The Round-Up: June 27th 2007

Oilman bullish on Canada

'Essential to grow oilsands supply'

Cost overruns, policy uncertainty, environmental concerns, labour shortages -- they're some of the spoilers that made investors skittish about the oilsands in the past year.

Henry Groppe, the star U.S. oil forecaster who has been following world oil supplies, politics and prices for more than half a century, remains a believer -- and he's not shy about telling Canadians to get a grip.

In fact, the founder of Houston-based Groppe, Long & Littell is so convinced Canada's deposits are now the only source of growing oil production in the world he's helping launch a unique effort aimed at Canadian investors -- the first mutual fund, Oilsands Canada Corp., to invest exclusively in companies in the business. It will hold more than 40 names.

"Canada, Alberta, because of the oilsands, is the only producing source for which we forecast continually increasing production as far into the future as we can see," Mr. Groppe said in an interview in Calgary last week, where he was marketing the investment with fund manager Middlefield Capital Corp.

"Whatever problems arise -- whether they be political, physical or resource-related -- are going to be resolved ultimately, because it's essential to grow that oilsands supply for the world."

He said his firm stopped using reserves to forecast future production in its early days because it found it was a "dismal failure." He remains skeptical about how much oil will ultimately be extracted with new technologies, which often take a long time to be productive.

"So you have got a trillion barrels of oil in this oil shale in Colorado. What does that mean? There is no correlation between the volume of reserves or the volume of production or the rate at which production increases," he said.

"The better method is to examine very carefully all of the past exploration and drilling activity and the production that it has produced, and look at the depletion rates and look at how much additional production is provided with additional drilling, and use those facts as a basis for projecting what the trends in production will be," he said.

Oil companies borrowing by the billions

Information emerged Monday about three Calgary-based oil companies issuing bonds or securing new credit, worth a total of about $2.4-billion, primarily to fund their share of capital costs for oilsands projects.

The largest borrowing was made made by Western Oil Sands Inc., which said it had closed a new $805-million, five-year revolving bank credit facility. "The debt will be used to finance our share of capital requirements for the first phase expansion of the Athabasca Oil Sands project and for general corporate purposes," said a Western statement. There was no word either on the spread or financing rate for the facility.

The project is a fully-integrated expansion of the existing Athabasca facilities in northern Alberta to add 100,000 barrels per day of production by 2010. The debt was arranged by RBC Capital Markets and replaces Western's existing $340-million revolving credit facility.

The announcement comes after Western CEOJim Houck reiterated that all options are being kept open to "maximize value" from the company, interpreted widely as putting itself up for sale. And Opti Canada Inc. announced that it would stage a US$750-million bond issue as part of a financing plan to fund its term-loan facility and the Long Lake project at Athabasca. The firm also said that it has delayed by two months the commissioning and startup of its steam-assisted gravity drainage facilities for the oilsands project. However, it will not impact full production, due by early 2009.

Oil patch loads up on cheap debt

Attractive bond rates appear to be the trigger for a small avalanche of new debt that swept into the oil patch Monday, most of it apparently destined to finance oil sands development.

Western Oil Sands Inc. said it has closed a new $805-million five-year credit facility, replacing and greatly enlarging on an existing $340-million facility, while Opti Canada Inc. announced a new financing for up to $750-million U.S. in senior secured notes to be issued by way of a private offering.

Add these to a Bloomberg News report Monday morning that Suncor Inc. plans to sell as much as $750-million in bonds as early as today, and the total works out to more than $2.25-billion (U.S.) in new debt announced in a single day.

The bond market is so hot right now . . . it's not surprising to me that that's happening, Opti Canada investor relations manager Alison Trollope said of the busy day in oil-patch debt raising when reached at the company's head office in Calgary.

US demand for Canadian oil seen doubling in 8 yrs

U.S. demand for Canadian oil is expected to double in the next eight years, and domestic use could jump 44 percent as Alberta's oil sands output surges, the Canadian oil industry's main lobby group said on Monday.

