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In his May 21, 2018 article, “Right-wing populism is rising as progressive politics fails – is it too late to save democracy?” in The New Statesman, Michael Sandel suggests that we can learn from the populist revolt only if we are willing to enlarge the conversation beyond a liberal concept of economic “fairness”, to cultural, even spiritual or moral, issues of meaning, identity and purpose. Since the 1980s technocratic liberalism remained largely unchallenged, not only as an economic, but also as a political and even cultural phenomenon. The unquestioned central premise that government was the problem markets were the solution, led to an unfettered market-driven version of globalisation that included a “growing financialisation of the economy”. The unintended consequences of the increase in liberal trade agreements at a global level and a deregulated financial industry, included a stark and unrelenting rise in the extremes of wealth and poverty. And with fewer people holding more wealth, their power in governance increased. Sander challenges the widely accepted view of “meritocracy” which he calls “meritocratic hubris”, where “social positions reflect effort and talent.” This economic and cultural environment has proven to be more congenial to professionals and those with college degrees, which are seen as the road to “advancement and as the basis for social esteem”, and hostile to those who have lost faith in the promise of upward mobility, where progressives assume that “mobility can compensate for inequality” and the maxim of hard work brings financial rewards. Sanders calls for a revisiting of a “central premise of contemporary liberalism.” He suggests that the moral and cultural grievances of the middle class and working class have been flattened into economic grievances. He says it is time to examine concepts of humiliation, shame and self-esteem and to understand what it means that ordinary people feel disempowered. If our goal for a liberal society is tolerance, then there is a need to engage in “substantive moral argument in politics” and to “reimagine the terms of democratic public discourse.” He summarizes his argument here: “Liberal neutrality flattens questions of meaning, identity and purpose into questions of fairness. It therefore misses the anger and resentment that animate the populist revolt; it lacks the moral, rhetorical and sympathetic resources to understand the cultural estrangement, even humiliation, that many working-class and middle-class voters feel; and it ignores the meritocratic hubris of elites.” He asks us to consider the ethical implications. In our journey towards a liberal neutral concept of “fairness” in a “cosmopolitan ethic of universal human concern”, how do we respond with sympathy to the legitimate grievances of our fellow citizens in nation states whose lives have lost a sense of “meaning, identity, and purpose” and are feeling culturally estranged and even humiliated? How can we do this is societies that fear conversations about spirituality?


This is a very rough draft of a personal research project that is ongoing.  I am not an economist,  a politician, nor am I involved in the Canadian dairy industry or related NGOs, other then as a consumer. June 15, 2018

The content below is licensed as Creative Commons  ‎CC SA 4.0. 

The #NAFTADairyDivide affects US and Canadian 7th generation farmers with fewer than a 100 dairy cows, industrial-size dairy farms, large-scale producers like Saputo and Parmalat Canada, headquartered in Canada, with operations in the US, Canada, and other countries, dairy cooperatives, trade groups, lobby groups, international trade organizations and agreements like GAFF, WTO, TPP, NAFTA, and CETA, politicians, and consumers.

One of the most contentious issues reached a boiling point in 2016, as Canada responded to the exponential increase of the booming Dairy Ingredients Market, specifically MPCs like diafiltered milk (UV), produced in facilities in the U.S. along the CA-US border and sold tariff and quota free to producers in Canada from c. 2008 through 2016. US producers do not use (UV) and Canada does not produce its own. It became the catalyst for placing Canada’s dairy supply management system under the microscope. “[I]t’s all about an imported American dairy ingredient used to create pizza cheese — that’s right — a few hundred million dollars worth of a product called ultrafiltered milk (Verboven 2018).” The American agricultural economy represents $300-billion.

I want to understand what is currently being done in the name of Canada’s dairy supply management, as an overarching concept and in its regulatory details,  and how and why did this evolve historically. Who benefits from Canada’s dairy supply management and who calls for its removal at the local, regional, provincial, national and international level? Who calls the Canadian dairy industry a “success” in 2018, and why? To what extent is the Canadian dairy SM policy a protectionist device that conflicts with liberal trade principles? The dairy industry in particular, and the agricultural industry in general, places farmers at very high risks due to lack of control over prices, environmental conditions, etc, resulting in higher rates of suicide. Is this not the ideal place to re-calibrate capitalism and neoliberalism market policies at the level of WTO, CETA, NAFTA, etc through supply management and other devices to protect farmers first (those who nuture healthy soil using soil science and provide healthy, nutritious food), placing them at the top of the hierarchy, even above consumers, manufacturers, etc., instead of at the bottom? My economist friend is puzzled that such a miniscule section of the GDP, less than 1% has such staying power.

Below is a loosely generated collage of quotes and summaries from a wide variety of sources which I have read to help me enhance my own understanding, not only of the dairy industry in the age of open and free trade, but also the differing cultures between countries that affect the calibration of international liberal trade negotiations and policies.  This contextual material is organized into a webliography in alphabetical order with some of the content on related events from the articles, reports and a thesis, organized in a reverse chronological order timeline.

The Economist, which has championed the liberal worldview incorporating “freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil rights, democratic societies, secular governments, gender equality and international cooperation” since 1843,  recently created a Facebook Group, Open Future to “spur discussion about these liberal values and principles…for people who want to do that in a civil forum”.

I am proposing the topic of liberal trade policies with Canadian diary as an example.

I am developing a 3 sentence summary question that would be a catalyst for a discussion using the June 14, 2018 article in The Economist, “Breaking a few eggs: Donald Trump stomps on Canada’s economy: To avoid further damage, Justin Trudeau may have to stop coddling farmers” as a recommended read. http://bit.ly/NAFTATrumpStomps

Proposed question (draft)

As countries enter into international trade negotiations, with a long-term goal of decreasing and even eliminating barriers to the liberal ideal of free trade, how much consideration should be granted to differences between values within and between countries along the way. Using the Canadian dairy supply management system as a case study, at what point should a country be compelled to give up a system that works domestically. The US dairy industry production method is considered to be an open market in spite of $22 billion in subsidies a year whereas Canada’s is a supply management system. The Canadian Crown corporation, the Canadian Dairy Farmers (CDF), representing Canada’s roughly 12,000 dairy producers, defends the system which restricts overproduction and the number of imports on the supply side based on demand, and has resulted in a thriving domestic dairy industry. Globally the price of milk is low due to overproduction which benefits large milk processors but harms dairy farmers. The use of the Bovine Growth Hormone (rBST) to increase dairy production is illegal in Canada and legal in the U.S. The exponential increase in the amount of Milk Protein Concentrates (MPC) and Milk Protein Isolates (MPI) imported from the US facilities along the Wisconsin/New York/Canada border to Canadian processors, Montreal-based Saputo Inc and Parmalat Canada Inc.  as a cheap alternative which has cost millions of dollars to Canadian dairy farmers. This post-NAFTA invention, relatively inexpensive milk proteins, was previously listed as proteins not milk ingredients at the Canadian border. Through these bureaucratic loopholes, the American dairy industry was at an advantage for many years. In a recent article in The Economist, it was suggested that with the Canadian economy “already suffering” “Canada may have to stop coddling farmers” but warned the tri-partisan unified front behind Trudeau now, would be lost if Trudeau chose the economy over farmers. 

“Defenders of the current system say eliminating it would create new problems — starting with the billions it would cost to buy out existing quotas. They say the status quo provides stability in rural communities, allows farms to survive without boom-bust cycles, and makes taxpayer bailouts unnecessary. The U.S., meanwhile, maintains numerous support programs to prop up its farmers, they note. No major Canadian political party has ever opposed the system (Panetta 2017).” In 2015, the American government gave out “approximately $22.2 billion dollars in direct and indirect subsidies to the U.S dairy sector” which represents “the equivalent of 73% of the [dairy] farmers’ marketplace revenue” according to a February 2018 which focused on “changes introduced by the 2014 Farm Bill” (Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates 2018).

For example, in terms of cultural differences that emerged from different histories, it has been argued that, “Canadians tend to see government as a more positive force in the economy, hence the willingness to use public policy tools, including Crown corporations [like the Canadian Dairy Farmers (CDF), for example] to develop the economy and industry and to meet broader Canadian needs. The US Constitution, with its strict separation of powers, is based on a greater distrust of government (Crane 2009-2015).”

In her 2016 MA thesis, Canadian supply management : a food sovereignty policy? : British Columbia and New Zealand industry stakeholder“, Samantha Gambling described how “since its inception in the 1960s, Canadian supply management has been a contentious policy framework. Both the overarching concept and regulatory details of supply management have been debated extensively amongst political, industry and civil society groups; in recent years, supply management has garnered particular attention during the development of international trade negotiations ( Gambling 2016:5).”

Gambling’s thesis compares and contrasts Canada’s dairy supply management framework with New Zealand’s neoliberal model, which is often cited as a dairy-industry success story (Gambling 2016). (New Zealand rejected Canada’s entry into the TPP because of its SM policies). “New Zealand, which dismantled its supply management system and is a huge exporter of milk, has seen farm revenues decrease while consumers pay higher prices (Council of Canadians 2017).” “According to the Les Producteurs du lait du Québec, “In New Zealand, which exports more than 90 per cent of its production, things are even worse. Milk producers have absorbed revenue losses of more than 50 per cent. Farm debt has tripled in three years and 85 per cent of producers operate at a loss. Consumers do not benefit from the situation. They pay more for a litre of milk than Canadians do.” In New Zealand, prices went down in the short term, but rose over five years (Council of Canadians 2017).”

The Canadian Dairy Supply Management system is popular with dairy farmers who are protected from the extreme risks of market and price volatility faced by farmers elsewhere. Canadian consumers pay the price for this security through “artificially” higher prices for milk and yogurt, but they are not complaining loudly. Most Canadian politicians from all parties do not want to touch the thorny subject and it has been defended in tough negotiations through NAFTA and TPP.  It is regulated by WTO rules, which limits Canadian dairy exports. By 2018, the political climate has changed as have Canada’s relationship with the Trump administration, and NAFTA 2018 negotiations are much more aggressive. The supply-management system is under attack for not being an open system of liberal trade.

“The [Canadian] dairy industry is thriving like never before – and like none other in the developed world. Family farms milking an average of 80 cows each have prospered under a heavily regulated system that supports prices at sustainable levels by restricting domestic overproduction and keeping imports at bay (Barber 2018).” Meanwhile, in the United States, there has been an increase of suicides by dairy farmers on inter-generational family farms, who faced with debt, low milk prices and no prospect of improvements. Many aggressively expanded the size of their herds in 2014 when the price of milk reached a peak high.

By the numbers

 $31 billion The “total value of the supply management quotas across Canada in 2010 was worth $31 billion” according to Statistics Canada reports (Lee 2011).

$25, 000 Supply management uses quotas to restrict the number of license that can be purchased to limit production by limiting the entry to farming. By 2011 the cost of a quota to buy a cow was about $25,000 (Lee 2011).

14,000 dairy farmers, 2,800 chicken farmers, 1,200 egg producers and 500 turkey farmers, farmers who benefit from the supply management system (Lee 2011).

$44.4 billion annual Canadian farm income reported in 2011 with the supply management system representing $8.6 billion or 19 per cent (Lee 2011).

$100,000 farmers under the supply management system “earn an average of $100,000 net profit per farm  (Lee 2011)”.

92% of Canadians are “happy with the range and quality of dairy products available in Canada, and two thirds are satisfied with prices.” (Anderson and Coletto 2017) Canada does not allow the use of bovine growth hormone (BGH) whereas it is legal in the United States. The market would expand to include milk from U.S. farms that may have bovine growth hormone (BGH) in it, unlike the milk here in Canada, which doesn’t allow BGH.” “Only 23% of Conservative voters believe Canada should open up markets; 24% among Liberal supporters, and 9% among NDP voters (Anderson and Coletto 2017).

$1.51 The cost of 1 litre of rbST-free milk in Canada (AC Nielson, 2017 cited in Conway 2018). Canada does not allow the use of bovine growth hormone (BGH) rbST whereas it is legal in the United States (Council of Canadians 2017).

$1.63 The cost of 1 litre of rbST-free milk in the United States (AC Nielson, 2017 cited in Conway 2018).

20 CDN$20 billion The dairy industry in Canada supports nearly $20 billion towards the GDP (Conway 2018).

0 Canadian government subsidies to the dairy industry (Conway 2018). Critics of the system, explain that while “there is no direct subsidization by the government of Canada but there is very large indirect subsidization by all consumers” who pay artificially higher prices for dairy products, particularly for imported cheese, etc that have tariffs.

215,000 The Canadian dairy industry sustains about 215,000 jobs (Conway 2018).

10% No World Trade Organization (WTO) approved tariff rate quotas (TRQ)  are paid on the first 10 % of milk products imported by Canada from the United States (Conway 2018). Once this World Trade Organization (WTO) approved tariff rate quotas (TRQ) are reached tariffs are added.

3% No tariffs are paid on the first 3% of milk products imported by the United States from Canada (Conway 2018). Once this World Trade Organization (WTO) approved tariff rate quotas (TRQ) are reached tariffs are added.

41 countries, including the U.S., have World Trade Organization (WTO) approved tariff rate quotas (TRQ)  (Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates 2018).

14, 000 metric tons “nearly 14,000 metric tons of milk protein isolates (MPI) were imported to Canada in 2014, a “37 percent increase compared to 2013 imports (Howard 2017?).” For years the WTO TRQ could not be applied against the U.S. because of NAFTA. “As a result, U.S. exports of milk proteins over 85 percent protein to Canada have grown steadily in recent years (Howard 2017?).”

10, 000 metric tons is the WTO TRQ limit set for market access to Canada for the rest of the world for MPC and MPI products. Above that, the WTO over-quota tariff rate is 270%  (Howard 2017?).”

USD$22.2 billion In 2015, the American government gave out “approximately $22.2 billion dollars in direct and indirect subsidies to the U.S dairy sector” which represents “the equivalent of 73% of the [dairy] farmers’ marketplace revenue” according to a February 2018 report by Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates, which focused on “changes introduced by the 2014 Farm Bill” (Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates 2018). Because of the subsidies, processors can “purchase milk at prices below the costs of production” which “offers a significant competitive advantage to the American dairy industry (Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates 2018).”

USD600 The “entire trade in dairy products between [Canada and the U.S.] is worth less than US$600 million (Barber 2018).”

USD 30 million The amount the Greenwood, Wisconsin-based Grassland Dairy Products of Greenwood claimed it lost overnight in 2016 when Canadian producers Agropur stopped importing U.S. Milk Protein Concentrates (MPC) and began to use Canadian milk to make cheese in April, 2016 when Ontario’s dairy farmers set a new price Class Six for MPC to compete with U.S. (Barrett 2017).” As a result Grasslands ended their contracts with 75 farmers in Wisconsin (Morgan 2017).”

75 The number of farmers whose contracts were cancelled by Grasslands in April 2016 ((Barrett 2017, Morgan 2017) which raised the ire of US politicians in Wisconsin and New York states and caught the attention of President Trump.

9,200 The number of dairy producers in Wisconsin in 2016.

4,500 The number of dairy farms in the state of New York (Kilgannon 2018).

3.4 “Those working in farming, fishing and forestry were 3.4 times more likely than other American workers to commit suicide on the job (Kilgannon 2018).”

270 The 270% tariff on U.S. milk cited by Mr. Trump to criticize Canada’s trade imbalance. Canada placed a new 200% to 300% tariff on American dairy products through its Class Seven program in 2017 (Orol 2018).” “[T]hose tariffs range from nearly 300 per cent for excess imports of butter and cream to 270 per cent for certain dairy powders to 240 per cent for cheese, whole milk and yogurt (Berthiaume 2018).” They apply only after the WTO quotas have been reached. 

USD 86.97 billion The predicted growth by 2024 of the booming “Global Dairy Ingredients Market (lactose, milk powder, casein & caseinates, MPC & MPI and whey ingredients) up from 13.7 million tons in 2015 (PR Newswire 2018) .”

85 85% or more protein is the percentage of protein in Milk Protein Concentrate (MPC) and Milk Protein Isolates (MPI) products that the United States dairy industry can export into Canada with unfettered access to the Canadian market according to the current NAFTA agreement.

80-85 The average number cows milked daily on Canadian family farms that prosper “under a heavily regulated system that supports prices at sustainable levels by restricting domestic overproduction and keeping imports at bay (Barber 2018).”

225 The average number of cows on American farms (Conway 2018).

11,000 Number of dairy farms in Canada  (Conway 2018).

41,800 Number of dairy farms in the United States  (Conway 2018).

0 Canadian political parties have ever opposed the supply management system (Panetta 2017).”

3 The number of milk processors in Canada who control 80% of production. Montreal-based Saputo Inc, Agropur Cooperative, and Parmalat Canada Inc.

10 10%, By 2014, Montreal-based Saputo Inc controlled 10% of the American market by 2014 (Marowits 2014).

$100 million The value of small deals Saputo made in Canada compared to the “larger growth prospects for the dairy” in the “fragmented United States”, Australia and Brazil (Marowits 2014).

7 or 8 The number of players controlling  90 to 95% of the dairy industry in Australia in 2014 (Marowits 2014).

1 billion litres The volume of milk processed in Argentina in 2014 compared to 400 million litres in 2003 (Marowits 2014).

5% The percentile growth targeted in US Dairy Export Council (USDEC)‘s September 2017 new strategic plan “The Next 5%” where they aim to “increase their dairy export market by 5% by 2021 by ensuring access to the Canadian market by fighting “Canada’s actions to block U.S. dairy exports (Shoup 2017).”

15 USD15 $15 per hundredweight The amount the the price of conventional milk dropped in the U.S. by March 2018.

25 USD25 The price per hundredweight at which the price of conventional milk peaked in 2014 (Kilgannon 2018).”

Overview

The American dairy invested in building processors along the Canadian-U.S. border to produce milk protein concentrates (MPC), such as ultrafiltered milk or diafiltered milk. MPC, whose origins can be traced to research in France in 1969, became very popular in the late 2000s. The Global Dairy Ingredients Market (lactose, milk powder, casein & caseinates, MPC & MPI and whey ingredients) is a booming market with predicted growth expected to reach USD 86.97 billion by 2024, up from 13.7 million tons in 2015. The growing interest in MPC and ultrafiltered milk is partly because of greater consumption of healthier foods globally. The increased production of MPC was a huge boost to the American dairy industry as they were faced with a milk glut (global milk prices were low, their herds were too large, they were overproducing – stockpiles were even purchased by the American government). Canada had no facilities for producing ultrafiltered milk so all the MPC was imported. Since the commercial production of MPC was invented post-NAFTA, it is not subject to the WTO’s tariff rate quota (TRQ) that capped the amount of product allowed in (AGCanada 2016).” That’s meant the American dairy industry has had complete and unfettered access to the Canadian market place for diafiltered milk for several years. (Diafiltered milk is not used by American dairy processors.)  To complicate the issue, MPC also created a “bureaucratic problem since Canada’s border agency treats the proteins differently than its food inspection agency, resulting in tariff-free access (Nickel, 2016).

This changed in April, 2016 when Ontario’s dairy farmers set a new price Class Six for MPC to compete with U.S. MPC. As a result, Canadian dairy co-operative Agropur stopped importing U.S. proteins and began to use Canadian milk to make cheese. With this abrupt change, one Wisconsin facility claimed they lost $30 million overnight.

Bloomberg claimed, “Again and again, Trump has assailed Canada’s 270 percent tariff on U.S. milk. But the reason he’s worried about milk exports to Canada is a non-tariff measure. Deterred from exporting whole milk to Canada by the tariff, the U.S. dairy industry began selling so-called ultrafiltered milk, a protein-rich product used in the making of cheese that wasn’t subject to the tariff. U.S. exporters did great until last year, when a regulation pushed through by Canadian dairy farmers priced local milk product ingredients at below international market prices, hurting the viability of U.S. imports. Canada still buys more dairy products from the U.S. than the other way round. If it were to cancel its 270 percent tariff, it can still protect its farmers through moves similar to the National Ingredient Strategy, which created a new milk product class (Bershidsky 2018).”

In September 2017, the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC)  introduced a new strategic plan called “The Next 5%” to “increase their dairy export market by 5% by 2021 by ensuring access to the Canadian market by fighting “Canada’s actions to block U.S. dairy exports (Shoup 2017).”

The Canadian Dairy Supply Management system is a “labyrinth of intertwined regulations and a symbiotic relationship between the Federal and Provincial governments. While it is true that some things are in the direct control of the Provinces, it is generally the case that a Province could not effectively maintain these controls without the Federal system and sanction (FactCheckNovakovic 2017).”

My interest was really piqued by John Barber’s June 9, 2018 article “Why Canadian milk infuriates Donald Trump.” Barber observed that the “entire trade in dairy products between the two countries is worth less than US$600 million (Barber 2018).” The article also quoted a Canadian professor who had visited the States and interviewed the Wisconsin Farmers Union and reported that they “really want” a supply managed system like the Canadian dairy industry (Barber 2018).

The issue that the U.S. negotiators bring to the table is that Canada has placed a new 300% tariff on American dairy products through its Class Seven program introduced in 2017 (as a follow up to Ontario’s Class Six), which the U.S. claims is devastating the dairy industry particularly in the states of Wisconsin and New York.  The “United States and other countries are allowed to export a certain amount of dairy to Canada duty-free” based on “quotas set by the World Trade Organization (Orol 2018).” “Once the threshold is reached, Canada imposes huge tariffs — usually between 200 and 300 percent — on imports of certain dairy products, essentially restricting their entry (Orol 2018).”

To be continued…

A selected timeline of related events in reverse chronological order

June 15, 2018 In an interview on CBC’s Island Morning, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Yarr, who was meeting with Canadian Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay on Prince Edward Island  on June 15, 2018, “denied any U.S. plan to end supply management (Yarr 2018).” Perdue said, “The United States is not about trying to get Canada to ditch its supply management system. What we are saying is if you’re going to have a supply management system, you’ve got to manage the supply, and not over-produce and not over-quota where you dump milk solids on the world market and depress prices from our producers south of the border (Yarr 2018).” MacAulay added, “Regarding Canadian over-supply, MacAulay said Canada produces about one per cent of the world milk solid supply (Yarr 2018).”

2018 “There has been a spate of suicides in the state [of New York] as the dairy industry has nose-dived, resulting in the closing of hundreds of small farms…Whatever the prevalence of suicides, there is no doubt about the widespread hopelessness afflicting the industry…. While the dairy industry nationwide is in the grip of an economic crisis — fueled by decreasing demand as customers turn to milk alternatives…New York is the third largest milk-producing state in the country and low milk prices have not only devastated farmers financially — most are selling milk for less than it costs to produce — but also emotionally….There are about 4,500 dairy farms across the state of New York (Kilgannon 2018). “Those working in farming, fishing and forestry were 3.4 times more likely than other American workers to commit suicide on the job, according to a 2016 study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Kilgannon 2018).”

June 9, 2018 In Quebec, Canada “the dairy industry is thriving like never before – and like none other in the developed world. Family farms milking an average of 80 cows each have prospered under a heavily regulated system that supports prices at sustainable levels by restricting domestic overproduction and keeping imports at bay (Barber 2018).”

June 8, 2018. President Donald Trump tweeted, “Canada charges the U.S. a 270% tariff on Dairy Products! They didn’t tell you that, did they? Not fair to our farmers!”

June 5, 2018. PRS Newswire reported that “The Global Dairy Ingredients is extremely competitive with a huge number of companies trying to capture the market.” “The Global Dairy Ingredients Market size was estimated at 13.7 million tons in 2015 and is expected to reach USD 86.97 billion by 2024. Factors such as population starting to age, increased health issues, better awareness about the benefits of food products rich in nutrition, better production and sluggish lifestyle are expected to benefit the overall market. A shift in food habits, from customary food to nutritional food has been observed. The industry is extremely competitive with a huge number of companies trying to capture the market (PRS Newswire 2018). “High concentrate ingredients such as …milk protein isolates are majorly found in developed countries like the U.S., Germany, and France…Skim Milk Powder (SMP) is gaining popularity in the market. The United States and The European Union are the major SMP producers worldwide. They produce above half of the world’s supply of SMP. In 2013, the U.S. had the foremost share signifying 28% of exports. Whereas, the E.U. exhibited around 21% of the total exports in the same year. Industry participants are investing in R&D and new production sites to come up with innovative production techniques to cater to the existing hindrances in the market. Major industry participants include Euroserum (France), Dairy Farmers of America (U.S.), Murray Goulburn Co-Operative Co. Limited (Australia), Saputo Inc. (Canada), Arla Foods. (Denmark), Volac International Limited (U.K.), Fonterra Co-Operative Group (New Zealand), Groupe Lactalis (Germany), FrieslandCampina (The Netherlands) and Glanbia Plc. (Ireland)(PRS Newswire 2018).” “On the basis of type, the dairy ingredient is segmented into lactose, milk powder, casein & caseinates, MPC & MPI and whey ingredients (PRS Newswire 2018).”

June 2, 2018. Trudeau indicated on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the government was open to relaxing the system as part of a new NAFTA deal (Todd 2018).”

May 2018. According to their May 2016 report,  Research and Markets predict that the Global Dairy Ingredients Market would “register a Compound Annual Growth Rate CAGR of 5.2% during the forecast period 2018-2023 (Mordor Intelligence. Research and Markets 2018.”

April 17, 2018. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called for an end to Canadian program hurting upstate dairy farmers (Magnarelli 2017 ).

March 2018 The price of conventional milk dropped “below $15 per hundredweight from its peak of over $25 in 2014 (Kilgannon 2018).”

January 2018 StatsCan reported a domestic herd of dairy cattle “increase of 2.7 percent, with 1.4 million cows and heifers on Canadian operations (StatsCan 2018).”

January 23 – 19, 2018 NAFTA negotiators were to meet in Montreal for the sixth set of renegotiations talks (Orol 2018).

October 15, 2017 Unexpectedly, near the end of a week-long round of NAFTA negotiations, the U.S. called for an end to Canada’s “supply management system for dairy, chicken, eggs and turkey within the next decade…with an initial phase-in period of five per cent more market access per year, leading to total duty-free, quota-free trade in protected supply-managed areas within 10 years (Panetta 2017).” “The supply management request follows an earlier request for a de-facto veto over Canadian milk-classification decisions, which in the case of diafiltered cheese-making products has advantaged Canadian producers  (Panetta 2017).”

2017 ” ultrafiltered milk and other protein-rich dairy ingredients used to make dairy products such as cheese and yogurt in Canada was imported from the US to the tune of $133-million last year…”

2017 Serge Riendeau, President of Agropur Cooperative from 2002 to 2017, was appointed CEO of the Ottawa-based Crown corporation, the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC). (Agropur 2017)

September 2017 The US Dairy Export Council (USDEC)  introduced a new strategic plan called “The Next 5%” to “increase their dairy export market by 5% by 2021 (Shoup 2017).” The aim of the USDEC is to USDEC also aims to ensure “access to key international markets such as the EU and Canada where they have faced the most resistance.” The USDEC continues to “fight European Union efforts to restrict the use of common cheese names and Canada’s actions to block U.S. dairy exports, and to preserve the trade framework with Mexico that has delivered tremendous U.S. dairy export growth (Shoup 2017).”
August 2, 2017 While, Sagging global prices for milk are now forcing farms around the world out of business. Not so in Canada (McGregor 2017).” A Chinese corporation, Feihe International, Inc., a “manufacturer with over 50 years of experience and keen to expand to North America”, is constructing a state-of-the-art baby formula plant a “40-acre site in Kingston, Ontario” which will open in 2019. It will “employ over 200 people in manufacturing and research jobs” and about 1,000 in construction.  It represents “unprecedented $225 million investment” in eastern Ontario. One of the major reasons is Canada’s supply management. As China phases out its one-child policy, the country will need baby formula and therefore cow and goat milk. About “Roughly 85 per cent of the powdered formula” will be sent back to China. Many Chinese distrust Chinese dairy products following the 2008 incident when hundreds of thousands of babies became ill and six died after drinking baby formula tainted with melamine. “New Zealand’s dominant dairy cooperative was a minority shareholder in Sanlu, the company at the heart of the melamine scandal“, so the Chinese could not invest in the New Zealand dairy industry (McGregor 2017).  The New Zealand dairy cooperative Fonterra owned a 43% stake in Sanlu (Lee 2008, Ritchie 2009).

