Alberta oil "demarketed?

A VO editor has promoted this story.

After watching a youtube video of Vivian Krause speaking to a Canadian parliamentary standing committee on Natural Resources, I simply don’t get it.   Does the Oil and Gas industry need protection from the environmental foundations to continue to make record profits and protect their market?  I don’t think so, they are quite capable on their own; between using highly paid lobbyists and having direct influence over elected officials, or simply through our unbridled consumption of petroleum based products, their market is well protected.  

1.     Record profits are racked up year after year by the O&G industry – concentrated in a small pool of wealthy individuals, mainly foreigners.  Current year has seen best ever profits for oil sands companies.

2.     A large majority of “Canadian” oil money profits gets sucked back to the US as most of these companies have a large US ownership and direct interest – take a close look at those involved in the Alberta oil sands.

3.     The oil and gas industry has much deeper pockets than the so-called environmental foundations (e.g. the Koch brothers, Americans billionaires involved in Alberta oil sands – who also spend hundreds of millions if not billions on their own brand of propaganda to protect profit margins).

4.     As we all know O&G is a limited resource and will always be in demand as long as it lasts, regardless of price (peak oil anyone) … demarketing, hmmm, the demand will always outstrip the supply in this industry, there is no need to ship oil overseas to asian markets and risking our fragile coastal environment when we have the largest market in the world south of the border.

5.     The environmental record of the majority of O&G companies has NEVER been stellar, with weak policies and business practices, watered down to maximize profits (how do you spell BP or Exxon), all guided and supported by their favorite politicians.  If you haven’t seen the movie Gasland, I highly recommend it.  It will give you a flavor of the mentality that permeates this business.

6.    The shifting of investment money from the mature O&G industry into newer renewable energy based industries makes longer term sense, both environmentally and economically.  It’s about time that the O&G industry pays the piper and reinvest more of its huge profits rather than seeking further government tax shelters and handouts through lobbyist actions or otherwise.

Having had worked in the Alberta O&G sector for almost two decades I feel it is time we ratchet up and hold the industry to task for the relatively free reign they have had over for the past century, particularly environmentally speaking – but that takes money, even the millions that Vivian has “uncovered” that is being used to support a wide range of environmental organizations is dwarfed by what the Oil industry spends to duck their moral and ethical responsibilities – they have very deep pockets, driven strictly by profits.

What I don’t understand is what is Vivian’s real motive, and everyone has one, particularly when she says that she has no political or industry alliances or ties or is being paid to investigate.  What is the motive behind coming to the aid of the largest and arguably most profitable industry in the world - helping them protect income they might loose through “demarketing” due to the environmental movement?  hmmmm, right. 

The investments made by American activists in Canada to fund environmental initiatives and programs in order to raise awareness and protect what we have, I say bring it on, at least their motives are more transparent.  Her investigative work appears only to protect the interest of one of the richest and most profitable industries in Canada if not the world … the O&G industry can surely protect their own markets against the nasty environmentalists, no?

She also questions the operating practices of the foundations funding this environmental movement - If Tides and other foundations are operating illegally in Canada and dodging the tax system, then yes that needs to be addressed by CRA and they should be held accountable, as all of us are.   She also questions the salary levels of the people involved in these foundations; from my experience CEO’s of private companies manufacturing coat hangers with significantly less fiscal responsibility can get paid more.  So why is it that those running multi-million dollar foundations that are dealing with environmental issues should only be paid enough to allow them to eat kraft dinner and live in basement suites … get real.

To villain-ize a progressive movement and the people associated with it who are trying to improve or protect what we have environmentally, and nudge industry to new clean energy alternatives and technologies, whether by Canadians, Americans or otherwise, makes no sense. I can’t figure out from her youtube video if she has an axe to grind about the “demarketing” of Alberta Oil due to the efforts of the environmental movement (whatever that really means) or if she is just concerned about charitable organizations “potentially” playing loose with the tax laws?  Either way I think she is misguided in her efforts by mixing up David and Goliath in this case … but then again I guess everyone needs a great cause to rally behind, standing up for the rights of the poor O&G industry on a pro bono basis must surely keep one fully energized.


Read More: