Crack­ing The Tough Nuts

Canada’s en­ergy in­dus­try faces some daunting chal­lenges. It’s time to get cre­ative about solv­ing them

Alberta Oil - - REPORT ON BIG IDEAS -


in the crosshairs—on an ar­ray of big is­sues. How does the coun­try get pipe­lines to tide­wa­ter? Why is it eas­ier for provinces to sell power to a neigh­bor­ing state than to the prov­ince next door? How do we get car­bon out of the bar­rel? Will Cana­dian crude con­tinue to be bench­marked by an­other coun­try?

The in­dus­try has al­ways rel­ished a tough chal­lenge, and has gone to some of the harsh­est en­vi­ron­ments on earth, both po­lit­i­cally and ge­o­graph­i­cally, to pro­duce en­ergy. Some of its most cre­ative think­ing and in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies have come from seem­ingly in­sur­mount­able ob­sta­cles, such as sep­a­rat­ing bitumen from sand, or turn­ing oth­er­wise stranded nat­u­ral gas into a use­able liq­uid at 162 de­grees below zero. This mag­a­zine pro­poses some big ideas to crack the tough­est of those nuts. In “Spark­ing Na­tional Unity,” we ex­plore the idea of build­ing a na­tional elec­tric­ity grid that would al­low provinces to ben­e­fit from trad­ing en­ergy across pro­vin­cial bor­ders as de­mand waxes and wanes across time zones. Provinces awash in sur­plus power could sup­ply their neigh­bor­ing ter­ri­to­ries in­stead of the U.S., sav­ing Cana­dian tax­pay­ers sub­stan­tial in­vest­ment dol­lars for more power in­fra­struc­ture. Provinces with low-car­bon power op­tions, like hy­dro, could ex­change en­ergy or car­bon cred­its with high-emis­sions plants else­where. “The World Needs A Cana­dian Oil Bench­mark” weighs how a Cana­dian crude bench­mark would ac­cu­rately re­flect the value of Canada’s oil out­put in­stead of al­ways pric­ing it at a dis­count cal­cu­lated across cur­ren­cies and a bor­der. “A Pipe To Share” con­sid­ers whether pub­lic own­er­ship of a bitumen-totide­wa­ter pipe­line would give all com­ers a stake in—and skin in—the en­ergy in­fra­struc­ture game, achiev­ing con­sen­sus and some much­needed so­cial li­cense along the way. “Make Car­bon Pay” raises the stakes on tak­ing car­bon out of the bar­rel to a new level: tak­ing CO2 from the at­mos­phere rather than from smoke­stacks, and turn­ing it into com­mer­cial prod­ucts in­stead of bury­ing it inertly in the ground.


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