August 1, 2017 Then-Canadian Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne announced that Canada’s newly revised allocated tariff rate quota (TRQ) on European cheeses coming into Canada, as part of the new Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), would be “for 16,000 tonnes of fine cheese and 1,700 tonnes of industrial cheese.” This disappointed Canada’s dairy industry concerned about the influx of c. 18,000 tonnes of European cheeses will be imported once the Canada-EU trade deal takes effect in September, [2017] (McGregor 2017-08-01). Canadian negotiators initially planned on giving 60 per cent of this quota (TRQ) to the Canadian “domestic dairy industry, to compensate for market share it’s about to lose” but further negotiations resulted in half the new quota going to the “domestic industry’s cheese makers while the other half is allocated to distributors and end retailers” (McGregor 2017-08-01). “Small and medium-sized businesses will receive the majority of the quota in each half, helping artisanal cheese makers and independent vendors. The Liberal government wants to help smaller enterprises realize the economic benefits of future free trade agreements (McGregor 2017-08-01)…Under Canada’s supply management system for dairy products, imports are severely limited in order to manage domestic market prices. Few European cheeses come into Canada duty-free, with enormous tariffs applied to all others to discourage high volumes of imports. Canada will nearly double the amount of EU cheese it imports duty-free. It’s the first time it has awarded new cheese quota since the 1970s (McGregor 2017-08-01).”

May 2017 “The U.S. ha[d] more than 800 million pounds of American cheese in reserve, the most since 1984, according to the USDA. The amount of butter in reserve [totaled] 272 million pounds, the most since 1994. Some U.S. farmers [were] dumping millions of pounds of excess milk onto fields. In the Midwest and Northeast, nearly 78 million gallons of milk [were dumped by May 2017], up 86% from the same period [in 2016] (Haddon 2017).”

March, April 2017 The U.S. dairy industry “embarked on a fierce letter writing and lobbying campaign in the spring of 2017, both at the state and federal level, to urge their representatives to retaliate” against Canada’s new milk class Class 7 for protein concentrates, skim milk and whole milk powder

First week in April 2017 Grassland Dairy Products of Greenwood “notified about 75 Wisconsin farms that as of May 1, it is canceling their contracts because it has lost its Canadian business (Barrett 2017).”  Stewart-Peterson’s Bryan Doherty said, “75 farmers in Wisconsin, there are 9,200 dairy producers, it’s a small percentage, but the big part is it’s a big anxiety for all producers (Morgan 2017).” Commodity Risk Management Group ‘s Mike North said, “This is a very different situation, because it has more to do with politics and less to do with markets or bad financial situations that are broader than agriculture itself. They really didn’t change their position, they just cleaned up some of the loose ends that existed since that position was first taken. Ultimately, I wouldn’t blame them, so to speak, but at the same time, their action is what quickly caused this scenario. If this whole affair wouldn’t have taken place in April but rather in July, none of this conversation would have been had (Morgan 2017).” North called the situation “unprecedented”.

In their c. April 7, 2017 statement, “Blame Canada” the Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC), “The truth is, both the U.S. and world dairy markets are currently over-saturated, which has led to low prices at the farm-gate and a lower price received by the processors. Simply put, in the U.S, and around the world, too much milk is being produced. In the U.S, the oversupply of milk is exacerbated in an environment where processing capacity is lacking. When too much milk is produced, prices crash and there is no incentive to invest in increased processing capacities. The end result is job loss, loss of income for farmers, and in some cases, farmers having to shut down their farms. By contrast, in Canada, supply management (literally matching supply with demand) avoids overproduction, and reduces the impact of devastating market fluctuations, such as those that the U.S is currently experiencing. We know that dairy producers in the U.S are going through tough times; however, incorrectly laying the blame on an unrelated Canadian domestic policy will not improve their situation. To further put things into perspective, Canada only has a population of approximately 36 million people – less than the state of California. No matter how one views the situation, exports to a comparatively small Canadian market – one that is already filled with Canadian milk – are a drop in the bucket that will not solve the problems currently impacting the U.S dairy industry. It is wrong to use Canada as a scapegoat for the situation in the U.S (DFC Blame Canada 2017).”

April 2017 Grassland Dairy’s Goedhart Westers learned that “their Canadian market was gone, a destination worth 1 million pounds of milk a day (Morgan 2017).”

April 1, 2017 Cayuga Milk Ingredients in Auburn, New York, which produces powered milk mainly for export to developing countries, claimed they lost $30 million in export sales when Canada implemented their pricing program in 2016 through which Canada stopped purchasing ultra-filtered milk (Nickel, 2016).”

April 2017 United States dairy farmers are producing too much milk, and the price of milk dropped just as milk product importers cut back their purchases which “may pose one of the biggest challenges yet to the U.S. dairy industry. Milk product importers, such as China, Russia, Venezuela cut back on their dairy purchases since c. 2015. “The European Union…greatly increased its dairy production after lifting 30-year-old quotas in 2015.”  There is a “world-wide surge in agricultural production that has pushed down prices for grains and meat as well as for dairy (Haddon 2017).

2017 “Though about 550 dairy farms closed in the state from 2012 to 2017, the number of dairy cows has increased to 625,000, up from 610,000 (Kilgannon 2018).”

March 2017 By 2017 there was a “very heavy demand for butterfat in Canada” which resulted in “a surplus of ‘non-fat solids’”. To deal with the surplus of ‘non-fat solids’, the “Canadian dairy industry created a new milk class in March (Class 7) “, backdated to February 1, to “price milk ingredients like protein concentrates, skim milk and whole milk powder .” It was “one part of a National Ingredient Strategy [under negotiation in 2017] between Canada’s dairy farmers and its dairy processors

March 2017 By March 2017, “there were 9.4 million commercial dairy cows in the U.S., a 20-year high, according to the Agriculture Department (Haddon 2017).

October 28, 2016 In their October 2016  Research and Markets @researchmarkets report, they announced that Dairy Ingredients Market was “projected to grow significantly from an estimated value of USD 45.55 billion in 2015 to USD 66.11 billion by 2022 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.61% ).”

June, 2016 There was pressure from Canadian dairy farmers as the demand for domestic milk was decreasing faced with “$150 million worth of U.S. milk protein isolates (ultrafiltered milk or diafiltered milk) used to make cheese and yogurt (Mussell 2006:1, Nickel, 2016). “Canadian imports of U.S. milk protein isolates have jumped 10 times by volume over five years to 2,700 tonnes in January 2016, according to Farm Credit Canada. The proteins are a cheap alternative to skim milk for Canadian processors such as Saputo Inc and Parmalat Canada Inc, who must meet federal standards for milk and protein content in cheese…A move toward consuming more butterfat, through butter and cheese, and less milk, is partly behind Canada’s problem. The trend has already generated a surplus of domestic skim milk…It’s also a bureaucratic problem since Canada’s border agency treats the proteins differently than its food inspection agency, resulting in tariff-free access…Ontario’s dairy farmers set a new price for certain milk ingredients in April to compete with U.S. proteins. As a result, Canadian dairy co-operative Agropur has stopped importing U.S. proteins and uses Canadian milk to make cheese… The U.S. dairy industry has noticed a drop in demand from Canada since the Ontario farmers’ move, and is also wary of government action, according to Wisconsin-based Grassland Dairy Products Inc, which exports the proteins (Nickel, 2016).”

April 1, 2016, the Ontario Class Six regulation changed the pricing for milk proteins, including ultra-filtered milk, and this year most of the other provincial boards followed suit (Cuomo 2016)  Class Six included milk ingredients like protein concentrates, skim milk and whole milk powder. “The Americans, Australians and New Zealanders insist the new pricing class has effectively pushed them out of the Canadian dairy market. They want the new pricing regulations challenged at the World Trade Organization

March 2016 Saputo Inc, with a  revenue of C$11.2 billion in 2017announced they were closing their plant in Sydney, Nova Scotia and they were laying off 230 people, some of whom had worked there for over three decades. The plant made “milk, sour cream, coffee cream, ice cream mix and plastic milk jugs (Shannon 2016).” Saputo has been closing plants in the U.S. and Canada since at least 2014. They closed a facility in Princeville, Que., in August, 2016 and a third facility in Ottawa in December 2017 “to cut costs and boost efficiency (Shannon 2016).” Saputo’s facility in Montreal consolidates its distribution activities (Shannon 2016).

May 1, 2016 The Canadian Milk Supply Management Committee (CMSMC) set a “stop-gap” interim national program effective from May 1 to July 31, 2016 by modifying the “prices paid in milk class 4(m) for milk protein concentrates (MPC) to “support access to Canadian ingredients at competitive prices.” By subsidizing the use of Canadian dairy ingredients it made it easier for milk processors to end their imports of diafiltered milk from the United States. Agropur Co-operative, was the first Agropur becomes the “first major national processor” in Canada to halt its use of diafiltered milk. It halted their purchase of U.S. diafiltered milk immediately (AGCanada 2016).” “The CDC said the change was put in place to level the playing field among Canadian cheese makers after Dairy Farmers of Ontario implemented a new class 6 in that province. DFO’s new class, the commission said, gave a “competitive advantage” to Ontario cheesemakers compared to those in other provinces  (AGCanada 2016).”

April 12, 2016 “Pierre Paradis, Quebec Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Marcel Groleau, President of the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), Bruno Letendre, Chair of Les Producteurs de lait du Québec”, and Riendeau, then-President of Agropur cooperative, now CDF President, backed by 59 Quebec dairy processing companies, demanded that the federal government “enforce cheese compositional standards (Agropur 2016)”.  “Milk producers claimed that the federal government was “not enforcing its own regulations and treating diafiltered milk as what it really is: a milk ingredient whose use in cheese is limited (Agropur 2016)”. In 2015 Justin Trudeau had promised during his federal election campaign that the Liberals were “formally committed to review the standards, rules and practices regarding food product imports, particularly milk proteins (Agropur 2016)”.  Bruno Letendre, Chair of Les Producteurs de lait du Québec, added “The exponential increase in imported diafiltered milk destabilizes supply management and has a very negative impact on producer income. If nothing is done soon, this breach, in addition to Canada’s major concessions in the free trade agreements with the European Union and the member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), clearly threatens the sustainability of Canadian agricultural policy in the dairy sector. And while our sector generates major economic benefits for the Canadian economy, these benefits are now at risk (Agropur 2016).”

February 5, 2016  In a February 5 email from Canadian Minister Lawrence MacAulay, he wrote that,  “We are aware of the industry’s concerns about the use of diafiltered milk in cheese production. Under the cheese compositional standards, the intention was never for diafilitered milk to be used instead of milk. We are working to make sure that the rules are clear for everyone. Canada recognizes the importance of effective import control measures and manages its imports in accordance with its international trade obligations” [translation](Agropur 2016)”. MacAulay, stated that he was working on clarifying the rules for everyone (Agropur 2016)”.

2016  In every year from 2005-2016, farmers in the United States have operated at a loss, with the cost of production “higher than what they earn from the marketplace.” represents a loss to the farmer (Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates 2018).” The American government provides heavy subsidies to dairy farmers (Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates 2018).”

2016 Dairy  was a “significant contributor to the New Zealand economy” and is currently New Zealand’s “most valuable export commodity…In New Zealand, dairy is the biggest exporter earner; 95% of dairy products are exported to over 150 countries, generating roughly $14 billion a year  (Gambling 2016:7).”

2015 In 2015 Justin Trudeau promised during his federal election campaign that the Liberals were “formally committed to review the standards, rules and practices regarding food product imports, particularly milk proteins (Agropur 2016)”.

2015 In 2015, “Canadian producers lost a total of over $220 million” due to the “exponential increase” in imported diafiltered milk (Agropur 2016).

2015 Brothers, Luke and Matt Gartman are the seventh generation to run a Wisconsin dairy farm, milking more than 100 head of cows a day. In 2015 their processor Sheboygan gave them 3 months notice that they would not be pruchasing their milk but directed them to Grassland Dairy Products. In the first week of April 2017, they learned on Facebook that Grassland would no longer purchase their milk (Morgan 2017).”

December 2015 The World Trade Organization’s “Nairobi Package,”  adopted in Nairobi, Kenya in December 2015, contained a “Ministerial Decisions on agriculture, cotton and issues related to least-developed countries (LDCs).” including an agreement to “eliminate agricultural export subsidies in all developed countries”. Under the Nairobi Agreement, “Canadian subsidized exports of dairy products will need to stop by 2021.” “Milk currently marketed in Class 5(d) will need to cease by 2021.”

2014 “Supply management quota systems restrict the amount of dairy Canada can export internationally; in 2014, Canada exported 95.3 million kg dairy products (Canadian Dairy Information Centre [CDIC] 2014a), generating CAD$281 million in revenue (Gambling 2016:7).”

2014 Beginning in 2014, dairy farmers in the United States, “aggressively expanded” their herds “when milk prices were driven up by growing demand from middle-class consumers in North America, Asia and other markets (Haddon 2017).”

2014 The price of conventional milk peaked at over $25 per hundredweight (Kilgannon 2018).

June 5, 2014 Saputo Inc,  with its headquarters in Montreal, Canada’s “largest cheese and dairy processor” sought “more global acquisitions.” For Saputo, the deals in Canada at c. $100-million are small compared to the “larger growth prospects for the dairy” in the “fragmented United States”, Australia and Brazil. Milk consumption increased in Brazil. By 2014, Saputo controlled 10% of the American market (Marowits 2014). Saputo acquired Warrnambool Cheese & Butter (WCB), toldest dairy in Australia for $450-million in 2014. In Australia at that time there were only “seven or eight players control[ling] 90 to 95 per cent of the industry  (Marowits 2014).” In Argentina, where Saputo also made acquisitions, the volume of milk processed “more than doubled”, from  400 million litres in 2003 to over one billion litres by 2014 (Marowits 2014). In 2014, the price of higher block cheese was higher in the U.S. and the Canadian dollar was low. Saputo made profits from “ncreased international volumes and prices, which offset higher costs in Canada (Marowits 2014).”

2014 “Major diafiltered milk production plants have been built in recent years along the Canada-U.S. border in states like New York and Wisconsin to service Canadian demand. Because of an ongoing oversupply of milk – and its ingredients – within the United States, the American dairy industry has been exporting the product in liquid form to Canadian processors. The Canadian Border Services Agency considers it to be a protein ingredient and therefore it is not subject to Canada’s high dairy tariffs…Further, because the product was invented post-NAFTA, Canadian officials have been told that they are not allowed to subject American diafiltered milk imports to what’s known as a tariff rate quota (TRQ) – that cap the amount of product allowed in. That’s meant the American dairy industry has had complete and unfettered access to the Canadian market place for diafiltered milk for several years. (Diafiltered milk is not used by American dairy processors.)  “Riendeau and Agropur have previously criticized a loophole in Canadian import rules that allows diafiltered milk to enter the country as a “protein substance” ingredient while still considered “milk” by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for the purposes of Canadian processing  (AGCanada 2016).”

2013 “Butter perceived as healthier than trans fat after a 2013 announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Trans fat no longer “generally regarded as safe (Cessna 2017).”

October 8, 2012 Canada formally joined the TPP

May 12, 2012 Reuters reported that “U.S. business groups… say agriculture and intellectual property rights protection for Canada” were the main issues that had to be resolves before Canada could join the TPP.

December 2011 Canada expressed interest in joining the TPP during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) trade ministers meeting.

2012 The Canadian government was participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations.

2011 By 2011 Milk Protein Isolates (MPI) imports were under the Import for Re-Export Program (IREP) program (Doyle 2011). In accordance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) requirements, the Canadian Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) allows a predetermined quantity of dairy imports controlled under the Import for Re-Export Program (IREP) at a lower rate of duty. Above that cap, imports are subject to a higher duty.

By 2011, the three processors, the Toronto-based, Parmalat Canada, Montreal-based Saputo Inc and Agropur, controlled 80% of all milk production in Canada. From 1990 to 2000 there were many Canadian acquisitions; from 2000 to 2010 there were not many more (Doyle 2011).

November 10, 2010 Canada, under the Premiership of Stephen Harper became an observer  at the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)  talks, and expressed interest in officially joining (CBC News 2010). Under the tenure of President Trump, the United States withdrew from TPP on January 23, 2017. BBC. 2017. “Trump executive order pulls out of TPP trade deal. 

October 2010 Against the backdrop of the TPP talks, David E.  Bond, the retired chief economist of HSBC Bank of Canada, published an opinion piece in the Globe and Mail which was “highly critical of milk supply management (Doyon 2011:12)”. Bond wrote that the “government sanctioned” National Dairy Policy resulted in a “wealth transfer of more than $2.4-billion annually from consumers and food processors to diary farmers. That’s more than $175,000 for each dairy farmer (Bond 2010).” Ed Mussell of the George Morris Centre (Mussell 2010)  and Maurice Doyon of the Cirano Centre described the series of articles and their counter arguments from supporters of supply management, as “a great deal of rhetoric, simplistic arguments and invalid and untested assumptions (Doyon 2011:12)”.

March 11, 2010. Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and other U.S. senators representing dairy farmers called on President Obama to be wary of proposed “one-sided dairy provisions” in the Trans Pacific Partnership to be negotiated with Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and possibly additional countries (Crapo 2010).” They were particularly concerned about “anti-competitive practices in New Zealand’s dairy industry could greatly harm U.S. dairy farmers…[They were concerned that “losses to U.S. dairy producers may total up to $20 billion over the first decade of the agreement if U.S. dairy restrictions on exports from New Zealand are fully phased out in the TPP…Despite New Zealand’s small size, its dairy industry is a global power. New Zealand’s dairy industry is dominated by one company that operates as a virtual monopoly in controlling more than 90 percent of the country’ milk production and approximately 40 percent of trade in key internationally traded dairy commodities. In light of this market power, the Administration should consider whether genuine competition is possible as it proceeds with the TPP….New Zealand has demonstrated its capacity to funnel product to the U.S. market as evidenced by the sizable quantities of milk protein concentrates (MPCs) and casein imported each year into the U.S. from New Zealand. MPC and casein imports enter the U.S. virtually tariff-free and with no volume quotas unlike imported nonfat dry milk, butterfat or most cheeses (Crapo 2010).”

2010 There was a very strong demand for Milk Protein Isolates (MPI)  in Canada (Doyle 2011).

2009 There was a very strong demand for Milk Protein Isolates (MPI)  in Canada (Doyle 2011).

October 2008  “In 2008, Canada undertook an Article XXVII action to create a new TRQ for milk protein included in chapter 35 of the Harmonize Trade Schedule (Howard 2017?).” According to the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC), the Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) that caps the amount of Milk Protein Isolates (MPI) allowed into Canada, has been in place since October 2008 (Doyle 2011).

A 2008 OECD “report found that the price of dairy products in Canada [was] more than double the market price  (Lee 2011).”

2008 In their 2008 article, “Sensory properties of dairy proteins“, Drake and Wright described milk protein concentrates (MPCs) and isolates (MPIs) as a “newer category of dried dairy ingredients that are rapidly gaining in popularity. These products are manufactured by concentrating milk proteins (whey proteins and caseins) from fluid milk by membrane processing followed by spray drying. Recent work in the primary author’s laboratory has addressed the sensory properties of milk proteins across increasing protein concentration (Drake and Wright 2008).”

2005 “Canada had the chance in 2005 to join the nascent [TPP], but chose not to (Dawson 2012). ”

2003 “U.S. powdered-milk stockpile has grown to a record 1.28 billion pounds (Webb 2003).

December 18, 2002. The FDA wrote a warning letter to Kraft Foods North America, Inc. concerned a violation of the violation of Section 403(g)(1) of the Act. “The use of milk protein concentrate (MPC) in these products constitutes a violation of Section 403(g)(1) of the Act because the products are represented as foods for which standards of identity have been prescribed by regulation and the use of milk protein concentrate in these products does not conform to the standards (FDA 2002).”

2001 ” Most Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, including Canada and the United States maintained “large dairy trade barriers” with the exception of “New Zealand, and to a lesser extent Australia”. Trade barriers are used with
significant intervention in the domestic market to achieve a variety of policy
objectives including income support, producer equity, price enhancement and
price/income stability (Cox, Le Roy, Goddard 2001:254).”

2000 “On 23 December 1999, Canada, the United States, and New Zealand
jointly announced the terms under which Canada’s subsidized exports of dairy
products will be reduced. Under the agreement, Canada will immediately
comply with its WTO export subsidy commitments on butter, skimmed milk
powder, and other dairy products. Moreover, Canada has committed to reduce
substantially the amount of milk made available to cheese producers during the
remainder of the current marketing year (ending July 30, 2000) and to cease
issuing permits for such milk on 31 March 2000. Beginning in the 2000/01
marketing year (Aug./July), Canada will not be able to export more than 9,076
tons of cheese. This total is less than half of the volume exported in recent
years (Cox, Le Roy, Goddard 2001:254).”

1997 The Canadian unit of Parmalat SpA of Italy, which is a subsidiary of Lactalis, was established in Canada with the acquisition of of Beatrice Foods Canada and Ault Foods (Wikipedia. “Parmalat Canada”).

By 2011, the three processors, the Toronto-based, Parmalat Canada, Montreal-based Saputo Inc and Agropur, controlled 80% of all milk production in Canada. From 1990 to 2000 there were many Canadian acquisitions; from 2000 to 2010 there were not many more (Doyle 2011).

January 1, 1995  The World Trade Organization (WTO) was established.

January 1, 1994 The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed. American milk protein isolates (MPI), also known as milk protein concentrates (MPC) such as ultrafiltered milk or diafiltered milk, was invented post-NAFTA. “Canadian officials have been told that they are not allowed to subject American diafiltered milk imports to what’s known as a tariff rate quota (TRQ) – that cap the amount of product allowed in. That’s meant the American dairy industry has had complete and unfettered access to the Canadian market place for diafiltered milk for several years. (Diafiltered milk is not used by American dairy processors.) 

1990s  Commodity Risk Management Group ‘s Mike North, “says this dates back to General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATT) from the 1990s when Canada decided to take a protective stance on its dairy industry, creating a quota system. North says Canada isn’t necessarily to blame…This is a very different situation, because it has more to do with politics and less to do with markets or bad financial situations that are broader than agriculture itself. They really didn’t change their position, they just cleaned up some of the loose ends that existed since that position was first taken. Ultimately, I wouldn’t blame them, so to speak, but at the same time, their action is what quickly caused this scenario. If this whole affair wouldn’t have taken place in April but rather in July, none of this conversation would have been had (Morgan 2017).” North called the situation “unprecedented”.

March, 1992 “In March of 1992, the FDA Division of Regulatory Guidance issued an opinion letter after 18 months of study [1990-1992], that a product “made by the removal of non-protein components such as lactose, water, and minerals from skim milk by the ultrafiltration procedure, thereby concentrating the protein components to higher levels” could be called a milk protein concentrate…FDA supplied a further description by stating that the milk protein concentrate should contain protein representative “of all the fractions of milk proteins in the same ratio as they are found naturally occurring in milk.” Although there is no official, legal identity for a milk protein concentrate in the Code of Federal Regulations, the above definition is the FDA’s intention for an identity of MPC. There are some MPC’s being offered in the USA today that do not fit within the identity stated above. There are MPC’s being offered today that are mixtures of caseinates and whey protein concentrates. There are also mixtures of caseinates and skim milk that are being offered as MPC. Be very careful to ensure that your ingredient is true, filtered MPC within the spirit of the FDA opinion (Idaho Milk Products 1992).”

1989 Canada joined The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum at its inception.

1980s  “Considering its small size, NZ has become a disproportionately large player on the international stage since the 1980s, trading with over 150 countries and possessing one of the most open economies amongst Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD] countries (Patman & Rudd, 2005 cited in Gambling 2016:6).”

1975 Maubois, J.L., Mocquot, G. (July 1975). Application of Membrane Ultrafiltration to Preparation of Various Types of Cheese“. Journal of Dairy Science. Volume 58. Issue 7. , Pages 1001-1007. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(75)84672-8 Abstract: “A liquid product with the same composition as a cheese can be obtained by ultrafiltration of milk under appropriate conditions. After rennetting and addition of starter, soft fresh or ripened cheeses have successfully been prepared from the pre-cheese. Both cows’ and goats’ milk have been used as starting material. Preparation of a liquid pre-cheese offers advantages compared to the standard process in which rennet is added to cheese milk. These include an increase in yield due to retention of soluble proteins in the curd, better adjustment of the weight of each cheese, use of much less rennet, less space for equipment and handling, and whey with a lower biological oxygen demand than normal whey. Other possible applications of ultrafiltration in the cheese making field are presented.”

1971 Federal legislation was enacted to establish supply management in its current form under the tenure of then-Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, (Liberal). Trudeau has expressed support for the system since 1949 when he was as an assistant to Robert Gordon Robertson (Geddes 2011). Supply Management was “implemented in its current form” in Canada “to ensure a fair return for farmers and price stability for processors and consumers (Findlay 2012:3).”

1969 Maubois, J.L., Mocquot, G. and Vassal, L., 1969, Procédé de traitement du lait et de ses sous-produits laitiers, Brevet Français 2 052 121.

1966 “Supply management started under the Pearson government with the establishment of the Canadian Dairy Commission in 1966 and was expanded to cover eggs, chickens and turkeys during the Pierre Trudeau and Brian Mulroney years (Lee 2011).

1960s “Since its inception in the 1960s, Canadian supply management has been a contentious policy framework. Both the overarching concept and regulatory details of supply management have been debated extensively amongst political, industry and civil society groups; in recent years, supply management has garnered particular attention during the development of international trade negotiations ( Gambling 2016:5).”

1949 Pierre Elliott Trudeau, then assistant to head of the Privy Council Office’s economics division wrote in a memo that, “Price support is only a means; the end we seek should be a livable income for every citizen. And as a means, price support cannot be used systematically; for it naturally tends to prevent equilibrium of demand and supply (Trudeau cited in (Geddes 2011).”

1948 Many countries signed the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) to promote international trade by reducing or eliminating trade barriers such as tariffs or quotas.

1938 Canada and the United States signed the Reciprocal Tariff Act that combined with the 1936 agreement, “made it easier to export commodities such as fish, lumber, cattle, dairy products and potatoes, as well as machinery and equipment to the US, while Canada reduced some of its barriers to imports (Crane 2009-2015).”

1938 During the economic crisis of the 1930s, the Saint-Hubert, Québec-based Agropur Cooperative, was established in 1938, along with hundreds of other dairy cooperatives at that time. By 2011 it was one of three major players in the Canadian dairy industry controlling 80% of milk production. Agropur has 8,300 employees in 39 plants and many distribution centres in both Canada and the United States, and works with roughly 3,290 dairy farmers.  Agropur “processes more than 6 billion litres of milk annually”. )Agropur Canada Wikipidia).

1936 A Canada–US agreement in 1936 “marked the beginning of an economic relationship that over time led to steadily declining tariffs and other trade barriers (Crane 2009-2015).”

1934 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt obtained “the authority from Congress, through the 1934 Reciprocal Tariff Act, to lower or raise tariffs up to 50 per cent from existing levels in bilateral negations with other countries (Crane 2009-2015).”

1930 “The origins of current dairy trade disputes stem in part from the desire
to prevent a repeat of the trade wars during the 1930s and the World War that
followed. The collapse of world trade during the 1930s made a lasting impact
on the negotiators of multilateral trade agreements following the War
(Cox, Le Roy, Goddard 2001:254).” “President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and, yes, Prime Minister Mackenzie King “began crafting the first agreements to liberalize trade relations (Mihm 2018)”

1930 “In 1930, the US enacted the Tariff Act of 1930 — the Smoot-Hawley Tariff — which took US tariffs to record levels, not only dealing an immediate and devastating blow to the Canadian economy but precipitating competitive rounds of protectionism worldwide, making the Great Depression much worse. In 1930, Canadian exports to the US totalled $515 million; by 1932 they had fallen to $235 million. Canada responded quickly, raising tariffs twice, in its 1930 and 1931 budgets. For example, tariffs on “luxury” cars from the US were raised to 40 per cent (Crane 2009-2015).”

