway dead, all others supported.
Fine by me.

I'll leave it up to the people who might be impacted by those other pipeline (and increased supertanker traffic) proposals to decide which side of the risk/reward scale those projects fall. I was only engaged to win the local Northern Gateway battle. Five years of my life was enough!
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Old 10-20-2015, 07:34 PM   #39
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Since this turned into a Whale of a political thread, the only good news that I can see from the Liberal win is that they promise to reopen the Coast Guard base in Downtown Vancouver. This should cut the response time to half.
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Old 10-20-2015, 10:41 PM   #40
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Murray, Spy and others...........


I have not closely followed what has happened with the Tar Sands projects in Alberta so I'm not aware of the mess that has turned in to.


Would either or all of you who are familiar with this mess please start another thread (no hijack intended here) and 'splain it to those of us who are not at all related to the oil industry so we know what's happening?


Other than The Messiah (Obama) killing the Keystone pipeline project, I'm admittedly in the dark about all of that.


Thanks, and I've enjoyed reading this intelligent and interesting discussion.
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