However, that production growth could be tempered by the same problems that have plagued the oil sands industry throughout this decade -- labor shortages and inflation in the cost of materials like steel, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said.

U.S. refiners could use 3.1 million barrels a day of Canadian crude by 2015, a volume that exceeds the country's current oil output by 29 percent, the association said in its annual crude oil forecast.

Canada is already the biggest foreign oil supplier to the United States, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, shipping about 1.6 million barrels a day in 2006, CAPP said.

"This is the first time we went out and did a review of refineries and found many of them looking more to the North than they had in the past. We heard more talking about refinery reconfigurations,"CAPP Vice-President Greg Stringham said.

"I think that in itself is caused by their realization that the oil supply is going to be growing ... they're saying even that gives them the momentum to start making the adaptations they need to do to their refineries."

Lester Brown Speaks to Senate on Biofuels Blunder

Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute president and author of Plan B 2.0 yesterday briefed the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on the potential implications of a continued rush towards corn ethanol. The paper Lester Brown submitted to the Committee begins thus:

The escalating share of the U.S. grain harvest going to ethanol distilleries is driving up food prices worldwide. Investment in fuel ethanol distilleries has soared since gasoline prices jumped at the end of 2005. Once completed, distilleries now under construction could double U.S. ethanol output, turning nearly 30 percent of next years U.S. grain harvest into fuel for automobiles. This unprecedented diversion of the worlds leading grain crop to the production of fuel will affect food prices everywhere, risking political instability.

The world is only 57 days away from a major humanitarian disaster in food supplies, and, given the unpredictable nature of weather patterns in recent years, and predictions of worse to come, the potential for crop failures are on the increase.

Against this backdrop, Washington is consumed with ethanol euphoria. President Bush in his State of the Union address set a production goal for 2017 of 35 billion gallons of alternative fuels, including grain-based and cellulosic ethanol, and fuel from coal. Given the current difficulties in producing cellulosic ethanol at a competitive cost and given the mounting public opposition to coal fuels, which are far more carbon-intensive than gasoline, most of the fuel to meet this goal might well have to come from grain. This could take most of the U.S. grain harvest, leaving little grain to meet U.S. needs, much less those of the hundred or so countries that import grain.

The stage is now set for direct competition for grain between the 800 million people who own automobiles, and the worlds 2 billion poorest people. The risk is that millions of those on the lower rungs of the global economic ladder will start falling off as rising food prices drop their consumption below the survival level.

Click herefor full text.

Peak Suburbia - Kunstler

The latest statistical work by Dallas geologist Jeffrey Brown over at The Oil, suggests that something else is happening, something that was not anticipated: an imminent oil export crisis. This Export Land Theory states that exporting nations will have far less oil available for export than was previously assumed under older models. (Story Here.) The theory states that export rates will drop by a far greater percentage than net production decline rates in any given exporting country. For example, The UK's portion of the North Sea oil fields may be showing a nine percent annual decline for the past couple of years. But it's export capacity has declined 60 percent.

Something similar is in store for Saudi Arabia, Russia, Mexico, Venezuela in short, the whole cast of characters in the export world. They are all producing less and they are all using more of their own oil, and have less to send elsewhere.

Brown's math suggests that world oil exports will drop by 50 percent within the next five years, certainly enough to trigger a systemic breakdown in market allocation, meaning serious supply shortages among the importing nations. That's us. We import two-thirds of all the oil we use.

The implication in all this is that the activities that have become "normal" for us during the post World War Two era will very shortly become untenable. An economy based on suburban expansion and incessant motoring is on the top of the list of supposedly "normal" activities that will not be able to continue. I would maintain that even if we had 20 years, no combination of bio-fuels and other alternatives would enable us to keep suburbia running. But this latest work indicates that we have much less time to adjust.