Supply management system regulations

There were 5 classes of milk prior to 2016: Class 1 included fluid liquid products; Class 2 included yogurt, ice cream, soft products; Class 3 included Cheese; Class 4 included butter, milk powders and Class 5 included exports under access, permits 5(d) subsidized exports. In April 2016 Ontario began to implement a new milk price (Class 6) and Manitoba did the same in August 2016 (Mussell 2006:1).

Canada’s dairy industry compared to New Zealand’s

Comparisons with New Zealand’s dairy industry from a table by  (Gambling 2016:8).”

Human population Canada: 35.99 million  New Zealand 4.65 million
Number of dairy farms Canada: 11,683 New Zealand 11,927
Number of milk cows Canada: 953,200 New Zealand 4.92 million
Average herd size Canada: 77 New Zealand 413
Milk produced Canada: 7.83 billion litres New Zealand 20.7 billion litres
Cows/capita Canada: 0.03 New Zealand 1.06
Litres milk/capita Canada: 217.6 New Zealand 4451.6
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (direct) of dairy production (year; % national GDP)
CAD $5.6 billion (2013; 0.35%) NZD $5 billion (2010; 2.8%)

Value of international dairy exports
CAD $281 million  NZD $14-18 billion

Critics of Canada’s dairy

“The system’s critics of Canada’s supply management system “say the tightly controlled program stifles innovation, bars Canadian companies from selling onto international markets, limits choice at the grocery store and saddles Canadian consumers with higher prices (Panetta 2017). Critics of Canada’s dairy include:

  • President Donald Trump on behalf of the American dairy industry.
  • US Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who called for an end to Canadian program hurting upstate dairy farmers on April 17, 2018 (Magnarelli 2017 ).
  • New Zealand, often cited as a dairy-industry success story that followed the neoliberal model and therefore compared and contrasted with Canada’s supply management policies. See (Gambling 2016). New Zealand rejected Canada’s entry into the TPP because of its SM policies.
  • Maxime Bernier (PC) who posted his chapter on June 5, 2018 on supply management (April 2018) from a book he is writing entitled Doing Politics Differently: My Vision for Canada.
  • “Montreal Economic Institute, a free-market think tank in Montreal, urged Canadian policy-makers to seize the opportunity to dismantle a system that it says costs Canadian families an extra $339 a year in grocery bills (Panetta 2017).”
  • Martha Hall Findlay Why the dairy industry’s defence of supply management is so flawed Findlay, Martha Hall. (May 14, 2014). “The evidence against supply management is overwhelming. What are politicians waiting for?Macleans. (Findlay 2014)

  • In general, free traders disagree with supply management system because it is a subsidy, not directly through government but indirectly through higher consumer prices. The political challenge is that it is very difficult to remove any subsidy to an industry once it is in place. It is difficult to mobilize voters enough just because they pay a little more for their cheese. It is quite easy to mobilize dairy farmers and the dairy industry to vocalize their concerns to all levels of government through the media to insist on the need to keep the system in place. Politicians at all levels of governance will not want to antagonize the dairy industry.

to be continued

Webliography

AgroPur Cooperative. (2017). “Serge Riendeau to head Canadian Dairy Commission.” Serge Riendeau, President of Agropur Cooperative from 2002 to 2017, was “appointed CEO of the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC).” (Agropur 2017)

As CEO of the Ottawa-based Crown corporation, CDC Riendeau is responsible for “cooperating and negotiating with dairy industry stakeholders to reconcile their interests and maintain compliance with the supply management system”. Riendeau was a farmer and dairy producer before becoming President of Agropur Cooperative in 1992. He advocates for the “supply management system” and “was instrumental in the establishment of a national strategy to promote the use of Canadian dairy ingrédients (Agropur 2017)“.

Agropur Dairy Cooperative. (April 12, 2016). “Imported diafiltered milk : a common front by the dairy industry to get Ottawa to act.” Montreal. (Agropur 2016)

Anderson, Bruce, Coletto,  David . (April 25, 2017) “Trade, Trump & Milk: How Canadians React To Tough Talk.” Abacus Data. (Anderson and Coletto 2017)

Barber, John. (June 9, 2018). “Why Canadian milk infuriates Donald Trump” The Guardian (UK). (Barber 2018)

Barrett, Rick. (April 11, 2017) “Canada says don’t blame it for Wisconsin dairy woes.”

Berthiaume, Lee. (June 11, 2018). “Canadian dairy farmers accuse Trump of trying to drive them out of business.” CTV News. (Berthiaume 2018)

Bond, David E. (October 21, 2010). “How dairy farmers milk Canada’s taxpayers“. The Globe and Mail. (Bond 2010)

CBC News. (November 10, 2010). “Tories consider joining TransPacific trade group”.

Cessna, Jerry. (2017). “Situation and Outlook for the U.S. Dairy Industry USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum.” (Cessna 2017)

Alberta Dairy Farmers Stand Up Against President Trump.” Alberta Milk. (Conway 2018)

Council of Canadians. (November 20, 2017). “Factsheet: NAFTA and Farming“. Ottawa, Ontario. (Council of Canadians 2017).

“Given the subsidized U.S. industrialized farming industry, allowing U.S. farms more market access would mean Canadian small farmers would be in competition with larger industrialized U.S. farms. The market would expand to include milk from U.S. farms that may have bovine growth hormone (BGH) in it, unlike the milk here in Canada, which doesn’t allow BGH.”

Cox, Tom L., Le Roy, Danny G., Goddard, and Ellen W. (2001). “Dairy Disputes in North America: a Case Study.” NAFTA – Report Card on Agriculture. AgCon Research in Agricultural & Applied Economics.

Crane, David. (2009-2015) “Canada–US Economic Relations: Economic relations between Canada and the US are of paramount importance to Canada“. Historica Canada. (Crane 2009-2015).

Crapo, Mike. (March 11, 2010). “Crapo, Risch fight for fair trade agreement for U.S. dairy farmers: bipartisan group raises concern over anti-competitive practices in New Zealand’s dairy industry”.

Cuomo, Andrew. (October 2016). Correspondence to PM Trudeau (regarding milk supplies).

Dawson, Laura. (February 12, 2012). “Can Canada Join the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Why just wanting it is not enough“. PDF.

“The expanding Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement could eventually account for half of global output and 40 percent of world trade. How can Canada get a seat at the negotiating table?” 

Doyle, Pierre; Asgarali, Aamir;  Beaulieu-Charbonneau, Olivier. “Canada’s Dairy Industry s Dairy Industry: Position for the future.” Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC). (Doyle 2011)

Drake, M.A., Wright, J.M. (2008). “Sensory properties of dairy proteins Milk Proteins. Abstract: “Milk protein concentrates (MPCs) and isolates (MPIs) represent a newer category of dried dairy ingredients that are rapidly gaining in popularity. These products are manufactured by concentrating milk proteins (whey proteins and caseins) from fluid milk by membrane processing followed by spray drying.” 

Gambling, Samantha Jane. (2016). “Canadian supply management : a food sovereignty policy? : British Columbia and New Zealand industry stakeholder” MSc Thesis. Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems Vancouver: University of British Columbia Library.

“[Gambling] conducted 27 in-depth interviews with stakeholders from the BC dairy sector as well as textual analyses of industry reports. I also conducted interviews with 10 stakeholders from the New Zealand (NZ) dairy sector as a comparative case study of producer perspectives on dairy production in a liberalized policy environment. Results suggest that supply management in the BC dairy industry is more conducive to food sovereignty than the neoliberal and neo-cooperative organization of the NZ dairy industry.” 

The Economist. (June 14, 2018). “Breaking a few eggs: Donald Trump stomps on Canada’s economy: To avoid further damage, Justin Trudeau may have to stop coddling farmers.” Ottawa, Ontario.

Findlay, Martha Hall. (June 2012).  “Supply Management: Problems, Politics and Possibilities”. Volume 5. Issue 19. SPP Papers. The School of Public Policy. University of Calgary.

Hall makes the “case for liberalizing the Canadian dairy industry” and argues that the supply management system is in effect, a cartel.

Findlay, Martha Hall. (May 14, 2014). “The evidence against supply management is overwhelming. What are politicians waiting for?Macleans. (Findlay 2014)

Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (December 18, 2002). “Warning Letter CHI-6-03“. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Chicago, Illinois.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. (December 3, 2012).   “Canada Joins TransPacific Partnership Round.”

Geddes, John. (November 15, 2011). “A novice bureaucrat (and future PM) on supply management.” Macleans.

Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates Limited. (February 8, 2018). “American dairy farmers depend on government subsidies.” (Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates 2018)

Haddon, Heather. (May 21, 2017). “Got Milk? Too much of it, say U.S. dairy farmers.” Market Watch. (Haddon 2017)

Howard, Fran. “NAFTA provides unfettered access to Canadian market for U.S. high-protein milk ingredients—at least for now.” (Howard 2017?)

Idaho Milk Products. (1992) “What is Milk Protein Concentrate (MPC)?” (Idaho Milk Products 1992)

Inside Trade. (January 28, 2012). “TPP Countries Say Canada Not Ready To Join Talks, Press Vietnam To Decide.” Paywall.

Johnson, Kelsey. (April 22, 2017). “Dairy 101: The Canada-U.S. milk spat explained”. ipolitics.ca.

Kilgannon, Corey. (March 19, 2018). When the Death of a Family Farm Leads to Suicide The New York Times. Eaton, N.Y.

Laca, Anna-Lisa. (May 3, 2018). “Will NAFTA 2.0 Kill Canada’s Class 7?” Farm Journal & MILK Magazine. The target audience of this magazine are large-dairy producers—those with 500 or more cows.

Lee, Ian. (November 21, 2011). “The milking of Canadians“. The Star. Toronto. (Lee 2011)

Lee, Klaudia. (September 16, 2008) “NZ alerted China to tainted milk, PM saysSouth China Morning PostHong Kongpage A1 (Lee 2008)

Magnarelli, Tony. (April 17, 2018). “Schumer calls for an end to Canadian program hurting upstate dairy farmers.” WRVO Public Media.

Saputo seeks global acquisitions to offset Canadian competition.” The Globe and Mail. Montreal.

Maubois, J.L., Mocquot, G. and Vassal, L., 1969, Procédé de traitement du lait et de ses sous-produits laitiers, Brevet Français 2 052 121.

Maubois, J.L., Mocquot, G. (July 1975). Application of Membrane Ultrafiltration to Preparation of Various Types of Cheese“. Journal of Dairy Science. Volume 58. Issue 7. , Pages 1001-1007. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(75)84672-8 Abstract: “A liquid product with the same composition as a cheese can be obtained by ultrafiltration of milk under appropriate conditions. After rennetting and addition of starter, soft fresh or ripened cheeses have successfully been prepared from the pre-cheese. Both cows’ and goats’ milk have been used as starting material. Preparation of a liquid pre-cheese offers advantages compared to the standard process in which rennet is added to cheese milk. These include an increase in yield due to retention of soluble proteins in the curd, better adjustment of the weight of each cheese, use of much less rennet, less space for equipment and handling, and whey with a lower biological oxygen demand than normal whey. Other possible applications of ultrafiltration in the cheese making field are presented.”

Maubois, J.L., Tareck A., 1981. “Ultrafiltration-thermisation du lait à la production: aspects bactériologiques”.

McGregor, Janyce. (August 2, 2017). “A winning formula? China invests in Canadian dairy to help feed its baby boom: Feihe International investing $225 million to build infant formula plant in Kingston, Ont.” CBC News.

Mordor Intelligence. (May 2018).  “Global Dairy Ingredients Market – Growth, Trends, and Forecast (2018 – 2023).” Research and Markets. ID: 4402743. 110 pages. Mordor Intelligence.

Mihm, Stephen. (June 14, 2018). “Trade War History Is Not on Justin Trudeau’s Side: Tariffs could batter the U.S. economy, embolden Canadian nationalists and enrich China. Bloomberg. (Mihm 2018)

Morgan, Tyne. (April 25, 2017)”Grassland Dairy Dump: Is Canada Really to Blame?” US Farm Report. Ag Web. (Morgan 2017)

Mussell, Al. (May 2016). “Understanding the Dynamics of Milk Pricing and Revenue in a Time of Change.” Independent Agri-Food Policy Note. Agri-Food Economic Systems Newsletter. Guelph Ontario. (Mussell 2016)

Mussell, Al. (2010). “Making Sense out of a Stale Debate: Milk Supply Management in Canada.” George Morris Centre. (Mussell 2010)

“The debate surrounding supply management has frequently involved a great deal of rhetoric, simplistic arguments and invalid and untested assumptions as highlighted in a recent paper by the George Morris Centre (Doyon 2011:12)”. Doyon, Maurice. (October 2011). “Canada’s Dairy Supply Management: Comprehensive Review and Outlook for the Future.” (Doyon 2011:12)

Nickel, Rod. (June 7, 2016). “Canada weighs options as farmers spar over U.S. milk.” Reuters.

FactCheck.org (April 2017) Email correspondence with Andrew Novakovic.

“The Canadian system is a labyrinth of intertwined regulations and a symbiotic relationship between the Federal and Provincial governments. While it is true that some things are in the direct control of the Provinces, it is generally the case that a Province could not effectively maintain these controls without the Federal system and sanction (Novakovic 2017).”

Orol, Ronald. (January 23, 2018). “NAFTA’s Dairy Divide: Canadian and American dairy sectors don’t agree on trade data.” The Centre for International Governance Innovation. Waterloo, Ontario. (Orol 2018)

Palmer, Doug. (May 13, 2012). “Some secrecy needed in trade talks: Ron Kirk.” Reuters.

Panetta, Alexander. (October 16, 2017). “The final NAFTA bombshell: U.S. demands Canada end supply management for dairy, poultry, eggs: With that demand, the U.S. has now adopted a highly aggressive posture on virtually all the key issues expected to arise in the current NAFTA talks.” National Post. (Panetta 2017)

PR Newswire. (June 5, 2018). “Dairy Ingredients Market to Grow Swiftly Due to Rising Awareness About Benefits of Healthy & Nutritious Diet Till 2024.” Million Insights. Felton, California.

Ritchie, Kerri. (December 28, 2009). “Fonterra denies advocating melamine use in milk scandal“.  New Zealand. ABC. (Ritchie 2009)

Robertson, Lori. (April 28, 2017). “The U.S.-Canada Dairy Dispute.” FactCheck.org. A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center.

“The Canadian system is a labyrinth of intertwined regulations and a symbiotic relationship between the Federal and Provincial governments. While it is true that some things are in the direct control of the Provinces, it is generally the case that a Province could not effectively maintain these controls without the Federal system and sanction.”

Workers ‘in shock’ over Sydney dairy closure.”

Shoup, Mary Ellen. (September 7, 2017). “USDEC ushers in strategic plan to grow US dairy exports market by 5%“. Daily Reporter. (Shoup 2017)http://bit.ly/USDECNext5Percent

Smith, Wally (May 4, 2016). “What is diafiltered milk?”dairyfarmers.ca.

Stats Canada. “Canadian farmers had 11.6 million cattle on their farms.” (March 6, 2018). Livestock estimates, January 1, 2018. The Daily. (StatsCan 2018)

Todd, Chuck. “Full Trudeau: Canada and U.S. most successful alliance ‘in the history of the modern world’.Meet the Press. NBC News. (Todd 2018)

Trudeau, Pierre Elliott. 1949. “On Price Support for Commodity Surpluses.” Memo to Gordon Robertson, the head of the Privy Council Office’s economics division cited in (Geddes 2011).

Verboven, Will. (June 16, 2018). “It’s hard to believe dairy farmers hold the key to NAFTA.” The Calgary Herald.

Watson, William. (June 12, 2018) “How should Canada respond to the Trump-quake? By not being stupid: Trade with the rich folk who live just down the road will always be best for Canada. Without the U.S., this country would be worse off“. Financial Post. (Watson 2018) Watson argued that Canada should “Keep our trade and investment policies liberal and get rid of policy stupidities such as supply management (i.e., legislated high prices for essential foodstuffs). Australia did it in 2000, almost 20 years ago now. We aren’t as smart as Australians?” [“In Australia, large producers paid milk producers $1.00 Australian – about 99 cents Canadian – for a litre of milk, which was less than what it cost to produce. Many farmers abandoned farming. Because of this, Australia provided more that $555 million in farming subsidies  (Council of Canadians 2017).”] In the comments section of “How should Canada respond to the Trump-quake?  (Watson 2018), this response: Supply management ” is a very excellent system that controls production and guarantees a steady supply and fair return for the producer. Most family farms in the US have been taken over by big operations because of slim margins. Those family farms still operating are being subsidized by off farm income. They are hoping just to last another year until things improve. The cost of quota in Canada,( the tool to manage supply, ) is not used in calculation of the milk price, producers get. It is the best system out there to date.
Chicken farms have been taken over by big companies in the US and farmers have now become just hired hands for feeding and taking care of the big companies animals. This same thing is happening in Canada to hog farms. …Why destroy a system that works and replace it with one that does not?” Another added: “Supply management is the best alternative to subsidies. American dairy producers are subsidized to the tune of over 70 percent of market returns. This drives the massive overproduction of dairy and they constantly need to find export markets to dump that surplus. As long as the Americans continue their own indefensible system of supporting agriculture, we’d be fools to open up our markets for dairy. A third said, “Canadian dairies are subsidized just about the same amount but it is the consumers that pay that subsidy in the form of higher prices. A fourth added, “Overall the US has a 1.5 billion surplus with Canada in overall dairy trade.” A fifth wrote, “But there are significant differences between our two systems that lead to very different market results. US dairy farmers have used government subsidies to continue to ramp up production, resulting in a massive market glut. Because dairy farming is now so unprofitable, these farmers have become more reliant on subsidies. It’s a vicious cycle based on the conceit that increasing production is always best. Supply management was designed to prevent this exact scenario from happen. It provides the discipline that US dairy is sorely lacking. It’s not a perfect system. IMO, we should be lowering tariffs for specialty products that meet our standards. But the real danger to opening up the issue is from the American producers who desperately want to dump their surplus and keep their broken system going.” Another contributed, ” I just happen to think that co-operative supply management is a superior system to government subsidizing a free-for-all of production.” Another clarified that “The 270% is NOT an across the board tariff. The tariff is ONLY applied when a relatively high level of dairy is has already been imported. And Canada imported in the range of 130 million worth of dairy from the USA and exported about 30 million. Whose trade is imbalanced?” And another, “Does everyone understand that the tariff only kicks in once we buy more then 10% of all our milk from the US. This is to protect our farmers and consumers from the us dumping crappy growth hormoned milk into our economy.” And again, “Yes, certain food industries are protected in Canada mainly because they aren’t the mega-operations in the USA and because they can’t be competitive given the seasons and price of feed. If we allow those industries to be controlled by another country, how do we ever stand up to a bully who then controls our food supply.” And, “countries like Australia put an end to it, but that has not turned out well for any of them – they are all suffering now. Good for Canada for protecting their own. The US made bad choices to deregulate in the 80s and 90s – they can’t go whining about other countries bullying them 30 years later. Trump needs to get some supply regulations in his own country instead of threatening Canada.”And, “Yes, the Australian’s dumped supply management nearly 20 years ago and earned a better deal in trade relations. However, New Zealand got rid of supply management and other farm subsidies in the late 1980’s, under a socialist government, no less and wacked the hell out of most other countries in agricultural products, and are still doing it to a large extent. New Zealand lamb in the store, cheaper by far, than local lamb, as just one example.”(Watson 2018).”

Webb, Tom. (August 20, 2003). “Growing Powdered-Milk Surplus Is Blamed on Price Support Policy

Womach, Jasper. (June 16, 2005). “Agriculture: A Glossary of Terms, Programs, and Laws, 2005 edition.” US Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report for Congress. The Library of Congress.

Yarr, Kevin. (June 15, 2018). “U.S. isn’t trying to get Canada to end supply management, its agriculture secretary says: ‘You dump milk solids on the world market and depress prices from our producers,’ Sonny Perdue says.” CBC News. (Yarr 2018)

Appendix

Who’s Who

Organizations

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

American Dairy Association (ADA) [www.ilovecheese.com/default.htm].

British Columbia Dairy Association (BCDA)

British Columbia Farm Industry Review Board (BCFIRB)

British Columbia Milk Marketing Board (BCMMB)

British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture (BCMA)

Canadian Border Services Agency import rules considered American U.S. milk protein isolates, also known as milk protein concentrates (MPC) such as ultrafiltered milk or diafiltered milk, to be a protein ingredient, which is “not subject to Canada’s high dairy tariffs …Further, because the product was invented post-NAFTA, Canadian officials have been told that they are not allowed to subject American diafiltered milk imports to what’s known as a tariff rate quota (TRQ) – that cap the amount of product allowed in. That’s meant the American dairy industry has had complete and unfettered access to the Canadian market place for diafiltered milk for several years. (Diafiltered milk is not used by American dairy processors.)  “Riendeau and Agropur have previously criticized a loophole in Canadian import rules that allows diafiltered milk to enter the country as a “protein substance” ingredient while still considered “milk” by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for the purposes of Canadian processing  (AGCanada 2016).”

Center for Dairy Profitability at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Director, Mark Stephenson, says “To cope, [American] farmers need to stop expanding their herds (Haddon 2017).”

Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC) is a “Crown corporation that supervises, supports and regulates the dairy industry, serving the interests of farmers, processors and consumers. Among other things, it administers the supply management system, manages programs that target the industry, upholds milk quality standards and supports Canadians working in the dairy industry (Agropur 2017).”

Canadian Dairy Information Centre (CDIC)

Canadian Milk Supply Management Committee (CMSMC), “chaired by the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC), is a permanent body created by the provincial signatories to the National Milk Marketing Plan (NMMP) and is responsible for policy determination and supervision of the provisions of the NMMP. The CDC acts as the national facilitator and mediator in helping build consensus between all parties (Canadian Dairy Commission CMSMC).”

CoBank Acb, an agriculture cooperative bank

Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA)

Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is a well-funded lobby group, considered by some to be Canada’s most powerful lobby. The DFC spends an estimated $80 to $100 million each year (Findlay 2014). The Dairy Farmers of Canada’s Isabelle Bouchard responded, “We don’t feel good about U.S. farms going out of business. But you know what? It’s not our responsibility. It’s your own responsibility, as a country, to manage your production,” …We are a nation of 36 million people, less than the population of California. How do you expect us to (consume) your over-supply of milk when we already produce milk for our market?” (Barrett 2017

Food Secure Canada (FSC)

International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, DC. Michael Dykes, CEO, claims that “Class 7 is top of mind for the Trump Administration and they understand the short and long-term impacts Class 7 is having on American dairy farms…I believe dairy will be probably one of the last things addressed, but I remain optimistic we’ll get something done on Class 7 (Laca 2018).”

National Farmers Union (NFU) “Jan Slomp, President of the National Farmers’ Union, a grassroots group of small farmers says, “We need Canada to stand firm against any temptation to negotiate away supply management. Our system ensures farmers are paid the cost of production, processing plants are able to run at full capacity, and consumers have a reliable, wholesome and affordable supply of dairy, poultry and eggs – all without any government subsidies (Council of Canadians 2017).”

National Milk Producers Federation U.S.

New Zealand Dairy Board (NZDB)

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD )

University of British Columbia (UBC)

U.S. Dairy Export Council

Individuals

Dawson, Laura. Dr. Laura Dawson is a “member of the C.D. Howe Institute International Economic Policy Advisory Council and president of Dawson Strategic. Dr. Dawson is former Senior Economic Specialist at the US Embassy in Ottawa.”

Lighthizer, Robert U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer

Twitter

The Guardian (UK).

Canada and the US “remain implacably opposed on the comparatively minor matter of milk,” The entire trade in dairy products between Canada & US is worth less than US$600m Dairying is a “key economic support of traditional rural life throughout central Canada”

75% of Canadians support even greater government efforts to defend the industry in the face of current US demands.” “Supply management enjoys strong government support It obviates the need to subsidize farmers directly”

“Dairy deregulation has spread hardship” in the US In 2017 “US farmers dumped almost 100m gallons of surplus milk” because of overproduction There has been a surge in dairy-farmer suicides in the US because of a widespread hopelessness in the dairy industry In Canada they prosper

Working definitions of key terms

Dairy Price Support Program The United States “federal program that maintains a minimum farm price for milk used in the manufacture of dairy products. USDA indirectly assures a minimum price for milk by purchasing any cheddar cheese, nonfat dry milk, and butter offered to it by dairy processors at stated prices. These purchase prices are set high enough to enable dairy processors to pay farmers at least the support price for the milk they use in manufacturing these products. The 2002 farm bill (P.L. 107-171, Sec. 1501) mandated a support price of $9.90/cwt, effective through December 31, 2007, when the program by law is scheduled to expire. Also, the farm bill established a Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program that makes direct payments to participating dairy farmers whenever the minimum monthly market price for farm milk used for fluid consumption in Boston falls below $16.94 per hundredweight (cwt.). The MILC program expires September 30, 2005 (Womach CRS 2005:71) .”

Dairy Export Incentive Program (DEIP) — A program in the United States that offered “subsidies to exporters of U.S. dairy products to help them compete with other nations. USDA pays cash to exporters as bonuses to help them sell certain U.S. dairy products at prices below the exporter’s cost of acquiring them. The program was originally authorized by the Food Security Act of 1985 (P.L. 99-198) and extended by the 1990 farm bill (P.L. 101-624) and the Uruguay Round Agreements Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-465). The total tonnage and dollar amounts of these and other export subsidies have been limited by the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture. The 2002 farm bill (P.L. 107-171) extended the program through 2007 (Womach CRS 2005:71) .”

Global Dairy Ingredients Market Dairy ingredients market include Whey Ingredients Milk Powder, Milk Protein Isolates & Milk Protein Concentrates, Casein & Caseinates, Lactose, and Others.

Milk protein concentrate (MPC) “Any type of concentrated milk that contains 40-90%
milk protein. In addition to ultrafiltered milk products, the MPC classification includes
concentrates made through other processes, such as blending nonfat dry milk with highly concentrated proteins, such as casein. Currently, almost all MPC used in the U.S. is
imported and is not subject to a tariff rate quota. Many dairy producer groups are
concerned that foreign manufacturers are using nonfat dry milk in the production of MPC, and hence circumventing existing quotas on nonfat dry milk (Womach CRS 2005:165) .”

The Canadian Dairy Farmers lobby “contends that milk protein substances with 85 percent or more protein are diafiltered milk, and products made with diafiltered milk are prohibited under the Canadian compositional standards for cheese making.” Diafiltration is a process used in conjunction with ultrafiltration in which water is added back into ultrafiltered milk. The resulting substance is then dried to a power. Dried milk protein concentrate (MPC) can be made using a combination of ultrafiltration and diafiltration. Other products are also made using a combination of these techniques. For example, production of lactose-free, sugar-free or low-carbohydrate ice cream can also be made using ultrafiltration in conjunction with diafiltration to remove up to 96 percent of the lactose normally found in milk (Howard 2017?).”

Neoliberalism “values market logic and aims to re-orient the state to adopt market mechanisms. This is generally achieved through deregulation, trade liberalization, and privatization of public services (Bockman, 2013). Neoliberalism is also reflected in individual and community ideals of efficiency, competition, profitability, and selfhelp
(Bockman, 2013; Hamann, 2009 cited in Gambling 2016:3).”

Supply Management is a “system of controlled markets that applies in Canada to dairy, poultry (chicken and turkey), and eggs (both table eggs and hatching eggs). It evolved over time, implemented in its current form in the 1970s, primarily to ensure a fair return for farmers and price stability for processors and consumers (Findlay 2012:3).”

“The Institute for Supply Management broadly defines supply management as ‘the identification, acquisition, access, positioning, management of resources and related capabilities the organization needs or potentially needs in the attainment of its strategic objectives’. It involves an integration of multiple components such as inventory
control, distribution, procurement, quality and materials management, and manufacturing supervision (Cavinato, 2010 cited in Gambling 2016:5).”

“Supply management is a system in which the Canadian government produces licences that allow farmers to produce quotas of dairy, poultry or eggs. It also controls the price and taxes of imports into Canada. This process guarantees a sustainable living for farmers, and ensures that local, small farms are not flooded by agriculture from large mega farms (Council of Canadians 2017).”

And unlike the European Union or the United States, which have high subsidies for farming, Canada has not had to subsidize its farmers.

Wikipedia categories

Agriculture in Canada
Dairy farming in Canada
Poultry farming in Canada
Anti-competitive behaviour
Cartels

Wikipedia: Related articles

Supply management (Canada)
Dairy farming in Canada
Agriculture in Canada

Random notes

The subtitle of a June 9, 2018 article “Why Canadian milk infuriates Donald Trump” by Toronto-based freelance journalist, John Barber, published in The Guardian (UK), read “Trump’s latest trade war target is Canada’s protected dairy industry. But Canadians have no intention of abandoning it – because it works.”

Barber reported that the Wisconsin Farmers Union “really want” a supply managed system like the Canadian dairy industry.

He also noted that Canada imports 10% of its dairy consumption which represents 5 times more than the U.S. He also noted that the “U.S. restricts dairy imports to 3% of domestic consumption.”

Not that long ago, I had watched an informative documentary comparing the American and Canadian dairy industries but I was unable to find it.

I still have a lot of questions so I am looking for some answers.

As a veteran Wikipedia editor, my third step was to check what my fellow editors have to say. Not surprisingly there was a maintenance template on the Wikipedia article Supply management (Canada),  warning that the “neutrality of this article is disputed”. On the article’s talk page, one editor argued that too much of the article’s content comes from University of Calgary’s, School of Public Policy  Executive Fellow,  Martha Hall Findlay‘s 2012 article  “Supply Management: Problems, Politics and Possibilities.

On the Wikipedia talk page a user noted that what was missing in the article were, “The difficulties of deregulation (costs, effects, requirement of federal and provincial support), food sovereignty/market centralization, milk quality issues (in particular hormone use in the US, which likely contributes to their milk being cheaper), the Canadian public’s general support for supply management, and dumping as it associates with deregulation.”


 

 

Enter links in a Google spreadsheet

=hyperlink(“http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_economics”;”Financial economics”)

 

Wikipedia article on Financial economics

 

 


Along with vast improvements in material conditions capitalism’s dark side has created insatiable appetites, limitless monetization of contemporary life through privatization for-profit (hospitals, schools, prisons…) commodification and commercialization. Harvard political philosopher, Michael Sandel claims we have gone too far and calls for an informed public debate, a robust conversation on the moral limits of markets? Sandel argues that the left and right, the Democrats and Republicans have abandoned civic virtue, and have impoverished views of citizenship and community. Sandel does not suggest precise limits but invites discussions. Things that were once considered repugnant as marketable commodities, have become or are gradually becoming normalized: paying people to give an organ or blood or to submit to risky drug tests; the sale of naming rights in classrooms, for sports stadiums, etc; paying school children to read more or get good grades; the right of corporations to pollute the atmosphere; hiring mercenaries to fight wars or using private corporations in the U.S. military presence in Iraq; selling citizenship to immigrants; selling admission to elite universities.

Selected Timeline of Related Events in the Social History of Moral Limits of Markets

Barely begun, work in process. Please note that efforts are made to acknowledge sources but this is a blog post not an academic paper and there might be unintentional omissions. See webliography and bibliography.

2012-10-15 Roth received a Nobel Prize for his innovative exchange concept applied to kidney transplants. In a 2007 article he noted that his exchange concept may have been repugnant to some as it created a grey area in benefits from organ donations. Economists Alvin E. Roth of Harvard University and Lloyd S. Shapley of the University of California at Los Angeles whose work has led to nearly 2,000 kidney transplants across the United States have received 2012 Nobel Prize for economics Monday at a news conference in Stockholm, Sweden.  Roth and Shapley were honored for “the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design.” (Smith 2012-10-15 ”  Nobel economists’ big impact: Kidney transplants ). See also Roth, Alvin E. 2007. “Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets.” Journal of Economic Perspectives. Summer: 21:3. pp. 37–58.

2012-07-12 In a book review entitled “Money and the markets: Insatiable longing,” The Economist examined limits of capitalism.

2012-04-24 Michael J. Sandel’s book entitled What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets was published. Sandel asks, “Should we pay children to read books or to get good grades? Should we allow corporations to pay for the right to pollute the atmosphere? What about hiring mercenaries to fight our wars? Auctioning admission to elite universities? Selling citizenship to immigrants willing to pay? (Amazon)”

2007 “The laws against buying or selling kidneys reflect a reasonably widespread repugnance, and this repugnance may make it difficult for arguments that focus only on the gains from trade to make headway in changing these laws. That does not mean that no gains from exchange can be realized; in fact some gains are beginning to be realized in the kidney exchange programs that Tayfun So¨nmez, UtkuU¨ nver, and I helped to design in New England and elsewhere. In the simplest form of kidney exchange, a patient with a willing donor who has an incompatible blood type (or who is incompatible for another reason) can exchange a kidney with another such incompatible patient–donor pair. (That is, the pairs are matched so that the donor from one pair is compatible with the patient from the other, and each patient receives a kidney from the other patient’s donor.) This sort of “in kind” exchange has gained acceptance in the transplant community (Roth, Alvin E. 2007. “Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets.” Journal of Economic Perspectives. Summer: 21:3. pp. 37–58.).1″

2005-02-09 Michael J. Sandel presented his paper entitled the “The Moral Limits of Markets” in which he raised these questions: “Are there some things that should not be bought and sold, and, if so, why? The proliferation of markets in recent years makes this issue difficult to avoid. Consider, for example, recent proposals to establish markets in organs for transplantation, the race among medical entrepreneurs to patent human genes and other life forms, the aggressive marketing of drugs as consumer goods, and the proliferation of for-profit schools, hospitals, and prisons. The rampant commodification, commercialization, and privatization of contemporary life give us reason to reconsider the moral limits of markets: Are there some things that money should not buy?” (Hoffmann and Sandel 2005-02-09).

2003-07 [T]he U.S. Department of Defense included terrorist attacks or terrorism futures market in a speculative list of  predictive markets. Public repugnance forced the Pentagon to hastily cancel the program (wiki).

1996  Michael J. Sandel’s book entitled Democracy’s Discontent was published.  In it Sandel called for a rejuvenation of civic life and civic voice in the United States. He argued that the vision of citizenship and community shared by both Democrats and Republicans was impoverished ( Amazon).

1990 “[T]he Clean Air Act was amended to allow trading of rights to pollute through tradable emissions entitlements (Roth 2007).”

1980s Alvin E. Roth of Harvard University’s market design experiments based on Shapley’s 1960s work were used for such matches as students with schools and organ donors with patients who need a transplant  (Smith 2012-10-15 ”  Nobel economists’ big impact: Kidney transplants ). See also Roth, Alvin E. 2007. “Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets.” Journal of Economic Perspectives. Summer: 21:3. pp. 37–58.

1960s Economist Lloyd S. Shapley co-developed a mathematical theory on resource allocation as applied to the job market (Smith 2012-10-15 ”  Nobel economists’ big impact: Kidney transplants ). See also Roth, Alvin E. 2007. “Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets.” Journal of Economic Perspectives. Summer: 21:3. pp. 37–58.

1907 George Simmel’s book on economic sociology entitled The Philosophy of Money  was published. Simmel investigated the consequences as money penetrated everyday life. “Hannes Böhringer has argued, “Money…objectifies the ‘style of life’, forces metropolitan people into ‘objectivity’, ‘indifference’, ‘intellectuality’, ‘lack of character’, ‘lack of quality’. Money socializes human beings as strangers…money also transforms human beings into res absolutae, into objects. Simmel’s student, Georg Lukács, correctly noticed that this objectification (in his words: reification and alienation) did not remain external, cannot, as Simmel maintained, be the ‘gatekeeper of the innermost elements’, but rather itself becomes internalized (H.Böhringer, ‘Die “Philosophie des Geldes” als ästhetische Theorie’, in H.J.Dahme and O.Rammstedt (eds), Georg Simmel und die Moderne, Frankfurt, Suhrkamp, 1984, pp. 178–82, esp. p. 182. cited in Simmel, Georg. 2004 [1907]. The Philosophy of Money. Third enlarged edition. Ed. David Frisby. Trans. Tom Bottomore and David Frisby from a first draft by Kaethe Mengelberg. London and New York.)” Roth ( 2007) cited Simmel (1907 as a starting point in sociology literature on “how the introduction of money changes many kinds of social relationships and their meanings.”

Who’s Who?

Michael J. Sandel “is professor of government at Harvard University, where he has taught political philosophy in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences since 1980. He was educated at Brandeis University and received his Ph.D. from Balliol College, Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He is a member of the National Constitution Center Advisory Panel, the Rhodes Scholarship Committee of Selection, the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jewish Philosophy, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is the author, most recently, of Democracy’s Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy (1996), as well as Liberalism and Its Critics (1984) and Liberalism and the Limits of Justice (1982) (Tanner Lectures Introduction. 1998-05-11/12. “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets).” While at Balliol College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar, Sandel studied under political philosopher Charles Taylor.
[edit]

Selected Webliography and Bibliography

The Economist. 2012-07-12. “Money and the markets: Insatiable longing.” The Economist.

Hoffmann, Stanley; Sandel, Michael J. 2005-02-09. “Markets, Morals, and Civic Life”  Introduction by Stanley Hoffmann. Presented at the 1887th Stated Meeting, held at the House of the Academy. http://www.amacad.org/publications/bulletin/Summer2005/MarketsMoralsCivitLife.pdf

Roth, Alvin E. 2007. “Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets.” Journal of Economic Perspectives. Summer: 21:3. pp. 37–58.

Sandel, Michael J. 1996. Democracy’s Discontent.  Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Amazon.

Sandel, Michael J. 1998-05-11/12. “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets.” The Tanner Lectures on Human Values. Delivered at Brasenose College, Oxford.

Sandel, Michael J. 2005. “The Moral Limits of Markets.” Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Summer: 6–10.

Sandel, Michael J. 2012-04-24. What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Simmel, Georg. 1907. The Philosophy of Money. 

Smith, Aaron. 2012-10-15. “Nobel economists’ big impact: Kidney transplants.” CNN Money.


This post was last updated in 2012. The newer version, from February 2015 is under construction here.

By November 2014, according to FT Alphaville’s Izabella Kaminska, formerly a producer at CNBC, a natural gas reporter at Platts and an associate editor of BP’s internal magazine, the unanticipated over-production of ultra-sweet, light crude oil in the United States has resulted in market oversupply at a time when refineries had invested “huge sums of money”to develop highly complex refineries with coker units capable of processing cheap inferior crudes just as efficiently as light sweet grades (Kaminska 2014).”

Ongoing controversies surrounding the construction of inter-provincial and international pipelines to transport bitumen from the oil sands have raised questions about the reasons Canada does not develop an even more integrated value-added oil industry. By 2013 with profits soaring, there was a pulling back of taxation easing and a decrease in enthusiasm for what many perceive as subsidies for the oil industry. In the report entitled “Public Services for Ontarians: a Path to Sustainability and Excellence” by the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services, committee chair, economist Don Drummond, lamented the lack of federal support for Ontario’s green energy initiatives, while the oil and gas sectors received $1.4 billion in annual subsidies. However, there is at the same time, an aggressive push towards relaxing environmental concerns to allow for expansion of the already impressive network of pipelines to expand markets for bitumen with a focus on Asia.

Hearings of the Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel Hearings, examining “the environmental viability of the proposed $6-billion twin pipeline project” were besieged by protesters who claimed the review was as undemocratic and alienating as observers watch the proceedings on screen in “dark and dreary rooms” separated from presenters in an effort to maintain order and respect. While the thousands of interveners protesting are successful in capturing media attention, there is a sense that pipeline expansion is inevitable as the oil industry and federal and Alberta governments align in their focus on increasing bitumen production and access to markets (west, east, south and even north). In 2012, faced with a boom in North American oil production, a shale and oil sands revolution and lack of pipeline capacity the very low price of WCS at $57 US a barrel suffered a 36% differential against WTI. With current North American crude oil markets, Mark Corey argued that once crude reaches tidewater, this waterborne crude will have higher value than landlocked crude. Getting tidewater access pricing point depends on increased pipeline access.

John Carruthers, President, Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines and Enbridge’s panel of well known energy economists including Calgarian Bob Mansell and Muse Consultants were cross-examined by Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan. McGowan argued that there would be increased job loss if 585,000 barrels of bitumen a day were exported to China rather than upgraded and refined in Canada.  Mansell argued Alberta does not have strong, major consumer markets for refined products and there is therefore no market incentive for large-scale refining. The NDP leader is promoting pipelines to eastern Canadian refineries.  A report Muse Consulting claims that as crude prices rise Canadian crude producers revenue increases but so does the cost of feedstock to Canadian refiners using western crude wherever they might be reducing the benefit of Canadian crude to Canadian refineries by about 25 per cent.  (Pratt, Sheila. 2012-09-05. “Enbridge pipeline hearing focuses on economic benefits.” Edmonton Journal.)

At the February, 2012 parliamentary session on “Current and Future State of Oil and Gas Pipelines and Refining Capacity in Canada” Michael Ervin of Kent Group argues against the expansion of oil refineries claiming there is a trend towards decreasing the use of gasoline in North America, the US has made massive cuts in refineries, the BRIC countries will continue to building massive oil refineries and Albertan/Canadian refineries will be unable to compete at a global level.

“I sometimes hear speculation that the building of more Canadian refineries would lower the price of wholesale and retail fuels for Canadian consumers. It is important to understand, however, that Canadian refineries are really just part of a North American capacity pool, and lower wholesale prices in Canada brought about by more capacity would quickly attract U.S. wholesale buyers, thus negating any hopes of sustained lower prices in Canada (Ervin 2012-02).”

“According to Michael Ervin, while the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway proposals are important to ensure continued growth in Canada’s upstream industry, particularly the oil sands, they would reduce the competitiveness of Canadian refineries that currently process crude oil from Western Canada.63 Furthermore, Joseph Gargiso, Administrative Vice-President of Communications at the Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, told the Committee (with reference to estimates by economist Michael McCracken) that “for every 400,000 barrels of raw bitumen exported out of the country for upgrading and refining, 18,000 [well-paid] jobs in Canada will be lost […],” not including jobs related to downstream activities, such as manufacturing.64″

Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources tabled their report entitled “Now or Never”  in which they recommended shipping crude oil from the west to the east of Canada:

<blockquote> “The committee also looks favourably upon the prospect of shipping western Canadian crude to the East for refining and marketing in Ontario,
Quebec, Atlantic Canada and international markets. This idea has long been touted as an obvious way to boost Eastern Canadian energy security and advance nation-building, but it has repeatedly been delayed because of inadequate market conditions. However, the economics for piping oil to the East have improved considerably, particularly because higher prices can be achieved for oil in Eastern Canada than in the American Midwest.” (Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. July 2012. Now or Never: Canada Must Act Urgently to Seize its Place in the New Energy World Order. </blockquote>

For most of us it is confusing to attempt to follow the flow of crude oil through complicated networks of pipelines from north to south (or west to east) then back again as much more expensive, products refined in the United States? Or will be purchasing refined products from the eastern United States from refineries that process crude oil imported from Saudi Arabia, Africa and Venezuela? As China buys more of the oil sands and China and India complete their super refineries, will the gasoline in Canadian pumps will be coming from there, an even cheaper source than the United States? Does that mean bitumen from northern Alberta will traverse British Columbia/Alberta borders, then cross the ocean twice to return to us as refined products that cost less to the Canadian consumer and the environment? What are the guarantees that we will have access to oil and its byproducts in future markets when 40% of the oil sands industry is already foreign-owned and managed?


“According to the Canadian Energy Research Institute, as oil sands production grows, employment in Canada as a result of new oil sands investments in production and processing is expected to grow from 75,000 jobs in 2010 to 905,000 jobs in 2035, with 126,000 jobs being sourced in provinces other than Alberta. New oil sands development is expected to contribute more than $2.1 trillion (2010 dollars) to the Canadian economy over the next 25 years – about $84 billion per year. The oil sands industry will pay an estimated $766 billion in provincial and federal taxes and royalties in the same period, which contributes to quality of life and services across Canada (CAPP. 2011-09-22. “Oil sands a Canadian job creator; domestic and U.S. processing needed.” )”
CAPP

Integrated firms, such as Calgary-based Husky (controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing) with its crude storage system in Hardisty, pipelines, upgrader and refineries, use the cheaper oil sands crude oil as refinery and upgrader feedstock. The mitigation potential of integrated firms is substantial. Husky’s net earnings increased by 22% since April 2011 in spite of the volatility of price of crude. The Calgary-based American integrated company, Imperial Oil, with its refineries posted a 30% increase in earnings in the first quarter of 2012 (Calgary Herald 2012-04).

In North America, the benchmark crude oil price is West Texas Intermediate (“WTI”), a high-quality, light-weight, low-sulphur, sweet crude; WTI is the underlying commodity of the (NYME) New York Mercantile Exchange’s oil futures contracts. These properties make it excellent for making gasoline, which is why it is the major benchmark of crude oil in the Americas. WTI is generally priced at about a $5-6 per barrel premium to the OPEC Basket Price and about $1-2 per-barrel premium to Brent (Amadeo February 13, 2012).” Western Canadian Select (WCS) are priced/discounted against the the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil (http://www.baytex.ab.ca/operations/marketing/benchmark-heavy-oil-prices.cfm). According to reuters, in February 2013 WTI was at $93; WCS at $57 (a 36% discount) and Brent was $111 per barrel. In October 2012 WTI was at US$96.21 a barrel and WCS was at US$74.21 a $22.00 discount or differential which is 22.8%. (http://www.baytex.ab.ca/files/pdf/Operations/Historical%20WCS%20Pricing_October%202012.pdf) In December 18, 2012 WCS was $55 US per barrel with $33 US discount relative to WTI grade at $88 US. The world price for light sweet Brent Crude was just shy of $109 per barrel. (Kleiss, Karen. 2012-12-19. “Plunging oil price a long-term concern for Alberta.Edmonton Journal). Lower prices, which are also related to seasonal events, are consistently tied to over supply and inadequate transportation infrastructure to suitable refineries.

As one question appears to be answered another is raised as issues concerning the oil industry cannot be disentangled from questions and concerns about complex financial instruments that have changed basic concepts of economics globally. Public policy regarding energy strategies needs to balance concerns about the economy in general, employment, transportation and the environment.

“[T]he government’s focus began to really sharpen in the mid-1990s in the wake of several significant accidents and the industry’s response […] of a broad commitment to risk management. The ebb and flow of legislative and regulatory mandates is directly tied to accidents, with the regulatory tide becoming ever higher when the accidents come in groups, as they did in 1994 and 1995, 2000 and 2001, and most recently, [in 2010].” Tenley, George. 2011-04-04/07. Opening Address. Managing Pipeline Integrity. 11th Workshop. Banff, AB.

How long will it take for greener energies to be developed gradually replacing our thirst for oil? How green will they really be? How deep are the changes you are willing to make? In the interim, how can we manage risks inherent in the energy industries?

What if there is an oil shortage or crisis?

“Can Canada replace the oil it imports with resources from its own territory if our suppliers become unreliable, or if an oil crisis becomes a reality? The answer is a resounding NO! Under NAFTA, we must keep sending the same proportion of our oil to the United States no matter what happens on the world stage. Article 605 of NAFTA only allows us to reduce exports to the U.S. if we cut our domestic supplies by the same proportion. Furthermore, we can’t charge the U.S. a higher price than the one
in Canada and we can’t disrupt or restrict the normal channels of supply. What are those normal channels? A huge network of 16,000 km of pipelines sends Canadian oil south, mainly to the American mid-west. At the moment, no pipeline takes Alberta’s oil to eastern Canada (Council of Canadians).”

According to most North American economists and the business community the the responsibility of the CEO’s of incorporated companies such as the oil sands giants, which include super major oil companies (who represent more than 80% of the oil sands production in Canada: BP Canada Energy Company (British multinational oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom), Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Cenovus Energy Inc., ConocoPhillips Canada Resources Corp. (American multinational energy), Devon Canada Corporation(largest U.S.-based independent natural gas and oil producer), Imperial Oil (controlled by US based ExxonMobil, which owns 69.6% of its stock), Nexen Inc., Shell Canada Energy(Canada-based subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, one of the largest multinational oil companies in the world), Statoil Canada Ltd., Suncor Energy Inc.(Canadian), Teck Resources Limited (Canadian), Total E&P Canada Ltd.)(French multinational oil and gas company, one of the six “Supermajor” oil companies in the world), the major players in the oil refining industry (Imperial Oil, Husky (controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing) Harvest (controlled by state-owned Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC), Chevron (American multinational energy corporation, one of six super majors), Suncor (Canadian), Shell (Canada-based subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, one of the largest multinational oil companies in the world), NOVA Chemicals, Ultramar (Canadian), Irving Oil (private Canadian) and the oil pipeline industry (TransCanada (Canadian), Enbridge (Canadian), Seaway), is to increase the market value of stocks owned by shareholders.

The Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) an influential public policy advocate association composed of the CEOs of 150 leading Canadian companies, CEOs, who “collectively administer C$4.5 trillion in assets, have annual revenues in excess of C$850 billion, and are responsible for the vast majority of Canada’s exports, investment, research and development, and training.” In 2012 they hosted a series entitled “Canada in the Pacific Century: Ensuring Canada’s Success in a Rebalanced Global Economy.” In the session in Calgary December, 2012 there was much celebratory congratulations on the federal decision to approve $15B Chinese takeover of Nexen. Alberta’s Energy Minister repeats again his call to get bitumen to tidewater or saltwater ports so Alberta can get “world price” instead of suffering increasing price differentials against WTI. Because Alberta is landlocked, not at tidewater, the oil industry loses $15 – $20 billion in revenues annually. He claims the lost oil revenue is reflected in lost provincial royalties although Alberta receives Bitumen Royalty-in-Kind (BRIK) by which the government has the option to take its royalty share either in cash or in kind. “Currently, the government takes its share of conventional crude oil production in kind and collects its royalty share for other resources in cash. The decision to exercise the in-kind option for bitumen was identified in October 2007 as a way for the Crown to use its share of bitumen strategically to supply potential upgraders and refineries in Alberta, and to optimize its royalty share by marketing those volumes (Government of Alberta. Energy. BRIK. FAQ).”.

Pipelines and/or refineries? What are the environmental costs for both?

Corrosion, poor planning and response

“The evolution of safety regulation in North America has moved to a new focus; namely, the total corporate responsibility for every facet of the operation, including the integrity management plan and the actions taken under it. This strong focus on the “management” side of “integrity management” has occurred over a relatively short timeframe, and has been made operational in the wake of serious industry sins of omission at the highest levels of corporate leadership.” Tenley, George. 2011-04-04/07. Opening Address. Managing Pipeline Integrity. 11th Workshop. Banff, AB.

Pipelines are aging. Newer pipelines can have monitoring devices built in but these new smart technologies are difficult to adapt to pipelines built 50 years ago. In its 2010 field surveillance report, the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), an independent agency of the Government of Alberta, recorded “687 pipeline failures across the province” (ERCB. 2011-11. ST57-2011 “Field Surveillance and Operations Branch Provincial Summary 2010” p. 16 http://www.ercb.ca/docs/products/STs/ST57-2011.pdf).” (626 were leaks/hits, 18 were ruptures, and 43 were hits with no release (ERCB 2010).

There is an intense race to add new lines, reverse flows and repair old pipelines as oil sands’ projects increase production. There are three major pipeline projects proposed in British Columbia: Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline, the expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline, and the Pacific Trails Pipeline by Apache, Encana and EOG Resources. There is currently an over production of light and heavy Canadian crude varieties and a pipeline bottleneck in the American Midwest. Refineries are closed for maintenance or expediency and Canadian crude is steeply discounted against WTI (Calgary Herald 2012-04). There is also a heightened competition between Alberta’s oil sands and North Dakota’s Bakken formation “tight” oil for pipeline priorities. Oil refineries are costly to build and/or refurbish and the market is considered to be “mature.” International agreements appear to limit the ability of nation-states to make logical, reasonable decisions.

“One of the key barriers identified was the risk-averse nature of the [oil] industry. Unless industry is given a compelling reason to do so, such as fiscal or regulatory pressure from the government, companies are unlikely to invest in new refining capacity in the mature North American market. Rather, they will invest capital wherever in the world that returns are highest. According to industry, government will have to play an instrumental role if the vision is to be achieved (Laureshen, Clark and Du Plessis 2005:15).

Alberta alone has 400,000 km of provincially regulated pipelines. (CBC. 2012-07-20. “Alberta pledges pipeline safety review: 3-pronged review to be carried out by independent party, energy minister says.”) see map image here mapping Alberta’s pipelines. This Financial Post map is interactive.

“In order to transport bitumen to refineries equipped to process it, bitumen must be blended with a diluent, traditionally condensate, to meet pipeline specifications for density and viscosity (NEB).” Dilbit: Growth in non-upgraded bitumen supply will increase the demand for diluent required to facilitate pipeline transportation to market. The Board’s outlook for traditional diluent (i.e., condensate) projects little growth in supply through to 2015, while demand under current operational conditions would be
expected to rise by approximately 50 000 m3 /d (315 mb/d). Additional supply could be made available by directing condensate used for other purposes to diluent usage, but the majority of the gap must be filled through the use of substitutes. Several opportunities exist for substitutes including refinery naphtha and conventional light oil; however, the most suitable solution, due to its availability, is synthetic crude oil (SCO) ( (NEB 2004:12).”

Pipelines: Internal Corrosion

“A chief concern about the transport of Canadian crude through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is a claim that dilbit poses more release risks than other types of crude. In particular, the committee will examine whether there is evidence that dilbit has corrosive or erosive characteristics that elevate its potential for release from transmission pipelines when compared with other crude oils. Should the committee conclude there is no evidence of an increased potential for release, it will report this finding to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) by spring 2013 (Institute for Corrosion Ohio University).”

“Pipeline integrity is an increasing challenge to the energy industry as the infrastructure is aging, and new field developments are introduced in both deep and remote areas of the world (source).”

Although the industry claims that diluted bitumen (dilbit) is no more corrosive than conventional crude, older pipelines are at higher risk because water that separates from dilbit tends to collect and start corroding (Linda Daugherty, US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)’s deputy associate administrator for policy and programs).

“As a starting point, the committee might want to reference similar types of crudes,” suggested Linda Daugherty, US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)’s deputy associate administrator for policy and programs. “Age also is a definite factor. Many pipelines were installed 40 years ago and have sharp turns where water which has separated from dilbit would tend to collect and start corrosion (Snow, Nick. 2012-07-24. “Diluted bitumen, heavy crudes are similar, NAS panel told.” Oil and Gas Journal. OGJ Washington Editor.).”

“Internal corrosion is a leading cause of pipeline failure — and one of the most difficult to detect.” Monitoring internal corrosion of pipelines is both “challenging and expensive” costing “several billion dollars annually in the U.S. alone.” Internal corrosion of pipelines can occur when moisture mixes with impurities (salts, like chlorine, and sulphur compounds). (source Bill Shaw, engineering professor at the University of Calgary and director of the Pipeline Engineering Centre, which studies corrosion and monitoring).

“Problems mainly arise when water that has not been removed from a crude before it goes into a pipeline begins to separate and collects at points along the bottom of the pipe’s interior, he explained. Dissolved gases—primarily carbon dioxide—and oil extracts such as organic acids also can influence corrosion rates, Moghissi said. Running a pig through the pipeline probably is the most effective corrosion inhibiter, although chemicals also can help, he told the panel.”

Tank Truck transport versus Pipeline Transport?

Canadian Energy Pipeline Association President Brenda Kenny argues that it “would need five and a half million trucks a year to replace the oil pipeline network in Canada  (O’Neil, Peter. 2012-08-09. “Beleaguered pipeline industry vows to rally around PR campaign.” Postmedia News).”

“Until the early 1980s, bitumen was trucked to asphalt refiners in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Growing volumes through the early 1980s supported the development of pipelines from producing areas to Edmonton, from where the bitumen could access high-conversion refineries and broader asphalt markets. Between 1982 and 1985 Alberta Energy Company (AEC) built a pipeline system designed to move bitumen blend from Cold Lake to Edmonton and to ship diluent to Cold Lake from Edmonton (Walker, Ian C. 1998. “Marketing Challenges for Canadian Bitumen.” Imperial Oil, Calgary, Alberta, Canada).”

Truck transport is more expensive to the oil industry than pipelines. (McKibben,M. J.; Gillies, R. G. 2000. “Predicting pressure gradients in heavy oil—water pipelines.” “Because truck transport is expensive, pipeline transport of heavy crude oil is of interest.”

By 2003 there was concern that the transportation of crude bitumen would face huge obstacles. “Road conditions, weather problems, and fuel prices are some of the other issues that hauling companies have to deal with routinely. Although the preferred mode of transporting crude bitumen is pipelining wherever possible, the Alberta Utilities and Energy Board estimates that unless there is a dramatic technological breakthrough, or a substantial increase in the price of crude bitumen, pipelining of this product will not be technically or economically feasible within the foreseeable future (Laverty, K. 2003-04-07. “Super trucks: Loads grow so fast that the oil industry’s ‘transport architects’ stopped keeping score on size records.” Oilweek Magazine. Vol. 54. No. 14. page(s) 42-46).

Alberta Provincial Highway No. 63 built in 1970 is a 240-kilometre-long, two-lane north–south highway road connecting Fort McMurray and the Oil Sands bitumen mine sites to southern Alberta. According to Syncrude Canada, Highway 63 probably ferries the highest tonnage per mile of any road in Canada and is “inadequate for the traffic that uses it.” Plans are underway (2012) to expand it into a four-lane divided highway to accommodate the heavy traffic of logging trucks, SUVs, semi-trailers, buses and tanker trucks including convoys of extra-wide loads carrying tires, turbines and cokers (source). There are numerous fatal accidents on the highway as tankers and logging trucks slow traffic to a crawl while oil workers race to get in and out of the site. The expansion would cost c. one-billion-dollar and the province is considering using toll booths to place the cost of the oil sands’ driven needs on the shoulders of the users: the oil sands industry. This would increase the cost of trucking oil by tankers and intensify the push for more pipeline capacity.

Among the list of complaints received by the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) regarding the oil and gas industries, complaints about truck transport are high on the list (Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB). 2011-11. ST57-2011 “Field Surveillance and Operations Branch Provincial Summary 2010” p. 16 http://www.ercb.ca/docs/products/STs/ST57-2011.pdf).”

In his paper on bio-oil (not heavy oil) Pootakham claimed there was less of an environmental footprint if pipelines not trucks were used as transportation (Epub. Pootakham T, Kumar A. 2010-01. “A comparison of pipeline versus truck transport of bio-oil.” 101(1):414-21.
Pootakham T, Kumar A. 2009-08-21. “A comparison of pipeline versus truck transport of bio-oil.“).
Epub. Pootakham T, Kumar A. 2010-01. “A comparison of pipeline versus truck transport of bio-oil.” 101(1):414-21.

There has been a call for an oil industry-financed railway from Fort McMurray to Edmonton since at least 2005. Since 2009 Calgary-based Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. carry North Dakota Bakken to refineries to compensate for pipeline bottlenecks. “With each tank car containing 650 barrels of oil, that’s 126,000 barrels a day — a significant pipeline on rail (Cattaneo, Claudia. 2012-03-02. “As pipelines stall, railways keep oil flowing.” Financial Post).”

In the same Financial Post article (2012-03-02),

“CN, in response to customer demand, is moving crude (i.e., heavy crude, light crude, pure bitumen) from areas in Western Canada to various markets,” it said in an emailed statement. “CN has also been providing truck-to-rail transportation solutions for crude oil, where CN is loading directly from truck to rail.”

Oil industry: not subsidies but federal and provincial incentives

The oil industry has received various forms of federal and provincial incentives in the years prior to the boom. For example, the governments provide funds for research on improved technologies and methodologies for extraction, land recovery, etc. Companies who receive this multi-million dollar funding are not obligated to use the technologies they develop if the profit-margins would be negatively affected by their implementation. How many millions of public funds have been quietly assigned to this research?

From where does Canada import its oil?

“Most Canadians are under the impression that we do not need to worry about our energy security. We see ourselves as a country rich in oil, and we assume that our own resources are available to us for consumption. That assumption is incorrect. Canadians do need to ask where their oil comes from because it doesn’t necessarily come from Canada! Canada imports more than half of the crude oil it needs. We purchase around 55 per cent of our oil from countries such as Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. We are also turning increasingly toward new sources including Russian and African producers. Canadians should question whether we can count on those suppliers for a steady supply of oil (Council of Canadians).”

This debate unfolds at a time when Canadians consume about 1.8 million barrels of oil a day according to Peter Boag, president of the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (Lindell, 2012-01-31). While Boag also claims that Canada’s 19 refineries produce two million barrels of day, and are only operating at 80% capacity, he neglects to mention that many Canadian refineries are older, smaller, inefficient and not designed for bitumen. The product Canadians produce is exported and Canada relies on U. S. refineries to supply gasoline and airline fuel for example. Eastern refineries rely on oil imported from Saudi Arabia, Africa and Venezuela, which are much more volatile than WTI prices for geopolitical reasons. In March 2012 the Brent-WTI differential continued to negatively impact the price of bitumen from the oil sands. Western Canada Select was priced at a $35.50 U. S. discount to West Texas Intermediate (WTI) (37% below the U.S. crude), which itself trades at a substantial discount to the Brent crude oil prices. Brent crude oil prices rose (2012-03-21) to a record high of near $125 per barrel (Hussain, Yadullah. 2012-03-21. “Oil industry may lose $18B a year in crude price discounts: CIBC.Financial Post).

The market value of Western Canada Select

The inadequacy of the current pipeline national and Canada-U.S. networks also decrease the market value of Western Canada Select. Until TransCanada’s Keystone XL portion is operational, there is a bottle neck which limits the movement of bitumen to U.S. refineries capable of upgrading the heavy oil. Some predict that this pipeline extension will not be in place until late 2013 and until then the Brent-WTI differential will remain.

There is a request under review for a west-east reversal and expansion of the Seaway pipelines which would also positively impact the Alberta’s oil (Hussain, Yadullah. 2012-03-21. “Oil industry may lose $18B a year in crude price discounts: CIBC.Financial Post.) “Ontario’s oil comes from Western Canada, but it is sent first to the United States to be refined before being delivered to the province.”

“The heightened pressure on lawmakers to get more revenue for Alberta’s bitumen follows recent calls to address a predicted decline in synthetic oil produced in the province, as a percentage of total bitumen output. The Energy Resources Conservation Board predicts 47% of bitumen produced in the province in 2020 will be upgraded to light oil, down from 58% in 2010. In 2008, the province had set a goal of 66%. The regulator’s summer forecast had some eyeing jobs and tax revenue attached to additional upgraders crying out for government actionPenty 2011-11-25.

Synthetic Crude Oil Production: “In 2010, all crude bitumen produced from mining, as well as a small portion of in situ production (about 11 per cent), was upgraded in Alberta, yielding 46.1 million m3 (290 million barrels) of SCO. About 58 per cent of total crude bitumen produced in Alberta was upgraded in the province in 2010. By 2020, SCO production is forecast to almost double to 81.5 million m3 (513 million barrels). While this is a significant increase compared to 2010, it is expected that only 47 per cent of total crude bitumen produced in Alberta will be upgraded in the province by the end of the forecast period because of an expected narrow price differential of bitumen relative to light crude oil. Over the next 10 years, mined bitumen is projected to continue to be the primary source of the bitumen upgraded to SCO in Alberta. However, it is projected that bitumen from in situ production will be increasingly upgraded to SCO in the province. The portion of in situ production upgraded in the province will increase from 11 per cent in 2010 to 13 per cent by the end of the forecast period.” ERCB. 2011-06. “ST98-2011 Alberta’s Energy Reserves 2010 and Supply/Demand Outlook 2011-2020.” p. 6.

There is a call for keeping more employment in Canada and for expanded use of eastern oil refineries.

“A poll conducted by ThinkHQ Public Affairs showed 81% support in Alberta for the government taking steps to increase the amount of oilsands upgrading and refining done in the province, with the support cutting across partisan lines. The survey showed 73% support for the idea of putting higher royalties on the export of raw bitumen and 56% support for tax incentives for private investment. Support dropped under 50% for a Crown corporation to build and operate upgraders, operating subsidies to private sector upgraders and investing tax dollars to help build private sector projects (Wood 2012-01-26).”

Questions and concerns about the race to sell bitumen using today’s water-hungry and natural-gas hungry technologies, are being raised.  There is a call to slow down the process. However, the price of natural gas has fallen dramatically and “natural gas is a key raw material for refineries, which use it predominantly as a source of fuel to operate. Hydraulic fracturing methods have significantly increased the supply of natural gas in the U.S.” “Natural gas is a market that has been turned upside down in the last few years with the development of technology for extracting gas from shale beds with hydraulic fracturing. The new resources made available through fracking have caused the price to drop from $8 for a million BTUs to between $4 and $5 per MBTU. The U.S. has been in the lead when it comes to exploiting shale gas (Kanellos 2011-06-09).

“In Natural Gas, U.S. Will Move From Abundance to Imports.” Canada is the only OECD nation that does not have a national energy plan which complicates the environmental and economic issues related to energy. Ever since Prime Minister Trudeau’s Energy Plan almost divided the country along the east-west axis, no Prime Minister has dared to touch the topic. In the Canadian system, provinces control energy while the federal government controls pipelines. Canadian cannot look to the risk-averse, profit-motivated oil industry to consider long-term resource development, investment of profits towards infrastructure beyond extraction, transportation and minor upgrading. It is only through federal-provincial and in some cases regional pressure that the oil industry could be pressured/encouraged to build oil refineries in Canada to develop an even more integrated oil industry. The federal government needs to take the lead. In March 2012 Alberta Premier Alison Redford began to discuss openly the possibility of a Canadian energy strategy as opposed to a national energy plan. Phase 4 of TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline project met major hurdles at the U. S. federal level in late 2011. Alberta Premier Alison Redford says her government will take a hands-off approach to the increased upgrading of bitumen in the province as Alberta’s oilsands production continues to ramp up (Wood 2012-01-26).”

“With the energy spotlight focused recently on the proposed Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines that would ship raw bitumen to the United States and Pacific Coast, respectively, there have been growing calls for increasing the capacity in Alberta to upgrade and refine oilsands into products like synthetic crude, gasoline and diesel.” “Redford said it is up to the market and energy industry to determine opportunities for more processing (if it makes economic sense) — not the government. “If we have wheat, we’re not going to say to people you can only export bread.” “Redford remains committed to the planned North West upgrader, but there are no other projects in line for provincial involvement.”(Wood 2012-01-26).”

Even though “we would get far more value for our resources if we were to ship refined product,” Canada only refines about 50% of oil and the rest goes to refineries in the United States. Increases in oil refinery facility size and improvements in efficiencies have offset much of the lost physical capacity of the industry.

Concerns about state-capitalism and oil sands takeover by state-owned companies (SOE)

See also Canada in the Pacific Century

Mintz, Jack. 2012-07-24. “We should welcome investment, but state-owned firms like China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) — now targeting Nexen — are a different matter.” Financial Post.

“The acquisition of Canadian companies by state-owned companies or sovereign wealth funds (whether from China, Russia or elsewhere), is a less clear-cut matter. Should Canada permit the nationalization of its business sector through foreign state ownership? … Yet, there are potential downfalls, particularly related to China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) being state-owned rather than a privatized business. Unless a government wishes its state-owned enterprises to operate strictly according to commercial criteria, a takeover of a private company by a State Owned Enterprise (SOE) could result in the target performing less efficiently since other criteria besides value maximization undermine profitability and productivity… recent papers published on both Canadian and international experiences conclude that state-owned enterprises perform less efficiently than privatized companies. .. The CNOOC takeover of Nexen will not be the last of similar potential acquisitions of Canadian businesses by foreign state-owned entities. Ottawa will need a clear policy to determine the suitability of these takeovers and to apply it readily.”

While it is widely acknowledged that Canada needs to diversify and depend less on the United States as its major market, there are concerns about basing the Asian market on state-owned corporations. The Economist revealed some disturbing trends in this emerging form of capitalism: state capitalism. Sixteen of the largest twenty global oil companies are state owned, and together control over 80 % of oil reserves. Their bottom line is profit and have no concern for Canada’s long-term economic health, employment, environmental impact, etc.

“Investments by China’s big energy State Owned Enterprises (SEOs) – China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), Sinopec and CNPC – in Canada’s oilsands and unconventional gas sectors since 2010 have totalled at least $25 billion… [C]oncerns about SOEs range from unlawful technology transfers to preferred access to bank capital and below-market interest rates that suggest the companies don’t play by the same economic rules as their competitors (Ewan. 2012-08. “Canada Riding Historic Wave Chinese Investment.” Calgary Herald 2012).

CNOOK “is an $89 billion company with oil and gas assets in Indonesia, Iraq, Australia, Africa, North and South America, as well as China… The $15 billion bid by China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) to buy Canada’s Nexen, Inc will help the Chinese state giant gain the expertise to drill in deep, disputed waters of the South China Sea without relying on risk-averse foreign firms (Eckert, Paul. 2012-08-04. CNOOC-Nexen deal seen helping China’s South China Sea thrust. Reuters).” By 2018-2023 China would probably have the experience, knowledge and technologies like those Nexen already has to “set up and maintain stable rigs in 5,000-10,000 feet of ocean water” and “drill 10,000-18,000 feet deep in sediment (Eckert 2012-08-04)”. How might China’s access to an expanded South China Sea deep drilling, affect the future of oil sands bitumen market and the Northern Gateway pipeline in five or ten years?

Why does Canada not have a cohesive national energy strategy?

“Without a Canadian Energy Strategy – a strategy that will give Canadians security of their energy supplies, guaranteed access to energy reserves in times of need, and strong policies that protect our environment and focus on fi nding alternative, less harmful energy solutions – our country will continue to be a victim of an energy gold rush. Politicians cannot let corporations and the market set the agenda, focusing on big business needs, and privatizing public services, while ignoring the energy security needs of Canadians (Council of Canadians).”

We need a strong government position yet we do not have a cohesive energy strategy. The oil industry is a risk-averse industry and at this time there is an unwillingness to develop infrastructure beyond extraction and minimal upgrading. In the United States refineries are being closed. The proposed $6 billion Shell refinery was cancelled in 2009 because of  “the current project execution environment, market conditions and the current inflationary pressures across the oil and gas industry.” Although greener technologies are being developed, it is estimated that we will continue to be dependent on fossil fuels until c. 2040. Why not stretch out our use of these invaluable resources? There are opportunities for job creation through the development and implementation of  innovative marketable technologies that will make the extraction process more efficient, environmentally friendly and financially feasible? Federal funds have supported much research in the field that never sees the light of day because the oil industry, like the ocean liner, can’t adapt quickly to change. Enbridge is in the process of applying to the National Energy Board to reverse the flow in 35-year-old Line 9 Sarnia/Montreal pipeline to the original direction for which it was designed in 1975 to take western Canadian crude to Montreal refineries. “It would give Quebec and Atlantic Canada – which currently get 80 per cent of their crude from Europe, Africa and the Middle East – a reliable source of domestic oil. As Joseph Gargiso of the Communications, Energy and Paperworker’s Union said in support of the line reversal: “A country that is blessed with petroleum resources like Canada should first and foremost assure that the country as a whole has access to a guaranteed supply.” The pipeline reversal would also allow the Alberta oil industry to get a better price for its product (Calgary Herald 2012).”

Where does Canada’s oil come from?

“Canadians need a national energy strategy – one that puts citizens’ interests ahead of multi-billion-dollar oil companies. Right now, our country does not have a national energy strategy that addresses where our energy comes from, where it is going, or the high price of environmental devastation that comes with producing it. For nearly 20 years, Canada has lived with free trade agreements and free-market rules that are used to ensure that our energy resources keep fl owing out of the country with little or no direction from government. As one of the coldest countries on earth, Canada’s energy security is decided by the whims of the United States, the markets and the big oil companies.”

How many jobs do the oil sands provide?

Government of Alberta fact sheet (2011-02) entitled “Economic Activity in Alberta” claimed that, “Almost 139,000 Albertans [were] employed in Alberta’s mining and oil and gas extraction sectors. .. [O]n average over the next 25 years, oil sands are forecast by Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) to require more than 450,000 annual work positions across Canada. This totals more than 11.4 million person-years of employment.”
For example Husky has 4,380 permanent employees (Husky Annual Report 2010);

Why does Canada not have more oil refineries?

The Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (CPPI) commissioned The Conference Board of Canada study entitled “Canada’s Refining Sector: An Important Contributor Facing Global Challenges” . Pedro Antunes, (2011-10-31) argued that even if the upstream (oil and gas exploration and production) segment of the industry continues its robust expansion in Canada, “the future economic benefits, job creation, and profits from oil refining and processing are much less assured (Crawford, Todd. 2011-10-31. “Canada’s Refining Sector: An Important Contributor Facing Global Challenges.” The Conference Board of Canada. Commissioned by The Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (CPPI). 52 pages.

Document Highlights: Canada’s refining industry has undergone a massive restructuring over the past 30 years. Since the 1970s, the number of operating refineries has dropped from 40 to just 18 today. While global demand for petroleum products continues to rise and the outlook for Canada’s upstream energy sector is bright, Canadian refiners face a very particular set of challenges, since North American and other OECD markets will likely be characterized by declining demand.

Arguments for building more oil refineries in Canada

  • Increases in oil refinery facility size and improvements in efficiencies have offset much of the lost physical capacity of the industry.
  • Recent controversies surrounding the construction of pipelines to transport bitumen from the oil sands has raised questions about the reasons Canada does not develop a more integrated value-added industry.  “We would get far more value for our resources if we were to ship refined product.”

Arguments against building more oil refineries in Canada

  • “In 2009 through 2010, as revenue streams in the oil business dried up and profitability of oil refineries fell due to lower demand for product and high reserves of supply preceding the economic recession, oil companies began to close or sell refineries. Due to EPA regulations, the costs associated with closing a refinery are very high, meaning that many former refineries are re-purposed (Wayman E. Recession’s latest victim: oil refineries. Earth magazine. June 2010. Pgs 10-11).In 2009 Royal Dutch Shell Europe’s largest oil company closed oil refineries in the US and considered selling or closing its 130,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Montreal, which it has operated since 1933.
  • Shortage of qualified labour
  • risk-averse industry
  • oil industry is closing refineries not constructing new ones.
  • multinational oil companies lack motivation to protect Canadian interests. 16 of the largest 20 global oil companies are state owned, and together control over 80 per cent of oil reserves. Canada had a state-owned oil company Petro Canada but it was acquired by Suncor.
  • government needs to take leading role in motivating oil industry to build oil refineries in Canada to develop integrated oil industry
  • high standards for environmental protection would be required in new constructions of oil refineries
  • International companies like Imperial Oil, Husky look at profits for global company. Integrated firms, such as Calgary-based Husky (controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing) with its crude storage system in Hardisty, pipelines, upgrader and refineries, use the cheaper oil sands crude oil as refinery and upgrader feedstock. The stocks of these integrated firms are substantially mitigated. Husky’s net earnings increased by 22% since April 2011 in spite of the volatility of price of crude. Light and heavy Canadian crude varieties were steeply discounted against WTI in 2012 on pipeline bottlenecks in the U.S. Midwest, made worse by high production and refinery downtime (Calgary Herald 2012-04). The Calgary-based American integrated company, Imperial Oil, with its refineries posted a 30% increase in earnings in the first quarter of 2012 (Calgary Herald 2012-04).
  • MIT has argued for a liquid fuel converted from natural gas to replace gasoline. “[T]he chemical conversion of natural gas into some form of liquid fuel may be the best pathway to significant market penetration in the transportation sector (MIT 2011).”
  • Kearn oil sands project: “The product will be transported to market through a pipeline system. Imperial and ExxonMobil own extensive refinery infrastructure in Canada and the U.S. that could receive bitumen or upgraded feedstock to make a variety of refined products. Production may also be sold to third parties. Any future upgrading capacity to support the Kearl project would be the subject of separate application.”
  • Multinationals are not concerned about Canadian economy
  • 1990s mergers created companies that have more market power
  • loss of competition
  • Athabaskan oil sands are extra heavy and high in sulphur involving most complex and expensive refining processes
  • green movement has oil sands under microscope
  • oil refineries are major polluters in themselves
  • oil industry has market power so control of oil refinery production can affect gasoline prices etc
  • weak anti-trust laws
  • poor global economic conditions
  • Albertan oil industry promises revenue and employment
  • it is costly to build an economically oil refinery that passes environmental standards
  • The biggest oil refinery Suncor in Edmonton, Alberta processes 135,000-barrel-per-day and runs entirely on oil sands-based feedstocks and produces a high yield of light oils.” Suncor be the fifth largest oil and gas company in North America with assets of $43 billion. When it acquired PetroCanada it became Canada’s largest upstream producer and second largest refiner of gasoline and oil products.

How much does it really cost to build a brand new and economically viable oil refinery?

The estimated cost of the Wallaceburg, Ontario oil refinery proposed by Shell Canada in 2007 was between $6 billion and $8 billion. The projections were for the employment of 700 people once operational and thousands of jobs during construction. The project was cancelled c. 2009 because of  “the current project execution environment, market conditions and the current inflationary pressures across the oil and gas industry.” Is there more of a financial benefit to Canada to see raw bitumen? Cooper, Mark. 2003-10. “Spring Break in the US Oil Industry: Price Spike, Excess Profits and Excuses.”

Supermajor oil companies oil sands’ profits: Oligarchy, concentration, Vertical Relationships, Competition in Retail Gasoline Markets

Among others, Canadian oil sands are being developed by supermajors, the world’s five or six largest publicly-owned oil and gas companies: BP p.l.c., Chevron Corporation, ExxonMobil Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell plc, Total S.A. and ConocoPhillips Company A supermajor is one of the world’s five or six largest publicly-owned oil and gas companies. In an effort to improve economies of scale, hedge against oil price volatility, and reduce large cash reserves through reinvestment, largely in response to the a severe fall in oil prices the major mergers and acquisitions of oil and gas companies took place between 1998 and 2002. (BP’s acquisitions of Amoco in 1998 and of ARCO in 2000; Exxon’s merger with Mobil in 1999, forming ExxonMobil; Total’s merger with Petrofina in 1999 and with Elf Aquitaine in 2000, with the resulting company subsequently renamed Total S.A.; Chevron’s acquisition of Texaco in 2001; and the merger of Conoco Inc. and Phillips Petroleum Company in 2002, forming Conoco Phillips.
This process of consolidation created some of the largest global corporations as defined by the Forbes Global 2000 ranking, and as of 2007 all were within the top 25. Between 2004 and 2007 the profits of the six supermajors totaled US$494.8 billion (wiki)

Reductions in storage capacity and the number of gasoline stations of over ten percent have also taken place in just the past half-decade. These reductions in capacity have been driven in part by a merger wave that has resulted in a significant increase in the concentration of ownership of refinery capacity and gasoline outlets. Four-fifths of regional refinery markets have reached levels of concentration that trigger competitive concerns, even by the standards adopted by the antitrust division of the Reagan administration’s Department of Justice. In these markets, the largest four firms account for at least one-half and as much as three quarters of the refined product output. A similar trend has been in evidence at the level of gasoline stations.

“In 1990, 22 integrated companies covered an average of 28 states. In 1999, 17 companies covered an average of 26 states.” (Gilbert and Hastings, p. 27; see also Hastings, Justine, “Vertical Relationships and Competition in Retail Gasoline Markets: Empirical Evidence from Contract Changes in Southern California,” Competition Policy Center, 2000.) “The rule of thumb reflected in all iterations of the Merger Guidelines is that the more concentrated an industry, the more likely is oligopolistic behavior by that industry…. Still, the inference that higher concentration increases the risks of oligopolistic conduct seems well grounded. As the number of industry participants becomes smaller, the task of coordinating industry behavior becomes easier. For example, a ten-firm industry is more likely to require some sort of coordination to maintain prices at an oligopoly level, whereas the three-firm industry might more easily maintain prices through parallel behavior without express coordination (U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission Horizontal Merger Guidelines, 1997, at section 0.1.).”

Where is oil found in Canada?

“Not surprisingly, the biggest Canadian producer is the province of Alberta, which accounts for two-thirds of Canada’s production. Saskatchewan is next at roughly 18 per cent, and Newfoundland produces 13 per cent with its off-shore resources. Manitoba, Ontario, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories round out Canadian output with a combined share representing 2.8 per cent of production (Council of Canadians).”

Where does Canadian crude oil and petroleum products go?

66% of Canada’s oil production goes almost exclusively to the United States in the form of exports (Council of Canadians).

How many oil refineries does Canada have in 2012?

“The refining, distribution and marketing of transportation fuels industry operates through an infrastructure with close to 100,000 employees. The industry’s infrastructure in Canada includes 19 refineries in 8 provinces, a complex network of 21 primary fuel distribution terminals, 50 regional terminals and 12,000 retail service stations ( The Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (CPPI) 2011 ).”

“Canada is home to 18 refineries, 16 of which are operated by Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (CPPI) members and represent the majority of the country’s refining capacity. CPPI claims Canada is a net exporter, mainly to the United States, of refined petroleum products and crude oil.” However, Canada imports most of its refined fuel from the United States. “Eastern Canada relies on imported oil — despite the fact that some provinces are oil producers. There are several offshore drilling operations in Newfoundland and Labrador, but none of the oil is actually used in Canada. The eastern provinces rely on an oil supply that’s imported from Saudi Arabia, Africa and Venezuela (CBC. 2012-01-25.”

Where are the existing oil refineries in Canada?

The following table is from Statistics Canada website. Statistics on Canadian Petroleum products — Refined petroleum products, refinery production by type

Centre for Energy: Canadian Oil Refineries Map

British Columbia

  • Husky Energy Inc. Prince George Refinery, Prince George BC.”Husky’s U.S. refining operations process a mix of different types of crude oil
    from various sources but are primarily light sweet crude oil at the Lima, Ohio Refinery and approximately 50% heavy crude oil
    feedstock at the Toledo, Ohio Refinery. The Company’s refined products business in Canada relies primarily on purchased refined
    products for resale in the retail distribution network. Refined products are acquired from other Canadian refiners at rack prices or
    exchanged with production from the Husky Prince George Refinery (Husky Annual Report 2011).” Husky is controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing.
  • Chevron Canada Limited. Burnaby Refinery. Burnaby BC

Alberta

  • Suncor Energy Products Partnership. Edmonton Refinery. Edmonton AB
  • Shell Canada Products
    • Scotford Refinery Fort Saskatchewan AB
  • Imperial Oil Limited Strathcona Refinery Edmonton AB

Saskatchewan

  • Consumers’ Cooperative Refineries Limited Regina SK * Not a CPPI member
  •  Husky Energy Inc. Lloydminster SK* Asphalt plant and CPPI member. Husky is controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing.

Nova Scotia

  • Imperial Oil Limited Dartmouth Refinery Dartmouth NS

Newfoundland

  • North Atlantic Refining Limited Come by Chance Refinery Come by Chance NF. North Atlantic Refining Limited is a downstream subsidiary of Harvest Operations Corporation which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Korean state-owned Korea National Oil Corporation (“KNOC”). The Korea National Oil Corporation, whose CEO is a KNOC executive who replaced is a “significant operator in Canada’s energy industry offering stakeholders exposure to an integrated structure with upstream (exploration, development and production of crude oil and natural gas) and downstream (refining and marketing of distillate, gasoline and fuel oil) segments. [] KNOC Upstream oil and gas production is weighted approximately 70% to crude oil and liquids and 30% to natural gas, and is complemented by their long-life refining and marketing business.” The replacement in 2012 of a Canadian CEO by a Korean CEO is considered to be a major paradigm shift in the Asian-Canadian oil investment partnerships.

