Canadian Manufacturing

New emission cutting goals called ‘aggressive,’ ‘ambitious’ and ‘illogical’ by Canadian oilpatch

Oilpatch industry come out against the new targets, calling them unrealistic.

April 23, 2021  The Canadian Press

New greenhouse gas emission cutting targets are being described as “extremely aggressive,” “ambitious” and “illogical” by members of the Canadian oilpatch after they were rolled out at a virtual climate summit of world leaders on Apr. 22.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed to slash Canada’s GHGs by 40 to 45 per cent by 2030 and President Joe Biden vowed to cut emissions in the United States by 50 to 52 per cent in the same time frame.

“These are obviously extremely aggressive targets being laid out by leaders in Canada and the U.S. and I think there’s absence of process or plan behind the targets. But you need to start with the targets, I understand that,” said Kevin Neveu, CEO of Calgary-based Precision Drilling Corp., which operates in both Canada and south of the border.

“I think the objectives they are trying to achieve, we agree with and support,” he added.

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There are solutions available today such as using grid electricity, renewable energy or natural gas that would allow the drilling industry to meet the emission targets for its operations, said Neveu, adding he urges the governments to continue to support research that will allow the broader oilpatch to also cut emissions.

Grant Fagerheim, CEO of Whitecap Resources Inc., said he also supports efforts to reduce emissions but disagrees with the way the new Canadian targets are being rolled out.

“Having aspirational targets with no practical or scientific methodologies is illogical,” he said.

“It seems like the federal government is working against the industry and not working with it. That’s the frustration. There’s no consultation. We should be using science, not just political wherewithal to reduce (emissions).”

In an emailed statement, the CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers defended his members’ record in reducing emissions without directly commenting on the scale of the new emissions targets.

“Canada’s natural gas and oil industry has made emissions reduction a priority; not only setting goals, but showing how it can be done,” said Tim McMillan.

“For example, in the oilsands industry, average GHGs per barrel have dropped 21 per cent since 2009 and, with current technologies under development, are projected to drop by an additional 20 to 27 per cent by 2030, demonstrating production growth can be compatible with emissions reductions.”