Canada can't afford to meet Kyoto goal, energy analysts say

Cutting emissions or buying credits too costly

Energy sector analysts in British Columbia said Friday they agree with Prime Minister Harper's contention that Canada cannot afford to comply with Kyoto protocol requirements that came into force this week.

A Liberal private member's bill committing Canada to Kyoto compliance was given royal assent in the Senate Friday, but B.C. analysts Jock Finlayson and Aldyen Donnelly said they do not believe the government is willing to burden taxpayers with the tens of billions of dollars it would cost to carry out.

The protocol calls on Canada to reduce carbon dioxide emissions below their 1990 levels.

"It's not clear to me that there's going to be any new measures introduced in the short term around greenhouse gas reductions beyond those that Environment Minister John Baird released in April," Finlayson, executive vice-president of the Business Council of B.C., said in a telephone interview.

"The latest Environment Canada estimate is that Canadian emissions in 2005 were 747 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. They've gone up from 596 million tonnes in 1990.

"Our Kyoto target is 563 million tonnes. The reduction is almost 200 million tonnes.

"You could take every vehicle off the road in Canada, every car, every truck, every bus, every motorcycle, as well as throw in lawnmowers and barbecues tomorrow morning all the way through 2012 and that still would be nowhere near enough to achieve that target."

Scarce water and population boom leads California to 'perfect drought'

No rain forecast in south of state until September Sprinklers and car washing could be stopped

A typical summer's day in Los Angeles: temperatures nudge the nineties, the sun blazes high in the sky, palm trees sway in the ocean breeze, and sprinklers spray a fine mist of water into the scorching air. But if the predictions of climatologists, environmentalists, city planners and the head of the water board are correct, the sprinklers and many other of the comforts that have made southern California habitable may have to be turned off.

Experts across the city concur that the conditions are ripe in southern California for the "perfect drought". Los Angeles has recorded just 8.15cm (3.21in ) of rain in the year ending June 30, making it the driest year on record since 1877. According to the National Drought Mitigation Centre, southern California faces "extreme drought" this year, with no rain forecast before September. One climatologist referred to the temperatures in Los Angeles as "Death Valley numbers".

The Sierra Nevada mountains, which typically provide Los Angeles with 50% of its water, have provided just 20% of their normal volume this year, and the snowpack is at its lowest for 20 years. Pumping from an aquifer in the San Fernando Valley was stopped this month because it was contaminated with chromium 6.

Greenland ice may melt much faster: U.N. scientist

New research shows that man-made climate change could cause the Greenland ice sheet to break up in hundreds, rather than thousands, of years, the chair of a United Nations panel of scientists said on Monday. Its entire collapse would raise sea-levels globally by around 7 meters (23 feet), they said.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its five-yearly report earlier this year, and described threats from global warming including sea-level rise of up to 79 centimeters this century.

It said that the entire Greenland ice sheet would melt over a period of thousands of years, if temperatures remained around 2 degrees centigrade (3.6 Fahrenheit) or more above the levels predating wholesale industrialization in the developed world. But the new research, not considered by the IPCC, could change that view, according to Bert Metz, a senior IPCC member.

"No models that predict sea level rise include this," he told Reuters on the fringes of a climate change conference hosted by Chatham House in London on Monday. "It's plausible that the whole thing could disintegrate in hundreds of years, an order of magnitude faster."

Housing not just their headache

It might be easy for Canadian investors to laugh off the housing-market woes that continue to grip the United States. But when those woes send the S&P/TSX composite index into a triple-digit tailspin, you have to wonder if the laughter is justified.

The S&P/TSX composite index fell 144.17 points, or just over 1%, yesterday. This month, there have been four trading days when the Canadian benchmark index has fallen 1% or more, making it the most volatile month of the year.

