Energy & Commodities

Alberta inquiry finds no wrongdoing in anti-oilsands campaign despite foreign funds

Canadian environmental groups did nothing wrong when they accepted foreign funding for campaigns opposing oilsands development, a public inquiry has reported.

In his much-delayed report released Thursday, Steve Allan, commissioner of the Inquiry into Anti-Alberta Energy Campaigns, says the groups were exercising their rights to free speech.

“I have not found any suggestions of wrongdoing on the part of any individual or organization,” Allan writes.

“No individual or organization, in my view, has done anything illegal. Indeed, they have exercised their rights of free speech.”

Allan also says the campaigns have not spread misinformation.

While he finds that at least $1.28 billion has flowed into Canadian environmental charities from the U.S. between 2003 and 2019, only a small portion of that has been directed against the oilsands. Auditors Deloitte Forensic Inc. estimate that money at between $37.5 million and $58.9 million over that period. That averages to $3.5 million a year at most.

Alberta’s United Conservative government funds its so-called “war room,” an arm’s-length agency instituted to counter environmental groups, at up to $30 million a year…read more.

What’s Made from a Barrel of Oil?

From the gasoline in our cars to the plastic in countless everyday items, crude oil is an essential raw material that shows up everywhere in our lives.

With around 18 million barrels of crude oil consumed every day just in America, this commodity powers transport, utilities, and is a vital ingredient in many of the things we use on a daily basis.

Crude oil is primarily refined into various types of fuels to power transport and vital utilities. More than 85% of crude oil is refined into fuels like gasoline, diesel, and hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGLs) like propane and butane.

Along with being fuels for transportation, heating, and cooking, HGLs are used as feedstock for the production of chemicals, plastics, and synthetic rubber, and as additives for motor gasoline production.

Crude oil not only powers our vehicles, but it also helps pave the roads we drive on. About 4% of refined crude oil becomes asphalt, which is used to make concrete and different kinds of sealing and insulation products.

Although transportation and utility fuels dominate a large proportion of refined products, essential everyday materials like wax and plastic are also dependent on crude oil. With about 10% of refined products used to make plastics, cosmetics, and textiles, a barrel of crude oil can produce a variety of unexpected everyday products.

Personal care products like cosmetics and shampoo are made using petroleum products, as are medical supplies like IV bags and pharmaceuticals. Modern life would look very different without crude oil…read more.

John Catsimatidis: $100 Oil Is Likely

With oil prices rallying in recent weeks, it looks like we are going to see $100 a barrel oil, John Catsimatidis, who is active in both the oil and food business, told FOX Business on Monday.

“With oil nearly at $84 this morning, we are going to see $100 oil, it looks like, there’s no sign of it stopping,” said Catsimatidis, who is chief executive of United Refining Company, and president and CEO of Gristedes, D’Agostino Foods, and the Red Apple Group.

“Food prices are going up tremendously,” Catsimatidis told FOX Business.

Food prices are going up very fast because nobody wants to be behind the curve, and everyone is raising prices, the executive said.

Catsimatidis expects prices to rise by 10 percent in the next 60 days, inflation not to go away any time soon, and supply-chain issues to likely persist through the middle of 2022.

The billionaire U.S. businessman with interests in the oil and food business, among others, is not alone in his forecast that oil prices could hit $100 per barrel.

Oil could hit $100 in case of a colder winter, some analysts and investment banks have said in recent weeks. Record-high natural gas prices are forcing some utilities to switch to oil derivatives instead, boosting demand for crude…read more.

Global gas crisis is spilling over into oil markets, IEA says

Shortages of natural gas in Europe and Asia are boosting demand for oil, deepening what was already a sizable supply deficit in crude markets, the International Energy Agency said.

Crude has surged above US$80 a barrel, the highest in three years, as traders anticipated that record gas prices would stimulate consumption of other fuels, particularly for power generation. That’s already happening and could add about 500,000 barrels a day to oil use on average over the coming six months, the IEA said on Thursday.

“An acute shortage of natural gas, LNG and coal supplies stemming from the gathering global economic recovery has sparked a precipitous run-up in prices for energy supplies and is triggering a massive switch to oil products,” the IEA said. “Provisional August data already indicates that there is some unseasonably high demand for fuel oil, crude and middle distillates for power plants across a number of countries, including China.”

The latest analysis from the agency, which advises industrialized countries on energy policy, shows how the acute shortage of natural gas is spilling over into other markets and the broader economy. The crisis is deepening the current oil-supply deficit, potentially disrupting OPEC’s careful plan to gradually revive idle production. It’s roiling energy-intensive industries and threatens to curb GDP growth and boost inflation…read more.

‘No growing support’ for fossil fuel divestment: RBC

Working with the fossil fuel industry to improve its environmental impact is seen as more effective than divesting from the emissions-heavy sector, according to RBC Global Asset Management’s latest survey on environmental, social and governance-focused (ESG) investments.

The asset management division of Canada’s largest bank found global institutional investors preferred engagement (45 per cent) over divestment (10 per cent) by a more than four-to-one margin, a slight increase from 40 per cent a year ago. However, the result comes as some major investment funds sell off oil and gas holdings in pursuit of a greener portfolio. Many of those decisions have targeted companies in Canada’s oil patch.

“Over the last three years, there has been no growing support for divestment amongst institutional investors, indicating a clear preference for engaging in dialogue with companies,” the survey’s authors wrote…read more.