The CAO of Alberta-based NuVista Energy was in Haliburton Monday, talking about the energy crisis in Alberta and how it relates to business in Ontario.
Jonathon Wright was joined by Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock Member of Parliament Jamie Schmale and Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce manager Jennifer Locke at the Bonnie View Inn in front of a handful of guests for a discussion and lunch.
Wright said he’d come to “just have a good fireside chat about energy, about Canada and about oil and gas.”
In addition to being the CAO of NuVista, Wright sits on the board of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).
Most of NuVista’s operations are based near Grand Prairie.
Wright said there are “a lot of misconceptions about what is happening these days” around greenhouse gas emissions and climate change as it pertains to Canada’s natural gas and oil industry. He said it is driving anti-industry rhetoric despite Canada being “the cleanest, most ethical producer [with] the highest standards in the world.”
He said it’s projected the world will need 27 per cent more energy by 2040. While he lauds the phasing out of coal, only two per cent of the world’s energy is now being supplied by renewables, such as wind and solar. That number is projected to be only six per cent by 2040 “after trillions are spent,” according to Wright.
Consequently, he said consumers still need other forms of energy, such as natural gas, oil, nuclear and hydroelectricity.
He noted Canada is the fifth largest producer of natural gas, and the sixth of oil, but is lacking investment and support. It’s gone from $81B invested in 2014 to $41B last year.
Wright emphasized that Canada needs to connect to the rest of the world via pipelines but the challenges are coming from within our country.
He attributes that to large federal government deficits; the national carbon tax; failure to expand pipeline capacity; two federal bills that are anti-pipeline and anti-marine tanker (Bill-C-69 and Bill C-48) and red tape.
He emphasized it’s not just an Alberta problem since Ontario benefits from 63,000 oil and gas sector jobs and the oil sands spend $1.9B in Ontario on supplies and services. And, yet, “entire provinces seem to think it’s okay to hold up nationally-important infrastructure projects that are critical for another province’s structure.”
He went on to say marine tanker oil shipments have doubled since 1970, yet the number of spills over seven tonnes has dropped dramatically.
He showed a slide with pipelines running all across the USA and into Canada and commented, “explain to me why we are worried about the next pipeline … the next pipeline will be the safest pipeline ever built.” He conceded there are spills from time to time, and while “terrible,” they are minor, quickly cleaned up and the faulty pipes taken out of service.
He said while there have been strides to reduce consumption, there remains a demand for gas and oil so, “we need all Canadians’ help to get pipelines built … all we want to do is go to work … we’re all part of the solution … we’re all part of the problem … we’re all using the stuff.”