Are oil prices plummeting? No. Crude oil prices held steady at just over US$69 a barrel in New York yesterday, putting oil at a nine-month high. Did bad economic news surface? No. In fact, bond yields declined a little, easing concerns about rising borrowing costs. A sudden change in the outlook at the Bank of Canada? Again, no.

Instead, investors are getting jittery again about the state of the U.S. housing market and its potential to spill into the wider U.S. economy -- which, of course, is not good news for Canada.

Yesterday, the National Association of Realtors reported that the U.S. median home price in May was 2.1% below the average price in May, 2006.

This marked the 10th consecutive year-over-year price decline in the United States and showed that the much-anticipated bottoming of the market could be further into the future than many observers had hoped.

"With an unprecedented amount of supply on the market, home prices look likely to continue declining after registering their 10th straight month in negative territory on a year-over-year basis,"said Benjamin Reitzes, an economic analyst at BMO Capital Markets, in a note to clients.

"This gloomy picture will probably be corroborated by Tuesday's new home sales release."

BIS warns of Great Depression dangers from credit spree

The Bank for International Settlements, the world's most prestigious financial body, has warned that years of loose monetary policy has fuelled a dangerous credit bubble, leaving the global economy more vulnerable to another 1930s-style slump than generally understood.

"Virtually nobody foresaw the Great Depression of the 1930s, or the crises which affected Japan and Southeast Asia in the early and late 1990s. In fact, each downturn was preceded by a period of non-inflationary growth exuberant enough to lead many commentators to suggest that a 'new era' had arrived", said the bank.

The BIS, the ultimate bank of central bankers, pointed to a confluence a worrying signs, citing mass issuance of new-fangled credit instruments, soaring levels of household debt, extreme appetite for risk shown by investors, and entrenched imbalances in the world currency system.

Banks Fight to Postpone Day of Reckoning

Bear Sterns is a leading provider of services to hedge funds; it is also one of the largest originators of subprime backed Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs). CDOs are what their name implies: a security backed by collateral. CDOs are created when mortgages with various risk profiles are grouped into different tranches or segments. Amongst others, Bear Sterns would create a CDO in a bundle according to a clients specifications. Indeed, Bear Sterns would work with a rating agency, such as Moody's, to obtain the desired rating (a practice likely to face more scrutiny as some allege that Moody's no longer acts as an independent rating agency, but as a syndicator in the offering).

The explosive demand in this sector has attracted ever more creative structures. Investors should have grown concerned when dealmakers started suggesting that one can create a higher grade security by grouping together a couple of lower grade securities; it is rare that 1+1 equals 3.

As these instruments have grown more complex, the clients buying these instruments often do not have a full understanding of what they buy.

How do you make a bestseller better? You introduce leverage. Not only can leverage be introduced in the credit derivatives that define some of these securities, but brokers eager to attract hedge fund business may also accept CDOs as collateral to lend money. The hedge fund now attracting so much attention is Bear Sterns High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Enhanced Leverage Fund; it was launched only 10 months ago; it shall be noted that Bear Sterns did not put much of its own money into the fund, but supplied many of the CDOs. $600 million in invested capital was boosted with borrowings of about $6 billion.

The collateral provided by the fund had the highest ratings by Moodys. However, a high rating does not assure that the CDOs are liquid, i.e. that they can be sold off on short notice. This became painfully clear as bets of the fund were creating heavy losses and some lenders asked for more collateral for the loans extended; in the industry, this is called a margin call. Bear Sterns told other lenders, including Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan and Citigroup that the fund was unable to provide more collateral. On a side note, it is rather grotesque that Merrill, J.P. Morgan and Citigroup are amongst the larger investors in a fund managed by Bear Sterns; Bear Sterns put little of its own money into the fund.