Ontario

Ontario refineries had a capacity of 74,400 m3/day (468,700 b/d) in 2007. At that time these refineries included:

  • Imperial Oil – Nanticoke, Ont. 112,100;
  • Imperial Oil – Sarnia, Ont. 121,600;
  • Shell Canada Products a European Oil Major Sarnia Manufacturing Centre (Corunna refinery)  75,000 barrels of crude oil daily. Corunna ON Originally built in 1952 by Canadian Oil Companies Limited.
  • Imperial Oil Limited Sarnia Refinery Sarnia ON
  • NOVA Chemicals (Canada) Limited Sarnia ON “NOVA Chemicals’ Corunna site The Corunna facility started up in late 1977 and was purchased by NOVA Chemcals in 1988. It was the first fully integrated refinery and petrochemical complex in North America. It is a refinery and petrochemical complex that supplies between 30% and 40% of Canada’s total requirements for primary petrochemicals. The refinery is capable of producing in excess of 3.5 billion pounds (1.6 million tonnes) of basic petrochemicals and 3 billion pounds of refinery and energy products annually. The Corunna site processes crude oil, condensate and natural gas liquids (NGLs) that are delivered to the site by pipeline from western Canada. These products are the feedstocks used to manufacture ethylene, propylene, butadiene, iso-butylene, n-butylene, benzene, toluene and xylene. During petrochemical production, other co-products are also manufactured, including synthetic natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, gasoline components, diesel fuel, home heating oil and heavy residual fuel oil. ” 500 employees work at the Corunna plant.
  • Imperial Oil Limited Nanticoke Refinery Jarvis ON. Approximately 25 percent of petroleum products sold in Ontario originate from the Nanticoke refinery. Approximately 260 employees. Daily capacity: 112,000 barrels of crude oil.
  • Suncor Energy Products Partnership Petro-Canada Lubricants Centre Mississauga, ON
  • Nova Chemicals – Sarnia 80,000; Corruna; Moore; St. Clair River;
  • Suncor Energy Products Partnership Sarnia Refinery Sarnia ON 85,100

Quebec

  • Suncor Energy Products Partnership Montréal Refinery Montréal QC
  • Ultramar Ltd. Jean-Gaulin Refinery Lévis QC

New Brunswick

  • New Brunswick Irving Oil Limited Saint John NB * Not a CPPI member

Context Timeline of Selected Events in Integrated Oil Industry

  • 7 November 2014
  • According to FT Alphaville’s Izabella Kaminska, formerly a producer at CNBC, a natural gas reporter at Platts and an associate editor of BP’s internal magazine, the unanticipated over-production of ultra-sweet, light crude oil in the United States has resulted in market oversupply at a time when refineries had invested “huge sums of money”to develop highly complex refineries with coker units capable of processing cheap inferior crudes just as efficiently as light sweet grades (Kaminska 2014).”
    2012-07-23China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC Group) one of the largest state-owned oil companies in resource-hungry China, announced it had “agreed to acquire Nexen for $15.1 billion, China’s biggest foreign takeover bid. Shares of Nexen jumped almost 52 percent that day.” (Reuters. 2012-07-28. “SEC alleges insider trading ahead of CNOOC-Nexen deal.”).” CNOOC “promised to retain all employees and to make Canada home base for its Western Hemisphere operations.”

  • 2012-03-05“In the crude market, the Enbridge pipeline outage deepened discounts for Canadian heavy crude against U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate. Western Canada Select heavy blend for April delivery traded at C$33.00 ($33.21) per barrel under the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, down from C$32.80 under the benchmark last week. Barrels for March delivery were bid at C$40 a barrel under WTI. Canadian crude was already suffering deep discounts due to limited pipeline space on Enbridge and other pipeline systems (
  • Reuters 2012-03-05).”

  • 2012-03-05 U.S. April 2012 contract Light Crude Oil (Light Crude) [West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil] rose 30 cents to $107.00 a barrel after settling $2.14 lower at $106.70. Front-month Brent rose 30 cents to $123.95 a barrel by 0332 GMT. Brent fell 2 percent on Friday after Saudi Arabia denied a media report of an explosion at a Saudi oil pipeline that had helped Brent crude prices shoot up $5 to $126.20, their highest level since 2008.”Jaganathan, Jessica. 2012-03-05.”
  • 2012-03-02 Brent crude rose $3.54, or 2.89%, to settle at $126.20 a barrel, then traded as high as $128.40 in post-settlement trading, the highest intraday price since July 23, 2008, when front-month Brent reached $129.50. Brent crude rose sharply reacting to an unconfirmed Iranian media report of an explosion on an unknown Saudi Arabian oil pipeline (Robert Gibbons and Lisa Shumaker 2012-03-01 Reuters)
  • 2012-03-01 Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), with Dr. Dan Wicklum as CEO, is an alliance of 12 oil sands producers who represent more than 80% of the oil sands production in CanadaBP Canada Energy Company, Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Cenovus Energy Inc., ConocoPhillips Canada Resources Corp., Devon Canada Corporation, Imperial Oil, Nexen Inc., Shell Canada Energy, Statoil Canada Ltd., Suncor Energy Inc., Teck Resources Limited, Total E&P Canada Ltd.. COSIA’s focus is on accelerating the pace of improvement in environmental performance in Canada’s oil sands through collaborative action and innovation. Through COSIA, participating companies will capture, develop and share the most innovative approaches and best thinking to improve environmental performance in the oil sands, initially focusing on four Environmental Priority Areas (EPAs) – tailings, water, land and greenhouse gases. COSIA will take innovation and environmental performance in the oil sands to the next level through a continued focus on collaboration and transparent exchange.Van Loon, Jeremy.
  • 2012-03-01.Oil-Sands Producers Group May Offer New Businesses, Suncor Says.” Bloomberg. Dr. Dan Wicklum was Director General of Water Science and Technology for Environment Canada. While working at EC, Wicklum’s stressed, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Sustainability metrics is becoming more common but it is not enough. “Quality guru W Edwards Deming went further, putting ‘management by use only of visible figures, with little consideration of figures that are unknown or unknowable’ at No 5 in his list of seven deadly management diseases. Henry Mintzberg, the sanest of management educators, proposed that starting ‘from the premise that we can’t measure what matters’ gives managers the best chance of realistically facing up to their challenge (Caulkin 2008).”
  • 2012 Thomas Golembeski’s spokesman for Sunoco claimed that Sunoco’s Northeast refining business lost c. $1 billion from 2009-2012 (Philips 2012-03-01). Another source cited, “Thomas P. Golembeski, a Sunoco spokesman, said the company’s Northeast refining business has lost more than $900 million in the past three years (Penn lawmakers 2012-02-16).” “Thomas Golembeski, spokesperson for Sunoco claimed their oil refineries lost 8 out of the last 10 quarters between 2009 and 2011 to a total of $772 million (Nixon 2011-09-17).”
  • 2012-02 According to a recent report “the world is becoming more reliant on gasoline and diesel fuel refined in the U.S. This week, we learned that in 2011, the U.S. became a net exporter of gasoline, diesel and other fuels for the first time since 1949. Such refined products were the top U.S. export in 2011, beating out such staples of U.S. manufacturing as Detroit’s autos and Boeing’s (BA) airplanes (Philips 2012-03-02).
  • 2012-02-21 Roger McKnight, of Ontario-based En-Pro International Inc., senior analyst with 30 years experience in predicted that the price of gasoline will be up across Canada by 15% at the end of April. Challenging record prices in 2008: (ex. Estimated price per litre of gasoline in the summer of 2012: Calgary: $1.30; Vancouver: $1.50). McKnight argues that the major factor in the rise in prices is the distribution changes in the U.S. – “refinery implosion that we’ve had in the eastern part of the U.S., in the Philadelphia area, which has basically taken a million barrels of production out of the system.” “McKnight said the fire last week at BP’s Cherry Point refinery in Washington is also a factor in higher B.C. prices, because the plant – which contributes to Vancouver’s supply — is producing less. Making the price more volatile is the The uncertain geopolitical situation with Iran makes the price more volatile CBC News 2012-02-21) .
  • 2012-01-20 “TransCanada Corp. is considering possibilities for moving Bakken shale crude south to the US Gulf Coast via a stand-alone system following the US rejection of the company’s permit application for the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline. TransCanada had originally envisioned moving Bakken crude south as part of Keystone XL, concluding a binding open season for its Bakken MarketLink Project in early 2011. Options for moving Bakken crude south could include a completely new-built pipeline, or modification of Bakken MarketLink plans to route Bakken production to the existing Keystone pipeline, already delivering Canadian crude to Cushing, Okla. TransCanada declined to comment on specific possibilities, saying that discussions need to occur with customers and nothing has been finalized (TransCanada mulls Bakken options while reapplying for Keystone XL).”
  • 2012-01-18 President Barack Obama halted TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline project, which would have brought bitumen from the Alberta oil sands (“dilbit”) through the U.S., to Gulf Coast refineries near Port Arthur, Texas, where the oil would then be exported to the global market.
  • 2012-01-26 Premier Alison Redford says her government will take a hands-off approach to the increased upgrading of bitumen in the province as Alberta’s oilsands production continues to ramp up. “With the energy spotlight focused recently on the proposed Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines that would ship raw bitumen to the United States and Pacific Coast, respectively, there have been growing calls for increasing the capacity in Alberta to upgrade and refine oilsands into products like synthetic crude, gasoline and diesel.” “Redford said it is up to the market and energy industry to determine opportunities for more processing (if it makes economic sense) — not the government. “Redford remains committed to the planned North West upgrader, but there are no other projects in line for provincial involvement.” “If we have wheat, we’re not going to say to people you can only export bread.” (Wood 2012-01-26).” Critics claim that the metaphor is inappropriate. If we have good top soil than we can export wheat, flour and baked goods. If we give away our top soil we have no wheat.
  • 2012-02-13 The price for a barrel of WTI crude broke above $100 U. S. a barrel. “West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil is of very high quality, because it is light-weight and has low sulphur content. For these reasons, it is often referred to as “light, sweet” crude oil. These properties make it excellent for making gasoline, which is why it is the major benchmark of crude oil in the Americas. WTI is generally priced at about a $5-6 per barrel premium to the OPEC Basket Price and about $1-2 per-barrel premium to Brent (Amadeo February 13, 2012).” Alberta Oil Sands Royalties are tagged to the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil.
  • 2012 “Most fundamentally, shipping unprocessed bitumen crude out of Canada has been attacked by the biggest of Canada’s energy labour unions, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, as a bad idea. The CEP estimates it means exporting 40,000 jobs out of Canada (figure based on jobs lost through the Keystone Pipeline). They prefer refining the crude here in Canada.  (The CEP is also not a group to which your allegation that opponents of Gateway also oppose all forestry, mining, oil, gas, etc is anything but absurd (May 2012-01An Open Letter to Joe Oliver“.)”
  • 2012-01 “Compared to 2010, Suncor’s annual operating earnings next, and as Firebag Stage 4 is expected to begin its own more than doubled in 2011 to a record $5.7 billion. Cash ramp up in 2013. Flow from operations was also the highest ever, at nearly $10 billion. While the results primarily reflected increased It’s estimated that some 80% of Canada’s oil sands production from our Oil Sands business and a strong reserves are buried too deep to be reached by crude pricing environment, we also saw increased price conventional mining. Of Suncor’s proved plus probable Oil realizations due to our capacity to upgrade bitumen and Sands reserves, nearly 60% are associated with the refine crude oil in-house (Suncor Annual Report 2011).”
  • 2011-12 Refining capacity in the U.S. has been steadily increasing, climbing 0.8 percent, to 17.7 million barrels a day in December, 2011 compared to December 2010 (Philips 2012-03-02).
  • 2011-11 In a joint business venture Cenovus and ConocoPhillips completed a new four-drum coker as part of the coker and refinery expansion (CORE) project at Wood River (Illinois). The new coker has a capacity of 65,000 barrels per day and is expected to expand our heavy oil processing capacity to approximately 200,000 – 220,000 barrels per day, increasing the production of clean transportation fuels for the U.S. Midwest market, including St. Louis and Chicago. The CORE project took about three years to build, with a total cost of US$3.8 billion (US$1.9 billion to Cenovus), and has increased clean product yield by 5% to approximately 85%. Cenovus is involved in a business venture with ConocoPhillips in upstream enhanced oil operations and downstream refining. Cenovus has a 50% interest in the Wood River (Illinois) and Borger (Texas) refineries. ConocoPhillips has a 50% interest in our Foster Creek and Christina Lake Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD), enhanced oil recovery technology for producing heavy crude oil and bitumen. These two extraction upstream projects in the Athabasca region in northeast Alberta. This interest in two quality refineries is a strategic fit for Cenovus and allows us to capture the full value from crude oil production through to refined products such as diesel, gasoline and jet fuel (Cenovus).” “The Foster Creek project began in 1996 and in 2002 became the industry’s first commercial SAGD project. It has grown in five phases with an expected production capacity of 120,000 gross barrels per day. In the first quarter of 2010 Foster Creek achieved a significant milestone in becoming the largest commercial SAGD project in Alberta to reach royalty payout status. For a project to reach payout its cumulative revenues exceed cumulative allowable costs.” Cenovus is Alberta’s sixth largest energy company with more than 3,000 staff (Cenovus Energy). It’s a sign of commercial success for Cenovus and ConocoPhillips but what does it mean in terms of Alberta’s oil sands royalties if a project can reach royalty payout status?
  • 2011-10-31 In a report commissioned by the  The Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (CPPI), Todd Crawford claimed that Since the 1970s, the number of operating refineries in Canada dropped from 40 in the 1970s to 19 in 2011 although this was more from increased refinery productivity/efficiency than from a decrease in quantity. Crawford also predicted that there will be a decline in demand for refined petroleum products in the North American and other OECD markets as alternative greener forms of energy become competitive. The a strong dollar, tight labour markets, and rising wage pressures make it more difficult for Canadian refineries to compete on the global market. It would be difficult for Canada to upgrade aging refineries or to build new ones that could compete with the newly-operational U. S. oil refineries built to process Alberta’s bitumen that are already processing 2 million barrels per day of Canadian crude piped from Hardisty, Alberta. As well, Canada’s oil refineries would be competing against modern super-refineries in China and India to export gasoline to North America ( Crawford, Todd. 2011-10-31. “Canada’s Refining Sector: An Important Contributor Facing Global Challenges.” The Conference Board of Canada. Commissioned by The Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (CPPI). 52 pages).
  • 2011 In Alberta’s fiscal year 2010-11, synthetic crude and bitumen royalties totaled $3.72 billion, or 38% more than the $1.42 billion in royalties derived from natural gas – the province’s traditional cash cow (Alberta Oil 2011-10-11).
  • 2011 “According to the Energy Information Administration, the United States crude oil imports fell to 8.9 million barrels a day, the lowest level since 2001. Since 2005, foreign imports dropped from 60% of U.S. consumption to 45% in 2011, according to U.S. Department of Energy data (Philips 2012-03-02.)”
  • 2011-10-11 “Sunoco Inc. shut a fluid catalytic cracker for repairs at its Marcus Hook refinery in Pennsylvania. Gasoline rose to a three-week high on speculation fuel output will decline as refinery shutdowns and maintenance curb supply on the U.S. East Coast. Futures gained as refinery rates probably fell 0.78 percentage point to 86.9 percent last week, according to the median estimate of 14 analysts in a Bloomberg News survey.”Powell 2011-10-11).
  • 2011-09-30“ConocoPhillips stopped production at its Trainer, Pennsylvania, refinery saying if it couldn’t find a buyer, the plant would be shut permanently in six months Powell 2011-10-11).” The Trainer plant is one of three oil refineries recently closed in the Eastern states.

    “Unlike their counterparts in the U.S. Midwest and on the Gulf Coast, most U.S. East Coast operations are built to refine only light, sweet oil such as Brent crude. Since this oil is largely imported from such countries as Nigeria, its price is heavily affected by global events. The Arab Spring and threats of Iranian oil disruption have driven the price of Brent from $94 a barrel to over $120 in the last year, costing the U.S. East Coast refineries dearly. Demand for gasoline in the U.S., meanwhile, is close to a 15-year low, so refineries have been unable to pass on all their costs to customers. True, gasoline prices have been climbing—gas in New York State will probably hit $4 a gallon soon—but not enough to keep these refineries profitable. “The golden age of U.S. East Coast refineries is over,” says Fadel Gheit, an analyst with Oppenheimer (Philips 2012-03-01).”

  • 2011-09-17 Thomas Golembeski, spokesperson for Sunoco claimed their oil refineries lost 8 out of the last 10 quarters between 2009 and 2011 to a total of $772 million. Philadelphia-based Sunoco announced in September that they intended to exit the refinery business. They were planning on selling the last of its refineries, in Philadelphia and Marcus Hook. The refineries have a combined capacity to process more than a half million barrels of oil a day. Sunoco, which has 150 gas stations in the Pittsburgh region (Nixon 2011-09-17).”CBC.
  • 2011-09-13Former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed, who championed and invested in the early development the oilsands in the 1970s opposed the Keystone pipeline.” In an interview with Anna Maria Tremonti of CBC Radio’s The Current September 13, 2011, Peter Lougheed argued, “We should be refining the bitumen in Alberta and we should make it public policy in the province [. . .] I would prefer…we process the bitumen from the oilsands in Alberta and that would create a lot of jobs and job activity […] That would be a better thing to do than merely send the raw bitumen down the pipeline and they refine it in Texas that means thousands of new jobs in Texas.”
  • 2011 “Within the U.S. market, the price of oil, (which is set globally) compared to the price of natural gas (which is set regionally) is very important in determining market share when there is the opportunity for substitution. Over the last decade or so (2001-2011), when oil prices have been high, the ratio of the benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil price to the Henry Hub natural gas price has been consistently higher than any of the standard rules of thumb (MIT 2011).”
  • 2011-04 and 2011-05 The price of gas ($3.90 a gallon) and oil prices ($113 a barrel) peaked for the year (Amadeo February 13, 2012).
  • 2011-02-16 Government of Alberta (GA). 2011-02-16. “Bituman refinery agreement promotes value-added development.” The Way Forward.
  • 2011-03-20 The Canadian federal budget introduced changes to taxation that was essentially a subsidy for the oil sands. “Under the current policy, the cost of an oil sands lease can be written off at a rate of 30% a year; the budget proposes narrowing that to 10%. The change on mining expenses is more dramatic. Instead of writing off the entire cost of developing a mine in the years the costs were incurred, the budget calls for forcing those costs to be written off at 30% per year. That will align oil sands mines with other sectors of the energy industry (Vanderklippe, Nathan; Tait, Carrie. 2011-03-22. “Oil sands tax incentives targeted.” Globe and Mail).” oil sands subsidies
  • 2011-03-02 The price for a barrel of WTI crude broke above $100 U. S. a barrel. “West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil is of very high quality, because it is light-weight and has low sulphur content. For these reasons, it is often referred to as “light, sweet” crude oil. These properties make it excellent for making gasoline, which is why it is the major benchmark of crude oil in the Americas. WTI is generally priced at about a $5-6 per barrel premium to the OPEC Basket Price and about $1-2 per-barrel premium to Brent (Amadeo February 13, 2012).” Alberta Oil Sands Royalties are tagged to the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil.
  • 2011-01-31 The U. S. Federal budget included a proposal to eliminate roughly $4 billion a year in subsidies and tax breaks for oil companies, in his third effort to eliminate federal support for an industry that remains hugely profitable (Broder, John M. 2011-01-31. “Obama’s Bid to End Oil Subsidies Revives Debate.” ).
  • 2010-12 Sunoco sold a refinery in Toledo, Ohio, “for $400 million to PBF Energy Co. LLC. Golembeski said the sale has not affected Sunoco retail stations in the Midwest. (Nixon 2011-09-17).”
  • 2009-02 Oil prices dropped to $39 a barrel (Amadeo 2012).
  • 2010-04-13Sinopec, China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, a state-owned company and China’s second-largest oil producer and top refiner, announced acquisition of ConocoPhillips’ 9.03% interest in Syncrude — the largest oil sands project — with seven other partners controlling the rest. Canadian ownership of Syncrude remains at nearly 56%. The Canadian government granted regulatory approval on on June 25, 2010.(Reuters). Sinopec Group, parent of Asia’s largest refiner Sinopec Corp, has launched at c. 74 acquisition deals worth $48.1B since 2005, as part of China’s attempts to secure resources to feed the country’s rapid growth (source). CEO Wang Tianpu,
  • 2008-12 The price of WTI crude oil plummeted to a low of $30 per barrel (Amadeo February 13, 2012). The price of gasoline also dropped to $1.68 a gallon. (Source: EIA Oil Price Trends,EIA Gas Price Trends)
  • 2010-07-26 “Enbridge Energy Partners LLP (Enbridge) reported a 30-inch pipeline ruptured on Monday, July 26, 2010, near Marshall, Michigan. The release, estimated at 819,000 gallons, entered Talmadge Creek and flowed into the Kalamazoo River, a Lake Michigan tributary. Heavy rains caused the river to overtop existing dams and carried oil 30 miles downstream on the Kalamazoo River.” Cleanup by the numbers: 1,148,411 gallons of oil collected; 17.1 million gallons of oil/water collected and disposed; 187,276 cubic yards soil/debris disposed. Total Est. Oil Spill Cost $US 44,833,205. (From July 20, 2012, Situation Report) (source)
  • 2008-06 The price of WTI crude oil hit $145 per barrel which was an all-time high. The U.S. average retail price for regular gasoline also hit a peak in July 2008 of $4.10, rising as high as $5 a gallon in some areas [. . .] During 2008, there was fear that economic growth from China and the U.S. would create so much demand for oil that it would overtake supply, driving up prices. However, most analysts now realize that such a sudden increase in oil prices was due to increased investment by hedge fund and futures traders. (See What Causes High Oil Prices?) (Amadeo February 13, 2012). (Source: EIA Oil Price Trends,EIA Gas Price Trends)
  • 2008-06 According to the publicly-available Commitments of Traders (COT) reports, activity in the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light sweet crude oil contracts has grown markedly since 2000. In the last three and a half years alone, open interest across all available contract maturities (the number of contracts open at the end of each day) in WTI futures and futures-equivalent (or “adjusted”) option contracts traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) has more than tripled from around 900,000 contracts in January 2004 to more than 2.9 million contracts in June 2008. During the same period, the number of large traders has also grown – almost doubling since January 2004, from approximately 220 to just under 400 reporting traders. These figures speak to the competitiveness and depth of the crude oil futures markets in the U.S. (CFTC 2008-06).”
  • 2007 
  • 2008-05 The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil passed the $123 mark for the first time (BBC).
  • 2007-05-24 West Texas Intermediate (WTI), also known as Texas light sweet crude oil was priced at $63.58 per barrel as against $71.39 per barrel for Brent (Bloomberg). The anomaly occurred perhaps because of a temporary shortage of refining capacity. On April 13, WTI Crude at Cushing may have temporarily lost its status as a barometer of world oil prices.[2] A large stockpile of oil at the Cushing, Oklahoma storage and pricing facility (mainly due to a refinery shutdown[3]) caused price to be artificially depressed at the Cushing pricing point. As stockpiles decreased, the WTI price increased to exceed the price of Brent once again.[4] (West Texas Intermediate (WTI), also known as Texas light sweet, is a grade of crude oil used as a benchmark in oil pricing. This grade is described as light because of its relatively low density, and sweet because of its low sulfur content. It is the underlying commodity of Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s oil futures contracts. The price of WTI is often referenced in news reports on oil prices, alongside the price of Brent crude from the North Sea. Other important oil markers include the Dubai Crude and the OPEC Reference Basket. Brent Crude is a major trading classification of sweet light crude oil comprising Brent Blend, Forties Blend, Oseberg and Ekofisk crudes (also known as the BFOE Quotation). Brent Crude is sourced from the North Sea. The Brent Crude oil marker is also known as Brent Blend, London Brent and Brent petroleum.) wikipedia
  • 2007-03-20The Conservative government of Canada announced it would gradually phase out some oil sands tax incentives including provisions allowing accelerated write-off of oil sands investments. The New Democratic Party, which had enough votes to keep the Conservatives in power, made eliminating accelerated capital cost allowances for oil sands a price for its support (“Canada to end oil sands aid, add green-car rebates“. Angola Press. 20 March 2007).
  • 2007Alberta`s oil sands, which rival Saudi Arabia`s conventional oil reserves in size, were the target of an unprecedented development rush as companies looked to cash in on North America`s thirst for secure energy supplies (“Canada to end oil sands aid, add green-car rebates“. Angola Press. 20 March 2007).
  • 2007 Crude oil prices were significantly in excess of the average cost of production, which was about $28 per barrel of bitumen. However, bitumen production costs were rising rapidly, with production cost increases of 55% from 2005 to 2007, due to shortages of labor and materials (“Oil sands costs up 55 percent“. UPI. 6 March 2007.)
  • 2007-01-31The European Commission announced plans to force energy companies to produce greener fuels. It says it will propose amendments to a directive on fuel quality, which will require a 10% cut in the CO2 released during production and use of the fuel (BBC News “Brussels presses for greener fuel.”)The changes would make companies use more biofuel, and develop greener biofuels where the production process results in lower CO2 emissions.
  • 2006 The Government of Alberta had “a vision for its hydrocarbon upgrading industry: “Alberta will achieve a competitive hydrocarbon upgrading industry through refining and petrochemical plants that expand the market for Alberta’s bitumen resource and produces higher value products in Alberta.” The vision for hydrocarbon upgrading is a key component in the development of an integrated energy strategy that looks beyond extraction to ensure both the highest value and best use of our resources for the benefit of all Albertans (executive summary) The returns to Alberta and Canada from a fully integrated system could be significant. Successful upgrading to finished products could add billions of dollars to the Alberta and Canadian economy and broaden Alberta’s markets for value-added products, ultimately helping Alberta companies to increase their global competitiveness. As well as the value-added consideration, the high level of activity in the oil sands has raised a concern among industry stakeholders. With the large number of project proposals to develop the oil sands within the next 10 to 15 years, production of the bitumen and synthetic crude oil from the oil sands may exceed current refinery capacity resulting in the value of these products declining over time. Increasing Alberta’s capacity to produce finished products would mitigate this potential problem and serve the North American market better. In addition, the lower cost bitumen derived feedstocks would help sustain Alberta’s worldclass petrochemical industry, which is currently based on higher-priced natural gas feedstocks (Natural Gas – Alberta Plant Gate – C$/MMBtu 2006:10.35).” … The vision for hydrocarbon upgrading [was] a key component in the development of an integrated energy strategy that looks beyond extraction to ensure both the highest value and best use of our resources for the benefit of all Albertans … As well as the value-added consideration, the high level of activity in the oil sands has raised a concern among industry stakeholders. With the large number of project proposals to develop the oil sands within the next 10 to 15 years, production of the bitumen and synthetic crude oil from the oil sands may exceed current refinery capacity resulting in the value of these products declining over time. Increasing Alberta’s capacity to produce finished products would mitigate this potential problem and serve the North American market better. In addition, the lower cost bitumen derived feedstocks would help sustain Alberta’s worldclass petrochemical industry, which is currently based on higher-priced natural gas feedstocks (p.6) . . . The growing demand for refined petroleum products in North America has resulted in constrained refinery capacity and increasing product prices. While refinery capacity expansions are being planned, the demand for refined products is expected to continue to exceed available domestic supply.” Both the natural gas price and the West Texas Intermediate crude oil price forecasts used in the economic model are from a published source, GLJ Petroleum Consultants Ltd. and are summarized here: Crude Oil – West Texas Intermediate – US$/bbl 2006:57.00 2007:55.00 2008:51.00 2009:48.00 2010:46.50 2015:47.75 2020:52.77; Natural Gas – Alberta Plant Gate – C$/MMBtu 2006:10.35 2007:9.00 2008:7.75 2009:7.25 2010:6.95 2015:7.15 2020:7.90 (Netzer 2006-03.”
  • 2005 The price of crude oil soared from $45 a barrel to above $70 a barrel. BP reported a 25% increase in annual profits “magnified enormously by the high price of oil, high refining margins, and high gas prices”. Profits for 2005 went up to $19.31bn with profits for the last three months of the year increasing by 26% to $4.43bn. Shell’s record profit was $22.94bn in 2005. (BBC 2005).
  • 2004 There was a large, unexpected jump in world oil consumption growth, fostered by strong growth in economic activity in Asia, reduced excess production capacity significantly (CFCT 2008-07).
  • 2003 Between 2000-12 and 2003 there were four gasoline price spikes caused by domestic refining and marketing that resulted in an increase of over $30 billion in gasoline prices. (Cooper 2003).”
  • 2003 Reductions in storage capacity and the number of gasoline stations of over ten percent have also taken place in just the past half-decade. These reductions in capacity have been driven in part by a merger wave that has resulted in a significant increase in the concentration of ownership of refinery capacity and gasoline outlets. Four-fifths of regional refinery markets have reached levels of concentration that trigger competitive concerns, even by the standards adopted by the antitrust division of the Reagan administration’s Department of Justice. In these markets, the largest four firms account for at least one-half and as much as three quarters of the refined product output. A similar trend has been in evidence at the level of gasoline stations (Cooper 2003).”
  • 2003-03-11 “Consumer Groups Seek Energy Price Probe,” Energy Daily, March 11, 2003, p. 4.
  • 2003 OECD oil stocks were at record lows in 2003, following a major strike by oil workers in Venezuela (CFTC 2008-07).
  • 2003 In the United States alone, 75 refineries were closed between 1988-2003 and no new refineries were constructed ( Cooper, Mark. 2003-10. “Spring Break in the US Oil Industry: Price Spike, Excess Profits and Excuses.” Consumer Federation of America.
  • 2002 In 2002, 58 firms were engaged in refining in the United States, down from 189 firms in 1981 (source).
  • 2001-05-21 Public Citizen, Record Oil Company Profits Underscore Market Consolidation, May 31, 2001; Fortune 500, July 18, 2001; Business Week First Quarter Results, May 21, 2001
  • 2000 Between 1985 and 2000, average refinery utilization increased from 78 to over 92 percent (source).
  • 1998 A wave of mergers, acquisitions, joint venture alliances, and selective divestitures started in 1998. The aim was cutting costs, gaining economies of scale, increasing returns on investment, and boosting profitability (source). Exxon and Mobil merged allowing both companies a larger share of the oil and gas market (horizontal merging).
  • 1990s “The 1990s were widely viewed by the industry as a period of unprecedented economic volatility and hardship, characterized by poor profit margins as a result of substantial excess capacity, the increasing cost of compliance with environmental regulations, and unfavorable crude oil price trends. At the same time, the refining industry in the United States has been dramatically changed by corporate restructuring and consolidation (RAND).”

