April 2021, Vol. 248, No. 4

Executive Commentary

Canada's Energy Industry Will Shape the Future

By Chris BloomerPresident and CEO, Canadian Energy Pipeline Association   


It has been another tough couple of weeks for the pipeline industry. Keystone XL lost its Presidential Permit. A critical infrastructure project that would have delivered immense benefits on both sides of the border, cancelled as an act of backward-looking political symbolism by the President of the United States on his very first day in office.   

With the stroke of his presidential pen, Canada lost billions of dollars that our economy needs now more than ever. The United States and other world markets lost access to some of the most responsibly produced oil in the world. The worst part, given the struggles so many have faced over the last year, thousands of hard-working Canadians (and Americans) have lost their jobs.   

Some are celebrating this decision as a victory for the planet. The beginning of the end for the oil and gas industry, they say. While these statements may make flashy headlines, they are extremely short-sighted and simply untrue.  

In a world that sometimes seems to ignore reality, we need a moment of clarity.   

The world is on a path toward a lower carbon energy future. However, opinions differ in how that transition will occur and how long it will take. Some say they would like to see the oil and gas taps turned off tomorrow. Can you imagine what would happen? Widespread power and heating shortages. No gasoline. It would be absolute chaos.   

A transition of this magnitude will take time, money and yes, energy. This transition cannot happen without Canada’s oil and gas industry – and pipelines are at the center of that industry.   

Understanding this means understanding our supply chain. Let’s look at what has happened over the last year as an example. Throughout the pandemic, pipelines have consistently delivered the energy needed to heat our homes and hospitals. They are transporting the materials needed to make critical products used in health care like plastics, pharmaceuticals and antiseptics.   

A similar chain will move Canada toward a lower-carbon future. Pipelines transport the materials needed to build equipment like solar panels and wind turbines. They transport the natural gas and hydrogen that will reduce emissions here in Canada and around the world. And they do it in the safest and most responsible way.   

We know the concern isn’t always with the pipeline itself. It’s about what’s in the pipeline and the environmental footprint that comes along with producing oil and gas. That argument is starting to lose its luster now that Canada’s oil and gas companies are leading the way with innovative technologies to significantly reduce emissions, such as carbon capture and storage.   

Keystone XL was designed to achieve net-zero emissions when placed into service. Its operations would have been fully powered by renewable energy sources by 2030. The project’s revocation is a backward-looking decision that ignores the tremendous progress made by the pipeline industry over the last decade.  

But there are other important projects moving ahead right now in Canada – projects that are using innovative technologies and reducing emissions. The Coastal GasLink pipeline will deliver natural gas to the liquefied natural gas (LNG) Canada facility, which will be powered by renewable electricity.   

Inter Pipeline’s Heartland Petrochemical Complex will be able to convert locally sourced propane into 525,000 tonnes (579,000 tons) per year of recyclable, high-value polypropylene (one of the most common types of plastic). And Wolf Midstream’s Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, the world’s newest integrated, large-scale carbon capture, utilization and storage system, will help balance the demand for energy while reducing our environmental footprint. That’s just to name a few.  

We all want the same thing: A clean and responsible energy future for our children and future generations. It will happen, but we can’t flip a switch. And we can’t destroy the industry that is going to fund and fuel this change.   

Keystone XL is a loss. But is it the end of Canada’s oil and gas industry? Absolutely not.   

Canada is a world leader in responsible energy development and transportation. We have abundant natural resources that can help meet the growing demand for affordable energy around the world and can offset global emissions.   

We are learning, innovating and building a cleaner energy future for everyone. And we’ll be doing that safely and responsibly for decades to come.  

A transition of this magnitude will take time, money and yes, energy. This transition cannot happen without Canada’s oil and gas industry – and pipelines are at the center of that industry. 

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