Bear's Big Loss Arouses SEC Interest

The SEC is inquiring into the near-collapse of its fund, and Bear Stearns CEO James Cayne's reputation may be on the line

Bear Stearns (BSC) may have a lot of explaining to do about a big restatement of losses at one of its troubled hedge fundsand not just to its investors. BusinessWeek has learned that the Securities & Exchange Commission recently opened a preliminary inquiry into the near-collapse of Bear Stearns' High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Enhanced Leveraged Fund. People familiar with the inquiry say regulators are interested in learning how the Wall Street investment firm came to dramatically restate the April losses for the 10-month-old fund, which invested heavily in securities backed by subprime mortgages, or home loans to consumers with shaky credit histories.

As BusinessWeek first reported, Bear Stearns told investors May 15 that the Enhanced Leveraged fund which raised $642 million last summerhad lost 6.5% in April. But three weeks after that estimate, the investment firm shocked investors on June 7, telling them that the fund's actual April loss was 18.97%, or 23% for the year.

The restatement, and the prospect that other hedge funds could face the same situation, has sparked widespread concern on Wall Street about the subprime housing market and the opacity of prices for assets underlying many of the securitized mortgage bonds that have flooded the market in recent years. In the June 7 letter to investors, Bear Stearns provided no explanation for the discrepancy, but added "we do not currently have any reason to believe that the returns will change materially." At the same time Bear Stearns was serving up that sobering news, the Wall Street firm quickly moved to suspend investor redemptions, fearing the hedge fund would not able to liquidate enough bonds to satisfy the demands of investors or the other Wall Street banks that had lent the fund billions of dollars.

Higher gas prices a cure for speeding tickets?

When gasoline prices hit $1.50 a litre, watch for a lot of your fellow citizens to ease up on the accelerator.

That's the threshold at which 46 per cent of Canadians say they will change how they use their vehicles, according to a survey conducted for mutual fund operator Investors Group (IG) of Winnipeg.

Hydro supply feels the heat

It's unclear whether the appeal helped. Electricity demand peaked late yesterday afternoon at 25,737 megawatts, ranking as the 11th-highest level of peak power consumption in the province's history. The record is 27,005 megawatts, hit last summer on Aug. 1.

Yesterday's peak not only surpassed projections, it also exceeded the province's total generation capacity, requiring more than 1,300 megawatts of net imports from the United States and Quebec.

The projection today is a peak of 26,417 MW at 5pm.
Consumption over 25GW already (1pm).
33C in Toronto and Ottawa; 30C in London, Windsor.

Put a price on emissions now or else, report says

The slower Canada is to put a price tag on greenhouse gas emissions, the greater the damage to the economy will be, a report commissioned by Environment Canada will say Wednesday.

You could take every vehicle off the road in Canada, every car, every truck, every bus, every motorcycle, as well as throw in lawnmowers and barbecues tomorrow morning all the way through 2012 and that still would be nowhere near enough to achieve that target.

Well, here in NS, transportation is up around 28% of GG emissions, so I call shenanigans on the above quote, since a 28% cut would be pretty damn close to the 35% needed.

But dammit, no one is suggesting such a ridiculous solution. Low-hanging fruit, people! Replace coal burning power plants with wind/solar/conservation/hydro-tidal. Make solo car commuting harder to do and non-car commuting easier. Stop digging up large sections of Northern Alberta and burning all our NG to do it. Once again, the "it can't be done" crowd is in the way of those who would at least like to try.

And Billions (oooh, scary!) of dollars isn't really that much...Alberta ran a 9 Billion dollar surplus this year alone. The money is out there.

I'll throw in a link from our local "indie" paper, which is an article containing some pretty basic ideas that we already know how to do :

Oh, and the link to the article I quoted in the roundup is broken....

Mr. Finlayson is right. The national emissions from transportation will add to about 197 million tonnes CO2e this year, of which about 150 million would be from road vehicles. Off-road diesel is the largest component of the balance, which also includes rail and domestic marine. Besides all the vehicles, we'd have to shut down our resource industries and stop the trains and ferries.