Webliography and Bibliography

There are major challenges in locating reliable sources of useful, comprehensible information on the oil industry. The following sources are not necessarily neutral. Wikipedia entries on concepts and organizations related to the oil industry constantly include warnings to readers that the entries may not be neutral and indeed reflect advertisement more than unbiased, information based on reliable sources. Citations often lack references.**

Who’s Who?

  • Bitumen Royalty-in-Kind (BRIK):”In Alberta, royalties are a share of production from resources the government owns on behalf of Albertans. Under the Mines and Minerals Act, the government has the option to take its royalty share either in cash or in kind. Currently, the government takes its share of conventional crude oil production in kind and collects its royalty share for other resources in cash. The decision to exercise the in-kind option for bitumen was identified in October 2007 as a way for the Crown to use its share of bitumen strategically to supply potential upgraders and refineries in Alberta, and to optimize its royalty share by marketing those volumes (Government of Alberta. Energy. BRIK. FAQ.”
  • China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC)CNOOC is “an $89 billion company with oil and gas assets in Indonesia, Iraq, Australia, Africa, North and South America, as well as China… The $15 billion bid by China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) to buy Canada’s Nexen, Inc will help the Chinese state giant gain the expertise to drill in deep, disputed waters of the South China Sea without relying on risk-averse foreign firms (Eckert, Paul. 2012-08-04. CNOOC-Nexen deal seen helping China’s South China Sea thrust. Reuters).” By 2018-2023 China would probably have the experience, knowledge and technologies like those Nexen already has to “set up and maintain stable rigs in 5,000-10,000 feet of ocean water” and “drill 10,000-18,000 feet deep in sediment (Eckert 2012-08-04)”. How might China’s access to an expanded South China Sea deep drilling, affect the future of oil sands bitumen market and the Northern Gateway pipeline in five or ten years?
  • Conference Board of CanadaAn independent, not-for-profit, applied research organization in Canada, self-describes as non-partisan.
    “Experts in running conferences but also at conducting, publishing, and disseminating research; helping people network; developing individual leadership skills; and building organizational capacity. Specialists in economic trends, as well as organizational performance and public policy issues. Not a government department or agency,
    although we are often hired to provide services for all levels of government.” Published report entitled “Canada’s Petroleum Refining Sector: An Important Contributor
    Facing Global Challenges
    ” in 2011 by Todd Crawford.
  • Council of Canadians“Founded in 1985 by a handful of citizens including Maude Barlow, Farley Mowat and Margaret Atwood, the Council of Canadians is Canada’s largest citizens’ advocacy organization; with 72 chapters across the Canada who work to protect Canadian independence by promoting progressive policies on fair trade, clean water, energy security, public health care, and other issues of social and economic concern to Canadians.” They produce promotional material such as “Take Charge! A National Day of Action in support of a Canadian Energy Strategy” encouraging Canadians to “write their Prime Minister Stephen Harper and demand a National Energy Strategy that puts people and the environment ahead of corporate interests.”
  • Ferguson, Brian is President & Chief Executive Officer of Cenovus Energy’s strategic and operational performance. He is also a Director of Cenovus Energy. His background is in finance, business development, reserves, strategic planning, evaluations, communications and accounting. Brian is a member of the highly influential Canadian Council of Chief Executives who are considered by some to be an unofficial arm of the federal government. Brian is currently serving a two-year term on the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) Board of Governors. In November 2011, in a joint business venture Cenovus and ConocoPhillips completed a new four-drum coker as part of the coker and refinery expansion (CORE) project at Wood River (Illinois). The new coker has a capacity of 65,000 barrels per day and is expected to expand our heavy oil processing capacity to approximately 200,000 – 220,000 barrels per day, increasing the production of clean transportation fuels for the U.S. Midwest market, including St. Louis and Chicago. The CORE project took about three years to build, with a total cost of US$3.8 billion (US$1.9 billion to Cenovus), and has increased clean product yield by 5% to approximately 85%. Cenovus is involved in a business venture with ConocoPhillips in upstream enhanced oil operations and downstream refining. Cenovus has a 50% interest in the Wood River (Illinois) and Borger (Texas) refineries. ConocoPhillips has a 50% interest in our Foster Creek and Christina Lake Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD), enhanced oil recovery technology for producing heavy crude oil and bitumen. These two extraction upstream projects in the Athabasca region in northeast Alberta. This interest in two quality refineries is a strategic fit for Cenovus and allows us to capture the full value from crude oil production through to refined products such as diesel, gasoline and jet fuel (Cenovus).” “The Foster Creek project began in 1996 and in 2002 became the industry’s first commercial SAGD project. It has grown in five phases with an expected production capacity of 120,000 gross barrels per day. In the first quarter of 2010 Foster Creek achieved a significant milestone in becoming the largest commercial SAGD project in Alberta to reach royalty payout status. For a project to reach payout its cumulative revenues exceed cumulative allowable costs.” Cenovus is Alberta’s sixth largest energy company with more than 3,000 staff (Cenovus Energy). It’s a sign of commercial success for Cenovus and ConocoPhillips but what does it mean in terms of Alberta’s oil sands royalties if a project can reach royalty payout status? ConocoPhillips and Cenovus are in a shared business venture involving 2 high quality refineries (Wood River Refinery near St. Louis which is the largest of the 12 refineries operated by ConocoPhillips and Borger in Borger, Texas) and in upstream extraction projects in Alberta, ConocoPhillips has a 50% interest in our Foster Creek and Christina Lake Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD).
  • Steve Williams, Suncor’s president and COO has a background in strategy development, company performance improvement, refinery & chemical company management. He has also provided leadership in the areas of environment, health and safety, finance, sales and marketing, human resources, and information technology. Bloomberg’s Jeremy van Loon about an industry-led effort to reduce the environmental impact of oil-sands production. Encana was formed in 2002 merging two Canadian oil and gas companies, PanCanadian Energy Corp. and Alberta Energy Company (AEC). Encana Corporation split into two distinct companies on December 1, 2009: one a pure play natural gas company (Encana) and the other an integrated oil company (Cenovus) which absorbed the assets formerly belonging to PanCanadian Energy Corp. and Alberta Energy Company (AEC), the two Canadian oil and gas companies that merged to form Encana in 2002 as well as a stake in 2 high quality refineries (Wood River Refinery near St. Louis which is the largest of the 12 refineries operated by ConocoPhillips and Borger in Borger, Texas).
  • The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) is an “independent, quasi-judicial agency of the Government of Alberta. They regulate the safe, responsible, and efficient development of Alberta’s energy resources: oil, natural gas, oil sands, coal, and pipelines. Their mission is to ensure that the discovery, development and delivery of Alberta’s energy resources take place in a manner that is fair, responsible and in the public interest.”
  • Premier Alison Redford says her government will take a hands-off approach to the increased upgrading of bitumen in the province as Alberta’s oilsands production continues to ramp up. (Wood 2012-01-26).”
  • Neil Shelly, “executive director of the Alberta Industrial Heartland Association, said the pipeline is a mixed blessing because it does open up the area to opportunities in a whole new market. But he echoes Rigney’s concerns that the pipeline represents more Alberta bitumen being shipped away without any upgrading. “We definitely need to diversify the market for Alberta. Just shipping out raw bitumen, even if it is to an upgrader in China or India or wherever, does (diversify) a little bit, but it doesn’t really.” Shelly said more upgrading and refining in Alberta would give the province a lot more options when it came to selling its products, along with all the jobs and benefits from the industry. “What if we extract the bitumen in Alberta, turn into synthetic crude oil and then we could supply eastern Canada with the fuels they need?”(Gateway a Potential Blow to Upgrading Industry.)
  • “Don Rigney is Mayor of Sturgeon County, town through which the proposed Gateway Pipeline will pass. Several upgraders were once proposed for Sturgeon County and Mayor Rigney argued that the Pipeline represents another example where Alberta will sell raw bitumen rather than upgrade it. “We would get far more value for our resources if we were to ship refined product.” Sturgeon was once projected to be home to four upgraders, but only one — North West Upgrading’s 50,000 barrel per day project — is currently expected to go ahead. Rigney said he would rather have the pipeline carry raw bitumen than not have the pipeline at all, but he would like to see more effort made to encourage more upgrading in Alberta.” “The Canadian Centre for Energy Information (
  • Centre for Energy) is a non-profit organization created in 2002 to meet an urgent need for information on all aspects of the Canadian energy system from oil, natural gas, coal, thermal, and hydroelectric power through to nuclear, solar, wind, and other sources of energy. More recently, the Centre for Energy has taken steps to broaden its reach to encompass energy end use in Canada (“About: Centre for Energy’s web page)” Wikipedia editors cautioned that the Wikipedia article on the Centre “may be written like an advertisement with promotional content that was not written from a neutral point of view (October 2009). Wikipedia editors expressed concerns that citations provided no reliable references or sources (October 2009).**
  • Catherine J Laureshen “is a Senior Research Manager, responsible for the upgrading and university research programmes of the Alberta Energy Research Institute (AERI). Prior to joining AERI, she taught in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Calgary, and was a member of the In Situ Combustion Research Group. Dr Laureshen is an active member of the Petroleum Society of the Canadian Institue of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM), sitting on the national board and chairing the publications board. She is the Technical Chair for the 2006 Canadian International Petroleum Conference and will be the Conference Chair in 2007. Dr Laureshen is also a member of the Canadian Heavy Oil Association (CHOA), the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists, and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA). She has a PhD in mechanical engineering, with a specialisation in fluid dynamics.” The
  • Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of non-profit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization’s Board of Directors (CFA about). Peter Boag, president of the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute, argues that “Canada’s 19 refineries produce two million barrels of day, but they are only operating at 80 per cent capacity. The ideal, according to the industry, is to be operating at 95 per cent. Canadians consume about 1.8 million barrels of oil a day.” Mark Corey, the Assistant Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Sector agreed. Lindell, 2012-01-31). Brenda Kenny, president of the Canadian Energy Pipelines Association, said that using imported oil eliminates certain costs (CBC 2012-01). In the pipeline versus refinery debate her interests are clearly on the side of pipelines.
  • Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Penn., said the U.S. House Homeland Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence he chairs will launch a hearing entitled “The Implications of Refinery Closures for U.S. Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure Safety” on March 19, 2012 (Meehan 2012-02-24), into how nationwide refinery closures, including the three Philadelphia-area refineries, could increase risks to the nation’s critical infrastructure and threaten supply shortages in the event of a global crisis. Meehan said the three imperiled refineries in the Philadelphia area account for 50 percent of the Northeast’s refinery capacity. He said more than 30 U.S. refineries have closed in the past decade. “This hearing will help us understand the homeland security consequences of our declining domestic refining capacity, both in terms of threats to critical infrastructure and our dependence on imports from unstable parts of the world,” said Meehan, adding he would schedule the hearing as soon as possible. Casey has called for a Senate hearing on the impact that the possible refinery closures could have on energy prices. He has warned that if no buyer is found and the refineries are permanently shuttered, the closures could drive up energy prices on the East Coast (Miga 2012-02-16).” “SPRINGFIELD, PA – U.S. Representative Patrick Meehan (PA-07) today announced the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence will hold a hearing on Monday, March 19 at Neumann University in Aston entitled, “The Implications of Refinery Closures for U.S. Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure Safety.” The hearing will examine the homeland security consequences of nationwide refinery closures – including three in the Philadelphia area – both in terms of threats to critical infrastructure and our dependence on imports from unstable parts of the world. “The closure of two refineries and the expected closure of a third in our area not only mean significant job and economic loss,” said Meehan. “They’ve also resulted in a significant decline in our country’s refining capacity, causing our country to have greater reliance on foreign oil imports from the Middle East, Africa and Venezuela. This brings up important questions about how this could increase the risks to domestic critical infrastructure and threaten supply shortages in the case of a global crisis.” Meehan noted that the three Philadelphia area refineries account for 50 percent of the Northeast’s entire refinery capacity, and more than 30 U.S. refineries have closed in the last decade. Meehan said the subcommittee is in the process of finalizing the witnesses expected to testify at the March hearing (Meehan 2012-02-24).”
  • Will Roach, was chief executive of UTS Energy Corp., which held a 30% stake in Petro-Canada`s planned Fort Hills oil sands project, one of numerous multibillion-dollar projects on the drawing board in 2007.

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IN PROCESS

Journalists acted as cheerleaders for buying stocks […] The market values journalists advice more then of analysts, and journalists advice are believed to contain more new information compared to analysts advice […] The lesson for investors is this: If either journalists or analysts come with a “sell” recommendation the stock drops significantly right away and continues to yield abnormal negative return. If an analyst issues “buy’s” there is only a slight chance that the stock will show abnormal positive return and more likely that the return will be negative. But if journalists issue “buy’s” it offers investors a short time of positive and significant abnormal positive returns, before the returns disappear and become severely negative. This is what Lidén calls a classic overreaction. “…it is obvious that analysts and journalists were fooled by the over-optimism from the positive information, but they were not from negative information. In turn, this is due to positive information being more intricate to interpret.”
25(source 2005).”

“The British financial journalism had been molded in the hands of people like J.R. McCulloch the editor of the Scotsman and the first real economist to write regularly in a newspaper. The influence of McCulloch is evident as he edited such works as The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith in The Works of David Ricardo (source). Today magazines like The Economist and The Financial Times rely on McCulloch’s heritage while the American Barron‘s and the Wall Street Journal have for long been more finance oriented sources based on Alsanger’s foundation. In general this could be described as Speculators vs. Economic theory. This difference is important when retrieving, analyzing and valuing information from different sources on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Different cultural background and general rivalry has for example led many US financial journalist still today to consider The Economist the most overrated journal in the world!
(source 2005).”

2005 “Publishers such as Pearson (Financial Times, Economist) and Dow Jones (WSJ) are striving to become journalistic brand names that integrate news content and media around the basic product which paper is. The environment of the 90s has been called paradoxical concerning these two publishing giants. On one hand they are forced to adopt multimedia strategies, particularly developing a range of non-print products. On the other hand they have to do so while maintaining a historical focus on financial news, with clear growth limitations when considered nationally (source 2005).”

2005-1995 This “decade has been described by some scholars as the decade of popular capitalism, materialized in the growth of the “citizen investor” and of the globalization – primarily corporate and financial (Arrese and Medina (2002). The success of electronic financial media has forced economic dailies to stop identifying with just the traditional newspaper.”

2005 An example of the opposite opinion would be how Michael Bloomberg the Governor of New York City starts up his day. Bloomberg is a former stockbroker and owns one of the worlds most powerful finance quotation and informational media bearing his name. Remarkably enough Mr. Bloomberg says he gathers information the old-fashioned way starting with printed media. Among these are The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and The New York Times but he seldom goes to a story inside. He reads The Economist from cover-to-cover, never misses Fortune and usually reads Business Week. As for TV news, “I never watch TV, even my own [news channel].”

2004 Rupert Murdoch, “president of the News Corporation which publishes newspapers such as The Times in the UK and The New York Post, has urged newspaper editors “to embrace the internet saying print news executives sat by and watched as a generation of digital consumers turned away from newspapers…The challenge for each of us in this room is to create an internet presence that is compelling enough that users make it their home page. Just as people traditionally started their day with coffee and a newspaper, in the future I hope that the way they start their day online will be with coffee and our website,” Murdoch said at the annual meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors last April. If quotes of closing price would have been accessible to investors in a similar way back in 17th century surely there would have been no need for papers like the Lloyd’s List.” (source 2005).”

1996 Dan “Dorfman was fired from his 450.000 dollars-a-year job in 1996 after he refused to turn over his confidential sources. Federal investigation was made whether he had personally profited from his reports, either by trading on them or tipping others in exchange for favors. In an investigation made by the WSJ it was found that Dorfman maintained a brokerage account that was managed by one of his frequent sources, a broker who later left the business after being acquitted of fraud charges (source 2005).”

1990s “Dan Dorfman worked as a financial journalist at the Money magazine and as a commentator for the CNBC in the early 90s to become the highest-paid and the most influential business reporter in his time. Dorfman’s expertise was tied to his linguistic skill – not his analytic skills. He was a reporter, not an analyst. Dorfman went on television and mentioned a stock that someone had told him that was a possible
takeover target. The stock moved up and although only briefly, everybody was happy – for a while [. . .] But that evolution seems to be part of the everyday life of the modern journalist. Investment bankers, arbitrageurs, corporate raiders, analysts and people in corporate public relations all try to spin the story to their favor. To analyze how this evolved into a serious problem is the case of one of the most influential US business journalist who “moved market” for years with exclusive stories, but then was found guilty in the court of public opinion for unethical behavior regarding his work (source 2005).”

1980s As the golden age of economic controversy came to pass in the 80s the turmoil left a deep mark on the financial press. Privatization, deregulation of the financial markets, advances in information technology along with increased private share ownership helped to unleash a powerful new figure in the financial media which had mostly been overlook for many decades – the financial analyst. The bull market of
the 80s and again in the late 90s led “the tipster” to become in greater demand then teachers and scholarly journalists. “Now, as in the 1920s, speculation is a game all the family can play for the price of an evening paper.” (source)

1973 The oil crisis in 1973 and the collapse of the Bretton Woods exchange system seriously dented the limelight of the Keynesian economic gurus and gave rise to antiKeynesians intellectuals such as the Nobel-winning Austrian economist Friedrich A. Hayek (source).

1960s and 1970s The standing of the American economic profession rose highest and the leading men of this period became celebrities and gurus (Galbraith, Samuelson and Friedman) and in demand as commentators. Some people hoped that the ideas of a new breed of economists would rid the world from economic and financial crises [. . .] A prime example of this is the successful selling of Milton Friedman’s “supply-side economics” in the Wall Street Journal and the “monetarism” in the Financial Times. Both journals experienced tremendous success at this time where the WSJ climbed to a top position in circulation, toppling such newspapers as the New York Times and the Washington Post. The basis for creating a solid specialized news groups in the 60s was supported by the lack of interest for economic and financial news of the general news media (source).”

The seeds of this craze were planted in 1593. A man by the name of Conrad Guestner imported the first tulip bulb into Holland from Constantinople, in present day Turkey. After a few years, tulip bulbs became a status symbol and a novelty for the rich and famous. Eventually, tulip bulbs became a hot
ticket item in neighboring Germany, as well. Initially, only the true connoisseurs bought tulip bulbs, but the rapidly rising price quickly attracted speculators looking to profit. By 1634, tulip mania had feverishly spread to the Dutch middle class. Pretty soon everybody was dealing in tulip bulbs, looking to make a quick fortune. The majority of the tulip bulb buyers had no intentions of even planting these bulbs! The name of the game was to buy low and sell high, just like in any other market. The whole Dutch nation was caught in a sweeping mania, as people traded in their land, livestock, farms and life savings all to acquire 1 single tulip bulb! (Source: http://www.stock-market-crash.net; http://cepa.newschool.edu/het/profiles/mcculloch.htm)”

Analysts,
financial journalists,
stock recommendations,
efficient
market
theory,
contrarian signal
“dead tree media”


There is a high degree of uncertainty in predicting future commodity prices that baffles those engaged in monetary policies, academics, economists, and the everyday consumer.

High frequency trading (see Direct Edge 2005-) using proprietary algorithmic trading programs accounted for over 25% of all shares traded by the buy side by 2009. In 2009 73% of US equity trading volume was attributed to the activities of a small number of high-frequency trading firms, including divisions of Goldman Sachs and UBS but many more obscure, startup firms (with only 12-100 employees) such as Archelon, EWT Trading, Getco and Peak6 (Heires, Katherine. 2009-07-20Code Green: Goldman Sachs & UBS Cases Heighten Need to Keep Valuable Digital Assets From Walking Out The Door. Millions in Trading Profits May Depend On It Securities Industry News). The entire event/analysis/action cycle has been reduced for traders with the fastest machines to a few milliseconds. Fast computing not rational decision-making counts. Arnuk and Saluzzi (2009) call these activities toxic trade and claim that the high frequency trader seize the best deals at the expense of real investors whose machines are not as fast.

NYSE specialists no longer provide price stability. With the advent NYSE Hybrid, specialist market share has dropped from 80% to 25%.

There is a saturation of equity quotes with the entire event/analysis/action cycle has been reduced for some traders to a few milliseconds.

CQS Capacity (Quotes per Second) capacity was increased was increased by 33% to 1 million quotes/second on July 4, 2010 and on July 5th there was a micro-burst of activity. July 5th was 33% more active than any trading day in history.] CQS is already planning to increase capacity an additional 25% in October 2011. How long before that limit is hit ? We think it will be hit the very next trading day. If 3 years ago someone told us that equity quote traffic rates for NYSE, AMEX and ARCA issues would exceed 1 Million/second (not even counting Nasdaq stocks), we would have thought the market would have entered the greatest bull or bear market ever known. Instead, you can’t even recognize from a 1 minute chart where these bursts of out-of-control quote traffic rates occur. And when they do occur, a significant percentage of those quotes will have already expired before they even leave the exchange network. At these rates of growth, we will no longer have a diversity of trading participants with accurate market data, and regulators will have no hope of ever piecing together what happened after the next disaster. It took the SEC five months just to assemble equity data to analyse the flash crash [of May 6, 2010]. When the next disaster strikes, they will have to contend with 5 to 10 times more data (“Equity Quote Saturation” Nanex).”

“The market itself creates events in the form of imbalances of supply and demand that could be of value to traders who are fast enough to respond to them. There is no doubt that being faster than others entails private advantage, but is it socially beneficial? The first mover in the case of fundamental news imposes costs on other traders, and high adverse selection costs could cause market failure. The fast traders that take advantage of market events could provide valuable liquidity to those seeking immediacy and hence enhance market quality, but could also step ahead of large orders in the book, thereby imposing costs on other liquidity providers (as described in the specialist context by Seppi (1997)) (Hasbrouck, Joel; Saar, Gideon. “Low-Latency Trading“. p. 1. Retrieved 18 July 2011).”

Canadian-born, Harvard-educated economist Dean of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, Roger L. Martin argued in his publication entitled Fixing the Game: How Runaway Expectations Broke the Economy, and How to Get Back to Reality (2011-05) “The mayhem in our capital markets is ultimately the unfortunate effect of tightly tying together two different markets: the real market and the expectations market.” In her article printed in The Atlantic Lane Wallace (2009-07-07) admired Martin’s use of an easy-to-understand football analogy to explain how flawed economic theories about compensation and investment contributed to the 2008 melt-down on Wall Street. I have been unable to find the original Financial Times article to which Wallace referred but Martin has used the example of the New England Patriots’ stellar 16-0 record in their 2007 winning streak in Fixing the Game (2011) and this section is posted on Huffington Post. In it Martin explained how MVP Quarterback Tom Brady, the head coach and the team’s superlative 2007 performance was perfect even in measurable “real” terms. He uses Brady’s real performance value as an analogy for real stock market values and real embodied customers. He contrasts this with the speculators’ expectations market based on the point spread. The Patriots’ performance for example was only mediocre because the Patriots covered the point spread only ten times. Martin explained that “In betting vernacular, a favored team covers the spread when it wins the game by more than the point spread. In this case, the point spread is the moral equivalent of the stock price, in that it captures the consensus expectations of all bettors (Huffington Post).” Martin argued that it is impossible to meet bettors’ expectations forever and expectations grow to unattainable levels in both football and the stock market. In “American capitalism, CEOs are compensated directly and explicitly on how they perform against the point spread; that is, against expectations (Martin 2011 cited in Huffington Post).” And CEOs increasingly focus on managing share price over the short run something that is easier to manipulate. Shareholders are better off however when the focus of their investment managers is on the long term, on increasing share price more or less forever. In this horse-race spread-covering betting scenario, the interests of shareholders and executives are not aligned.

In 2009 (Stiglitz Commission 2009).” warned that financial speculation exacerbated the mortgage meltdown, the phenomenal increase in the price of energy including oil. As the price of energy increases countries’ purchasing power decreased. “The transfer of income from those who suffered from these price increases to those who benefited weakened global aggregate demand and contributed to the global imbalances which played an important role in the crisis (Stiglitz Commission 2009).”

There are those who claim that perceptions not realities create oil prices (Dicker 2011:309). He argued that the illogical outcome of BP disaster (the decrease in the price of oil when the supply was less than demand) is another example of the way in which oil markets and prices are influenced by quick analysis of traders and investors looking to benefit from a well-placed bet not by legitimate changes in fundamental supply.

While gurus such as Bernstein (2000) argue that gambling is for anyone but speculation is for professionals, the chaos and unpredictability of the current global economy have been linked to a growing culture of gambling in futures trading rather than level-headed professionalism. Gamblers create risk simply by placing a bet; professional speculators “transfer risk from the hedgers to the speculators” and it therefore called risk management instead of gambling.

“It rained last night so the price of soy beans will be down today.” Although the basis of fundamental analysis in economics is supply and demand, the actual fundamental analysis of specific markets that might generate accurate price predictions are complicated as numbers of factors overlap and massive quantities of data need to be considered. The simple equation involves how much of a commodity or service are buyers willing to pay at a given time and place. There used to be a correlation between price and consumption. Factors that impact on price of commodities include the state of the economy (local, regional, national and international – inflationary, recessionary with rising or falling employment), availability of alternate products or services, storage possibilities, weather, seasonality, price cycles, price trends, government subsidies, political influences, protectionist attitudes, international tensions, fear of war, hoarding, stockpiling, demand for raw materials (sugar, petroleum, copper, platinum, coffee, cocoa), currency fluctuations, health of the economy, level of unemployment, housing starts. Most technical systems are not effective in making traders money.

