Welcome to Net Zero, your daily industry brief on clean energy and Canadian-resource politics.
In a 2-1 ruling, the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday concluded that the permit granted by the Public Utilities Commission to Enbridge Inc., for its Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project was valid.
The ruling comes after more than 1,000 protestors against the pipeline gathered in northern Minnesota last week, writes the Associated Press.
Opponents to the replacement of the 1960s-era pipeline, which included Indigenous groups and climate activities, as well as the state Department of Commerce, had said “that Enbridge’s oil demand projections failed to meet the legal requirements.”
While Judge Lucinda Jesson and Judge Michael Kirk affirmed the approvals for the re-construction of the pipeline, Judge Peter Reyes dissented, echoing the opponents that “the oil demand forecast was flawed.”
He also said work on the pipeline segment that runs through the state from Alberta to Wisconsin would “have negative consequences for the hunting, fishing, and other rights of the Red Lake and White Earth tribes.”
“Such a decision cannot stand. Enbridge needs Minnesota for its new pipeline,” Reyes wrote. “But Enbridge has not shown that Minnesota needs the pipeline.”
Meanwhile, opponents expressed disappointment with the decision.
“There’s a good chance we’ll appeal because we should … but I don’t think a remedy’s going to come out of it that’s going to be meaningful for us,” said Frank Bibeau, an attorney for the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and other pipeline opponents.
“Today’s court decision is a step backwards, but not the end of this years-long fight to protect the health and livability of our state and climate,” said Brent Murcia, of the Youth Climate Intervenors. Reuters has more.
Toronto-based Centerra Gold Inc., is thinking about cutting ties with its Kumtor gold mine in Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz Republic took over the mine in May, and relations between Centerra and the government have since “soured,” writes Bloomberg News.
“When you look at this current situation it’s clearly the ultimate logjam here between us and the government,” said Scott Perry, CEO of Centerra. “It’s clear what the government wants so let’s sit down, let’s engage, let’s negotiate.”
In other news, Australia’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources has opened 21 new areas to oil and gas exploration off the coast of Victoria. The areas stretch across six basins and cover 80,000 square kilometres, the Guardian reports.
“The carving up of the oceans to hand them to the fossil fuel companies happens without any environmental consideration and without any meaningful space for the community to have their say,” said Jess Lerch, a national campaigner for the Wilderness Society, an Australian environmental advocacy organization.
Tuesday’s announcement was also accompanied by Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s address to the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association’s annual conference, where he stated that oil and gas would “always” be a major contributor to the country’s economy.
Still with oil and gas exploration, climate activists that unsuccessfully sought to halt Arctic oil and gas drilling in Norway in December 2020 will file an application to the European Court of Human Rights, citing that such exploration “breaches fundamental human rights.”
Indigenous groups such as the Sami people have been “losing their way of life because of rising temperatures,” said Ella Marie Haetta Isaksen, one of the activists involved in the case. “My parents are fishing salmon every year, but because of climate change we can’t do it anymore,” Isaksen said. “It affects a large part of their nutrition.” Bloomberg News also has this story.
On Tuesday morning at 9:08 a.m., West Texas Intermediate was trading at US$71.75 and Brent Crude was going for US$73.56.
A proposed four-megawatt solar farm in southern Yukon made up of 9,600 panels is being called “the biggest the territory has ever seen if built.”
“The comments (from the Carcross/Tagish First Nation) have been very, very proud of us for moving forward on a project like this,” said Taylor Love, the CEO of the Carcross/Tagish Management Corporation, which is based in Whitehorse. “And I think it’s a proud moment for the Yukon as well to be able to bring this type of green energy project and this type of scale to the Yukon.”
The project is currently being reviewed by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board, while comments on the proposal can be submitted until June 22. CBC News has this story.
Finally, according to a report jointly commissioned by Statistics Canada and the Canada Energy Regulator, the value of Canada’s crude oil exports “has increased over 15-fold in the last 30 years.” Specifically, oil accounted for more than 14 per cent of Canada’s total exports in 2019, versus only 3.6 per cent in 1990.
Between 2010 and 2015, heavy oil exports rose by 12.5 per cent on average each year because of increased production from the oilsands.
“The world thought it was running out of oil so capital was poured into the oilsands which were seen as one of the few last places in the world that was free and open to foreign investment to drive oil and gas production higher to meet anticipated growing demand,” said Kevin Birn, a chief analyst for IHS Markit. The Canadian Press has the details.
Canadian Crude Index was trading at US$56.27 and Western Canadian Select was going for US$57.38 this morning at 9:08 a.m.