There's quite a variation in transportation emissions from province to province. Here in BC, for example, transportation emissions are 38% of the total because the province's abundant hydro power makes emissions from generating electricity abnormally low.

Though I've said this before, it's worth repeating that Canada can't possibly meet its Kyoto commitment. The target has to be met on the basis of the five-year average emissions between next year and 2012; it's not the target for 2012 alone.

Stoneleigh , thanks. I just loved the Lester Brown article. The videos were very revealing. Every politician seems to be jumping on the ethanol bandwagon. They will all have to jump off when the hoax is reavealed.

Ron Patterson

Earlier this month, the federal government finally made a decision on nuclear waste management, following decades of study. They've opted for a pathway called Adaptive Phased Management, which includes the isolation and containment of used nuclear fuel deep in the earth, with an option for temporary shallow underground storage.

The plans and designs for site selection can now begin in earnest, which is a pretty big step towards acceptability of the nuclear alternative. This is a decision that previous governments have carefully avoided, though they had the information needed to make a choice one way or the other.

I've been away, so please forgive me if this has been mentioned before.

Stoneleigh, I don't post here enough but I do read the Canada Roundups. I want to thank you for the effort you put forth on this even though it often seems much of the time there is little response. I suspect it is because the primary "discussion" thread for TOD as a whole tends to be the Drumbeat regardless of where you are from. However, what you do here is very valuable just like Leanan. Thank you again for your time and effort!

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

You're welcome. I agree that the Drumbeat will always be the main discussion thread. What I try to do here is to broaden the focus a little in order to reflect related crises that are all having an impact simultaneously. I cover Canada, but also financial and climate issues of global concern.

Anyone who knows my posting history would know that I think the most immediate threat is financial - specifically a deflationary credit crunch. I expect that to interact with peak oil in complex ways that are likely to be extremely destabilizing. Watch this space.

May issue is out at

The number of wells drilled in canada is dropping fast... if canadian ng production goes down 50% then their ng export will go down 100%, or even more on account of tar sands... canada might even become an importer. The us wants more tar sands production, if they get it they will need to replace the 15% of ng imports that used to come from canada.

Stoneleigh we all appreciate your work. Sometimes what can we say? We are in the dome (doome) car watching the freight coming at our train and the engineer is an idiot.
Re: NG production. Those of us sucking on the pipe must be concerned. It is almost laughable to see the debate in Toronto about WHERE to locate a NG generating station when the debate should be WHY. Even though I support the aims of the Clean Air Alliance, their stand on NG generation is totally off base. They know there will be a supply problem but seem to be intent on convincing themselves that there won't be. As has been discussed on TOD and elswhere most environmentalists seem to think that tinkering with renewables will permit a future life like the past. I guess we passangers are idiots too. Now where did I put my charcoal BBQ?

I wish we could afford the life we are living.

Quebec approves Gros Cacouna LNG terminal

The Quebec government has given the green light to a bid by Petro-Canada and TransCanada Corp. to build the province's first liquefied natural gas terminal on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River in Gros-Cacouna, about 250 kilometres east of Quebec City....

Pretrocan has been involved in talks with Russia's OAO Gazprom's Baltic liquefied natural gas plant. "This is a very big element to that," Mr. Pelletier said. "It sends a much clearer signal to potential long-term suppliers. Potential suppliers want to know that you'll be there. And this is another very positive indication that we will be there."....

In the meantime, another LNG terminal known as the Rabaska project in Lévis, across the Saint Lawrence River from Quebec City, is awaiting approval by a joint federal-provincial environmental panel later next month....

In New Brunswick, Irving Oil Ltd. has announced an LNG plant will be built as part of its energy complex in Saint John.

In Maine, the developer of a $500-million (U.S.) LNG project on Passamaquoddy Bay has filed for U.S. regulatory approval, but faces staunch opposition from Canada, through whose waters tankers would pass.

And in Nova Scotia, Keltic Petrochemicals Inc. of Halifax received environmental approval from the provincial government in March to build a petrochemical complex, complete with a liquefied natural gas receiving terminal in Goldboro, N.S.

The federal government has a marine protected area under development to protect marine mammals around Gros Cacouna, so the regulatory approvals process might be complicated.

Yeah, that's an ugly story. As the NDP warned last July, if these LNG plants start running for export to the US, and Russia closes the tap, the NAFTA stipulations still hold, and Canada has to make up for the difference

Selling Canada by the cubic foot

"The NDP denounced the deal, saying "the amount of natural gas Canada must provide to the U.S. would increase if we imported gas from Russia, however, if Russia cut back on the amount it was supplying, the American quota would stay the same, forcing Canadians to give up supplies we might need for ourselves."

NAFTA remains a poorly understood contract. It is laden with well-hidden booby traps, and no, Canda cannot get out of the deal. There is a paragraph that says it can do so with 6 months notice, but that's just there to hide reality. The Canadian government, if it would want to abrogate, would instantly face multi-trillion dollar lawsuits by American corporations and governments. And these would be held in US courts.

This really is an important point, and it appears likely that natural gas could be the first test of NAFTA versus Canadian sovereignty under conditions of insufficient supply.

The funny thing about this story is that there is a second prospective terminal near Lévis (Rabaska, south shore Québec city)so we may end up with not one, but TWO terminals importing gas from there a driver on this train???

PS. many thanks Stoneleigh, for your efforts, much appreciated!

Polar Bear, do read the article I quoted before, would you?:

Selling Canada by the cubic foot

Rabaska is but the second part, and it's located way closer to population centers than any US project ever COULD be. One mile max from downtown Quebec City. Google 'Jaques Levasseur' for details.

But there is a third one, on the Saguenay river: Grande-Anse.

That makes three LNG terminals in a province that needs no LNG at all. But Quebec is bankrupt, and it's all signed and sealed anyway.

Strange, though, isn't it? All these things are decided, and no-one knows they are. Ours Polaire seems to be informed, mentions Rabaska, but doesn't even know that Grande Anse exists.

By the by: For anyone reading the TOD Canada Round-Ups: DO leave your comments, let Stoneleigh know what you think of what you read, whether it be appreciation or utter disgust, but speak out!!!!!!!

Guilty as charged!! I did not read your linked article. Must admit to being overwhelmed by the quantity of information available on this site sometimes...

As for Grande-Anse, first I hear about it indeed... will have to check it out, thanks for the tip!

It's really remarkable that the NAFTA treaty seems to have an implicit assumption that supplies of materials face no limits whatsoever. Economic treaty indeed. But I'm not clear on how far the requirements go for maintaining export levels...if Canada runs out of something, are we supposed to buy it somewhere else and ship it to the US?

As a Canadian, I will note that the Americans have had no trouble ignoring NAFTA or asking for a re-write when it didn't suit their needs. Many lawsuits against the US were won (decisions promptly ignored by the US governments/industries who had lost, of course) despite being held in courts/tribunals stacked with US judges. It is possible to get a fair trial and legal ruling in US courts; what has been impossible is getting those involved to acknowledge the rulings when they lose.

But if NG supplies become tight and Canada stops exporting so much, and the US sues, the advantage there is it will take many years to go through the cases, appeals, rulings, etc. And with each passing year, with declining resources available, it would become more apparent that the conditions of the treaty are impossible. I'm no legal expert, but I do know that it's difficult to legally enforce something that is impossible.

This quote I snipped from from the Canadian govt's budget website "For 2006–07, the Government plans to reduce the federal debt by $9.2 billion". The Fed Govt alone will spend over 230 billion in this year. Koyoto is obviously affordable. We can't afford not to, but most people seem to have no sense of the scale of numbers larger than 100.
Thanks Stoneleigh for your efforts, I appreciate the Canadian-centric news you dig up !