In examining implications regarding monetary policies the US Federal Reserve Board theoretical analyses often focus on: “commodity prices and inflation, the role of labor costs in the price-setting process, issues arising from the necessity of making policy in real time, and the determinants and effects of changes in inflation expectations (Bernanke 2008-06-09).”

While some argue that “policymakers care only about expected economic outcomes and not the uncertainty surrounding those outcomes” Pesenti and Groen claim that policymakers are concerned about the risks to their projections as well as the projections themselves (Pesenti and Groen 2011-03)?” Should and how does this affect the way in which policies are made?

Selected Timeline of Critical Events

2011-08-09. “In recent days, the high-frequency operation at Tradeworx Inc., a Red Bank, N.J. firm, juggled its largest daily volumes since its 2009 launch, resulting in some of its most profitable days on record, according to its founder, Manoj Narang. The reason: High-speed firms’ profits are highly correlated with increased volatility in the market. The more stock are rising and falling, the better they are able to make profits on the difference between buy and sell prices. A gauge of volatility, the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, or VIX, rose more than 100% from Aug. 1 to Aug. 8. (Patterson, Scott. 2011-08-09. “High Frequency Traders Win in Market Bloodbath.” Wall Street Journal Blog Marketbeat.)”

2011-08-13 ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: “[T] he issue of what’s called high-frequency trading and electronic trading that she just mentioned is absolutely right. The reason why you’re seeing these huge gains and huge losses is because there are people who are making these decisions based on the headlines, but then there are computers, there’s machines that are effectively taking over and exacerbating the ups and the downs, because what they’re looking to do is — these are machines with algorithms that are looking to pick up pennies, lots of pennies in many instances. But they’re looking for one stock to go up and one stock to go down, and they see different correlations. And that’s really exacerbating the big moves in volatility we’re seeing in the stock market these days.” CATHERINE MANN: [The] ordinary investor, the person on Main Street is affected by these gyrations. [The ordinary investor] feels a disconnect between the big profits that some Wall Street, the big financials or non-financials companies get by trading on this high frequency and the ups and the downs, and the average person on Main Street. “The disconnect there has been there for a while. It’s been worsened because of the lack of credit being extended to Main Street, as — as — even though the banks have gotten better, in better shape, they have not extended any credit to Main Street. And so that disconnect is worse. And they really feel like Wall Street is out to get them. And they’re probably right about that (“Uncertainty, Computerized Trading Fuel Wall Street’s Wild Ride.”)

2011-07-07 Melloy, John. 2011-07-07. “New Way High-Speed Traders Get Edge on Investors.” Fast Money. CNBC.com

2011 High-frequency trading firms using high-frequency techniques (software-based mechanisms: high frequency algorithmic trading) earned $12.9 billion in profit in the last two years (2009-2011), according to TABB Group, a specialist on the markets.

2011-07-18 The price of gold climbed to c.”$1604 an ounce, putting the precious metal on track for a 10th-straight rise and another record settlement. The U.S. dollar strengthened against the euro but declined versus the yen. Crude-oil prices fell below $95 a barrel (Wall Street Journal).”

2011-07-10 Anderlini, Jamil. “Trade data show China economy slowing.” “In a sign that industrial activity in the country was moderating, imports of key commodities like crude oil, aluminium and iron ore all fell in June from a month earlier. Crude oil imports fell to the lowest level in eight months and were down 11.5 per cent from the same month a year earlier and, while copper imports rebounded in June, they were significantly down on 12 months ago.”

2011-07-08 U.S. stocks slumped. Crude-oil futures fell 2.9% and traded just below $96 a barrel (Wall Street Journal).

2011-07-04Speculators unburned.” The Economist. Oil traders are free to bid for it. And it seems they did. The Department for Energy says its auction was heavily oversubscribed with bids from more than 90 parties. For reference, there are 148 refineries in America, but most are owned by a few major players such as Exxon, who would do the actual bidding. Traders who anticipate the oil price will rise, and have the capacity to store oil, can buy physical stocks now, and sell oil forward. As long as the price rises enough to cover storage costs, they will turn a profit. If a trader was able to purchase West Texas Intermediate—the oil held in America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR)—at the spot price on June 24th, they would already be sitting on a tidy profit.

2011-07-04 Capacity (Quotes per Second) CQS capacity was increased by 33% to 1 million quotes/second. On July 5th, 2011 there was a micro-burst of activity: 33% more active than any trading day in history (Nanex Research).

2011-06-27 “The London Stock Exchange (LSE.L) has launched a super-fast trading service in its latest bid to court more business from high-frequency trading (HFT) firms.” (Jeff, Luke. 2011-06-27. “LSE makes latest high-frequency move.” London:Reuters.

2011-06 “A recent report produced by a joint advisory committee of the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission urged the SEC to work with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the exchanges “to develop effective testing of sponsoring broker-dealer risk management controls and supervisory procedures.The concern from Washington prompted a group of 12 brokerages to collaborate on a set of risk guidelines intended for adoption across the industry. Working under the aegis of FIX Protocol Limited, the group recently published a checklist of 13 risk controls it hopes will deter the acceptance of orders that might disrupt the marketplace. FIX Protocol is a pan-industry group that promotes and supports electronic trading through the ubiquitous FIX communications standard. The guidelines devised by the members of the FPL Risk Management Working Group focus strictly on algorithmic and direct-market-access orders for cash equities. The members include the nine largest trading firms, which account for the vast majority of industry orders (“New Checks Unlikely to Satisfy SEC.” Traders Magazine).”

2011-06-29

2011-06-28 “Futures advanced a second day as Brent crude oil climbed. Gasoline and heating oil rose as crude and equities gained and the dollar weakened against the euro.”(Powell 2011-06-28).

2011-06-23 In its commitment to keep oil markets well-supplied the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) announced that the 28 IEA member countries for the third time in the IEA history, they would release 60 million barrels of oil (2 million barrels of oil per day from their emergency stocks over an initial period c. June-July 15) to offset the ongoing disruption of oil supplies from Libya. By May 30 132 mb of Libyan light, sweet crude oil was not available to the market and analysts expect this to continue through 2011. This supply disruption has been underway for some time and its effect has become more pronounced as it has continued. The normal seasonal increase in refiner demand expected for this summer will exacerbate the shortfall further. Greater tightness in the oil market threatens to undermine the fragile global economic recovery (International Energy Agency 2011-06-23).

2011-06-16 Fletcher, Sam. “Energy prices tumble; Brent-WTI spread at 3-month low.” PennEnergy- Energy News. West Texas Intermediate to “the weakest level” since March, said Olivier Jakob at Petromatrix, Zug, Switzerland. In Houston, analysts at Raymond James & Associates Inc. said the European debt crisis and continued worries of a weakening US economy …

2011-06-15 Britain’s top banks will have to protect their retail business from investment banking activities (casino banking) after “the government backed a plan to overhaul the industry and shield taxpayers from future losses (more).” See Financial Times also.

2011 Debates in the UK on how to make our financial institutions safer include ring-fencing utility operations from casino banking, new capital requirements and living wills. Megabanks (Barclays, Lloyds, RBS and Santander) were rescued by taxpayers as well as through worsening savings and loan rates. Read more: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/article-2004841/SUNDERLAND-ON-SATURDAY-Banks-need-customers-queue.html#ixzz1QbQ38DAGSee Sunderland “The scale of the taxpayer bailout of the banking system has led to lengthening dole queues and severe cuts to public spending (more).”

2011 Megabank Barclays was ordered by the Financial Services Authority to pay a fine of £7m and to repay up to £60m to mainly elderly customers who had been duped into gambling their savings on the stock market. Read more

2011-06-17 In the Alberta oil sands, oil prices tripled from their 2009 lows. Drilling activity was on the upswing. Unemployment was falling and oilsands investment was surging (Read more)

“When you see oil prices spiking by $2, $3 or $5 a day, that’s not a situation Alberta wants to be in because it’s not driven by (market) fundamentals, it’s being driven by speculators”.

2011-05-02 through 2011-05-07 The price of silver dropped 25% in just four trading days.

2011-04 Investors pushed the price of silver up 57% in 2011 before a massive correction started on May 2, 2011.

2011-03 In the wake of the U.S. real estate collapse, declining returns in the bond market, worries about a global slowdown and fears that after a nice run, equities have nowhere to go but down, big hedge funds and other sophisticated market pros have been loading up on cotton, corn, soybean oil and other soft commodities. Milner, Brian.

2011-03. “Soaring commodity prices at mercy of demand – from speculators.” Globe and Mail.

2011-03 A rally in commodity prices resurrected inflationary threats (Pesenti and Groen 2011-03).

2011-01-12 American International Group, which received a massive bailout in 2008, claimed it expected to complete a recapitalization that would allow it to fully pay back the government (more).

2011-02 Coffee prices: In New York, the benchmark May futures contract hit $2.784 a pound, their highest level since $3.40 in 1977, an all-time record. During the past 12 months alone, those prices rose by 145%. Last week the International Coffee Organisation said the price had hit a 14-year high. By July 2011 “Coffee futures are up 53% over the past year, although the front-month contract for July delivery fell 1.9%, or 4.8 cents, in Friday to close at $2.5255 a pound.”

2011-06-01 Investors should prepare for renewed swings in prices of commodities (oil, natural gas, orange juice) “swings expected after weather forecasters predicted a busy Atlantic hurricane season.” Blais 2011-06-01 .” Financial Times. London.

2010-12 From 1977-2010 the compound annual sharehold value continues to decrease compared to pre-shareholder-value era (1933-1977) (Martin 2011 cited in Huffington Post).” Companies tend to boost earnings per share without creating value but gross-margin return on inventory investment drives longer term value creation. CEOs need to be held accountable for long-term performance by linking compensation to such metrics as multiyear stock performance. see Lek.

2010-09 Investment banker multimillionaire 59-year-old American Bob Diamond was appointed as head of Barclays megabank raising concerns that the Treasury should separate traditional retail banking from casino banking. Casino banking can lead to potential massive profits or loss depending on the level of risk of investments. Vince Cable: “Diamond, with his £20m bonuses, is the unacceptable face of this bonus-driven banking,” Oakeshott said. “This highlights the need to break-up and de-risk the British banking system.” Barclays appointment highlights ‘casino’ banking fears Business secretary says Barclays’ appointment of Bob Diamond illustrates dangers of having retail banks with massively profitable investment arms attached to them.

2010—08-16 The CFTC sanctioned ConAgra Trade Group, Inc. (CTG) $12 Million for causing a non-bona fide price to be reported in the NYMEX Crude Oil futures contract. On January 2, 2008, CTG was the first to purchase NYMEX crude oil futures contracts at the then-historic price of $100. As a result of CTG’s effort to be the first to trade at the $100 level, CTG caused a non-bona fide price to be reported, according to the CFTC order. (CFTC Press Release 5873-10, August 16, 2010) (more).

2010-07-21 President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory bill. “Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act amends the Commodity Exchange Act to establish a comprehensive new regulatory framework for swaps and security-based swaps. The legislation is enacted to reduce risk, increase transparency, and promote market integrity within the financial system by, among other things: 1) providing for the registration and comprehensive regulation of swap dealers and major swap participants; 2) imposing clearing and trade execution requirements on standardized derivative products; 3) creating robust recordkeeping and real-time reporting regimes; and 4) enhancing the Commission’s rulemaking and enforcement authorities with respect to, among others, all registered entities and intermediaries subject to the Commission’s oversight. On the same day, the CFTC releases a list of 30 areas of rulemaking to implement the Dodd-Frank Act. (CFTC Press Releases 5855-10 and 5856-10, July 21, 2010) (more). The Dodd-Frank Act included the Volcker Rule which requires that “regulators implement regulations for banks, their affiliates and holding companies, to prohibit proprietary trading, investment in and sponsorship of hedge funds and private equity funds, and to limit relationships with hedge funds and private equity funds. Non-bank financial institutions supervised by the Fed also have restrictions on proprietary trading and hedge fund and private equity investments. The Council will study and make recommendations on implementation to aid regulators (more).”

2010-05-24 A YouTube video of High Frequency Trading explained by William Arnuk, the 13-year-old son of Sal Arnuk, who works for the HFT research firm, Themis Trading.

2010-05 With the flow from BP’s Deepwater Horizon huge oil spill unstaunched both stock and oil markets crashed with the brunt of the losses in the energy sector. Oil prices fell. (Dicker 2011:305).

2010—05-06 Major stock indexes and stock index futures experience a “flash crash”, a brief but severe drop in prices, falling more than 5% in a matter of minutes, only to recover a short time later. Dow Jones industrials fell roughly 900 points, only to quickly recover. Some individual securities experience more volatility than the stock indexes. (Statement by SEC and CFTC, May 6, 2010). (more) The joint CFTC/SEC report on the “flash crash” of May 6, 2010, examined the role of high-frequency trading in this extreme episode (U. S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 2010). Whether or not a single large order caused the “flash crash” in May 2010, as the Securities and Exchange Commission has alleged that a single large order may have caused the crash and has placed pressure on brokers to make sure they don’t toss any oversize or out-of-control orders into the market (Traders Magazine). “The regulators’ official October report on the 15-minute plummet in the Dow Jones Industrial Average on May 6, 2010, blamed a liquidity crisis that followed a bad trade in S&P 500 futures. Officials have since taken action to prevent a similar catastrophe by instituting circuit breakers that halt individual stocks in the S&P 500 after a 10 percent move (Melloy 2011-07-07).”

2010—04-06 It took $20 trillion of public funds over a period of two-and-a-half years to lift the total world market capitalization of listed companies by $16.4 trillion. This means some $3.6 trillion, or 17.5%, had been burned up by transmission friction. Government intervention failed to produce a dollar-for-dollar break-even impact on battered markets, let alone generate any multiplier effect, which in normal times could be expected to be between nine and 11 times. In the meantime, with the exception of China’s, the real global economy continues to slide downward, with rising unemployment and underemployment. The massive government injection of new money managed to stabilize world equity markets by January 2010, but only at 73.5% of its peak value in October 2007. It still left the credit markets around the world dangerously anemic and the real economy operating on intensive care and life support measures from government. This is because the bailout and stimulus money failed to land on the demand side of the economy, which has been plagued by overcapacity fueled by inadequate workers’ income, masked by excessive debt, and by a drastic reversal of the wealtheffect on consumer demand from the bursting of the debt bubble. The bursting of the debt bubble destroyed the wealth it buoyed, but it left the debt that fueled the bubble standing as liability in the economy. Much of the new government money came from adding to the national debt, which taxpayers will have to pay back in future years. This money went to bail out distressed banks and financialinstitutions, which used it to profit from global “carry trade” speculation, as hot money that exploited interest rate arbitrage trades between economies. The toxic debts have remained in the global economy at face value, having only been transformed from private debts to public debts to prevent total collapse of the private sector. The debt bubble has been turned into a dense debt black hole of intense financial gravity the traps all light from appearing at the end of the recovery tunnel.(Lui, Henry C.K. 2010—04-06. “Bailouts, Stimulus Packages and Jobless Recovery: The Crisis of Wealth Destruction. Part I).”

2010-04-20 BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig caught fire resulted in oil spill.

2010-03 Michael Lewis published his book entitled The Big Short in which he returned “to his financial roots to excavate the crisis of 2007–2008, employing his trademark technique of casting a microcosmic lens on the personal histories of several Wall Street outsiders who were betting against the grain—to shed light on the macrocosmic tale of greed and fear.” “Lewis is a capable guide into the world of CDOs, subprime mortgages, head-in-the-sand investments, inflated egos–and the big short.” Lewis provides “a savvy assessment of the wisdom of the financial bailout and where-are-they-now updates on the book’s various heroes and villains.” (more)

2010—01-14 The “CFTC votes at an open meeting to publish in the Federal Register a proposal to set position limits for futures and option contracts in the major energy markets. (CFTC Press Release 5771-10, January 7, 2010) (more).”

2010-01 Organizations “representing the electric and natural gas industries and serving nearly all energy customers in the United States, support the goals of the Administration and Congress to improve transparency and reduce systemic risk in over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives markets. As the Senate considers financial reform legislation, [they argued] that it preserve the ability of companies to access critical OTC energy derivatives products and markets. engaged in off-market trading for oil which is unregulated. Estimates for the OTC derivative market for all assets range upward of $600 trillion. See (Edison Electric Institute (EEI). 2010-01. “OTC Derivatives Reform: Energy Sector Impacts.”).

2009-12-17 “Automated market makers (AMM) co-locate their servers in the NASDAQ or the NYSE building, right next to the exchanges’ servers. AMMs already have faster servers than most institutional and retail investors. But because they are co-located, their servers
can react even faster.” “According to Traders Magazine the number of firms that co-locate at NASDAQ has doubled over the last year (Arnuk, Sal L.; Saluzzi, Joseph. 2009-12-17. “Toxic Equity Trading Order Flow on Wall Street: The Real Force Behind the Explosion in Volume and Volatility.” A Themis Trading LLC White Paper.)

2009-10-08High Frequency Trading Technology: a TABB Anthology.” TABB reported that software capable of electronic routing and execution based on algorithms account for more than 25% of all shares traded by the buy side today. A relatively few high frequency proprietary trading firms experienced a meteoric rise and now wield far greater influence on the markets today than most people recognize.

2009-10-30 Market analysts argued that oil markets were no longer tied to supply and demand fundamentals. They were concerned with the extremely high correlation between crude oil prices and US currency (“Flood 2009-10-30).

2009-08-06 Computer-based algorithmic programs carry out transactions in 400 microseconds which is 1000 times faster than the human eye. Few ordinary investors are aware of or have access to this frenetic, technology-driven world of high-frequency trading which accounted for 50% of daily volume in US stocks, up from estimates of 30 per cent in 2005 (Mackenzie, Michael; Grant, Jeremy. 2009-08-06. “The dash to flash.” Financial Times.)

2009-07-20. Goldman Sachs and UBS filed charges against former employees they allege stole proprietary computer code key to their high-speed trading programs, now the most tactical and strategic weapons on Wall Street (Heires, Katherine. 2009-07-20Code Green: Goldman Sachs & UBS Cases Heighten Need to Keep Valuable Digital Assets From Walking Out The Door. Millions in Trading Profits May Depend On It Securities Industry News).”

2009-03 UBS filed papers “charging three ex-employees with “misappropriation of trade secrets,” specifically the misappropriation of 25,000 lines of source code for the firm’s high-speed, algorithmic trading programs (Heires, Katherine. 2009-07-20Code Green: Goldman Sachs & UBS Cases Heighten Need to Keep Valuable Digital Assets From Walking Out The Door. Millions in Trading Profits May Depend On It Securities Industry News).”

2009-07-03. Goldman Sachs brought charges “against a former vice president for equity strategy and computer programmer on July 3 for allegedly copying 32 megabytes of the bank’s trading codes and uploading them to an encrypted server before sending them to a home computer and other
devices (Heires, Katherine. 2009-07-20Code Green: Goldman Sachs & UBS Cases Heighten Need to Keep Valuable Digital Assets From Walking Out The Door. Millions in Trading Profits May Depend On It Securities Industry News).”

2009-06 Signs of an approaching global economic recovery re-emerged (Pesenti and Groen 2011-03).

2009-06-28 Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose. “China’s banks are an accident waiting to happen to every one of us.
Fitch Ratings warned that China’s banks have lent up to $1,000bn (£600bn) since December 2008. “Money is leaking instead into Shanghai’s stock casino, or being used to keep bankrupt builders on life support.” This does not help the world economy.

2009-06-26 “The Iraq War and other events which helped set off an increase in the price of oil had a further depressing effect on countries which import energy, including the U.S. The magnitude of the increase in energy prices was exacerbated by financial speculation. This change in the price of energy, accompanied by governments’ attempts to develop alternative bio energy sources contributed to higher food prices. The sharp increase in energy prices thus directly and indirectly brought further reductions in purchasing power within many countries. The transfer of income from those who suffered from these price increases to those who benefited weakened global aggregate demand and contributed to the global imbalances which played an important role in the crisis (Stiglitz Commission 2009).”

2009-05 During “an annual conference of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, top executives from Direct Edge and the NYSE angrily debated the merits of flash orders. Flash orders are a type of high frequency trading. Institutional paying participants get a flash peek at prices before they are released to the broader, public market (more).”

2009-03-24 The Federal Reserve, working closely with the Treasury, made the decision to lend to AIG on September 16, 2008. It was an extraordinary time. Global financial markets were experiencing unprecedented strains and a worldwide loss of confidence. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had been placed into conservatorship only two weeks earlier, and Lehman Brothers had filed for bankruptcy the day before. We were very concerned about a number of other major firms that were under intense stress. AIG’s financial condition had been deteriorating for some time, caused by actual and expected losses on subprime mortgage-backed securities and on credit default swaps that AIG’s Financial Products unit, AIG-FP, had written on mortgage-related securities. As confidence in the firm declined, and with efforts to find a private-sector solution unsuccessful, AIG faced severe liquidity pressures that threatened to force it imminently into bankruptcy (more). Claims of bondholders and counterparties were paid at 100 cents on the dollar by taxpayers, without giving taxpayers the rights to the future profits of these institutions. Benefits went to the banks while the taxpayers suffered the costs (more).

2009-02-03 The “U.S. government announced a restructuring of a bailout plan for the troubled insurer American International Group Inc. Monday, extending $30 billion in additional aid to the company. News of the additional funds came as AIG, once the world’s largest insurer, said it lost $61.7 billion in the fourth quarter, the biggest quarterly loss in U.S. corporate history, amid continued financial market turmoil.”

2008-10-18 The President of the United Nations General Assembly, “Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, announced his intention to establish a taskforce of experts to review the workings of the global financial system, including major bodies such as the World Bank and the IMF, and to suggest steps to be taken by Member States to secure a more sustainable and just global economic order (http://www.un.org).” Noted economist and Kerala State Planning Board Vice-Chairman Prabhat Patnaik was included in a four-member high-power task force of the United Nations (U.N.) to recommend reforms of the global financial system. The task force Commission of Experts on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System (2009), informally known as the Stiglitz Commission, was headed by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.

2008 Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, the last two investment banks left standing, announced they would become traditional bank holding companies, marking the end of an era for Wall Street (more).

2008-09-16 American International Group, Inc. (AIG) (NYSE: AIG), an American insurance corporation, suffered a liquidity crisis following the downgrade of its credit rating. “The Federal Reserve, working closely with the Treasury, made the decision to lend to AIG on September 16, 2008. It was an extraordinary time. Global financial markets were experiencing unprecedented strains and a worldwide loss of confidence. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had been placed into conservatorship only two weeks earlier, and Lehman Brothers had filed for bankruptcy the day before. We were very concerned about a number of other major firms that were under intense stress. AIG’s financial condition had been deteriorating for some time, caused by actual and expected losses on subprime mortgage-backed securities and on credit default swaps that AIG’s Financial Products unit, AIG-FP, had written on mortgage-related securities. As confidence in the firm declined, and with efforts to find a private-sector solution unsuccessful, AIG faced severe liquidity pressures that threatened to force it imminently into bankruptcy (more).”

2008-07 2008 Lehman Brothers failed. Bubble popped and money fled from oil investment. Trading value of oil dropped by 80% (Dicker 2011).

2008 Oil reached $147 a barrel (Dicker 2011).

2008-06 Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke “singled out the role of commodity prices among the main drivers of price dynamics, underscoring the importance for policy of both forecasting commodity price changes and understanding the factors that drive those changes (Pesenti and Groen 2011-03 citing Bernanke).”

2008-04 The macroeconomic outlook changed rapidly and dramatically as the global economy experienced the near-collapse of trade volumes and the associated plunge in commodity prices was the harbinger of pervasive disinflation risks (Pesenti and Groen 2011-03).

2008 In the ten years after Born’ s 1998 proposal, the market in derivatives exploded from $27 trillion to one worth more than $ 600 trillion. By comparison, the entire U.S. economy was worth $ 14 trillion. Hirsch, Michael. 2010. Capital Offense: How Washington’s Wise Men Turned America’s Future Over to Wall Street. New Jersey: John Wiley.

2008-06 “NYSE Floor Brokers Get New Tools.” The New York Stock Exchange introduced two new technologies to give brokers on the NYSE trading floor the ability to trade algorithmically and to strengthen the brokers’ ability to locate large sources of liquidity. more

2008-06-17 Ross Levin, a Wall Street NYC hedge fund analyst with Arbiter Partners, who calls himself a “passive speculator in securities” met Lionel Lepine, a member of the Athabaskan Chipewyan First Nation whose family and friends living on the contaminated watershed upriver from the oil sands’ effluence are suffering from unprecedented numbers of cancerous tumours. Levin attended Calgary’s prominent energy investment forum and “found himself in the eye of a growing environmental storm battering Alberta’s oilsands — one of several clashes centred on the energy sector.”
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2008-04-02 – After two decades spent expanding in Britain, the United States and other developed economies, the world’s third biggest bank is shifting its ….. or if the government forces banks to separate their retail arms from investment banking, dubbed “casino banking” by some politicians. .

2008 PM Harper apologized for past treatment of Canada’s First Nations.

2008 Pollution of the Athabaskan River north of the oil sands

2008 Impatient development of nonrenewable resources in the oil sands.

2008-03-24 Reich, Robert B. 2008-03-24. Is the Game About to Stop? American consumers’ buying power was less than the goods and services the U.S. economy is capable of producing. Reich predicted fewer jobs, even less consumption which would lead to even fewer jobs and possible a recession which could become a full-fledged depression. Reich argued that fiscal and monetary policies could perhaps make up for consumers’ lack of buying power. American consumers were already deep in debt, their homes were losing value, their paychecks were shrinking.

2008 Meteoric rise of oil commodities market directly caused by irresponsible speculators playing with volatile, unpredictable hedge funds that play havoc with the market making a fortune for some while destroying economic, social and ecological environments all around them.

2008 Calgary has a high percentage of young millionaires with lots of disposable income. There are also c.4000 homeless people in Calgary, the oil capital of Canada. c. 40% of the homeless are working poor who are unable to afford housing.

2007-10-31 Meredith Whitney, an obscure analyst of financial firms for Oppenheimer Securities “predicted that Citigroup had so mismanaged its affairs that it would need to slash its dividend or go bust. It’s never entirely clear on any given day what causes what in the stock market, but it was pretty obvious that on October 31, Meredith Whitney caused the market in financial stocks to crash. By the end of the trading day, a woman whom basically no one had ever heard of had shaved $369 billion off the value of financial firms in the market. Four days later, Citigroup’s C.E.O., Chuck Prince, resigned. In January, Citigroup slashed its dividend (Lewis, Michael. 2008. The End).”

2007-08 Arnuk and Saluzzi argued in their white paper entitled Toxic Equity Trading Order Flow on Wall Street: The Real Force Behind the Explosion in Volume and Volatility” (2009-12-17) that electronic trading, the new for-profit exchanges and ECNs, the NYSE Hybrid and the SEC’s Regulation NMS all came together in unexpected ways in the late summer of 2007. This perfect storm caused the Volatility Index, [stock market volatility index (VIX) “fear gauge” measures the expectation of price movement over the next 30 days. The higher the reading, the more likely stocks are to move in one direction or another] to climb, trading volumes to increase explosively, stock prices and indexes to experience rapid change. ”
This has resulted in the proliferation of a new generation of very profitable, high-speed, computerized trading firms and methods that are causing retail and institutional investors to chase artificial prices (Arnuk and Saluzzi 2009-12-17).”

2006-03-07 The merger of NYSE and Archipelago was completed forming the NYSE Group, Inc., a holding company that operates two securities exchanges: the NYSE and NYSE Arca, Inc. They are a leading provider of securities listing, trading and market data products and services (more).

2007-06-18 Wolf, Martin. 2007-06-18. “Unfettered finance is fast reshaping the global economy.” “In Rome everything is for sale.”

2007-01 “Both the switch to trading in penny increments in January 2007 and stepped-up activity by high-frequency traders have cut into dealer profits. That has made the dealers less willing to shoulder the entire burden of supporting the exchanges. Almost 90 percent of industry volume is now being traded in options subject to the “penny pilot.” With the minimum trading increment down from 5 cents to 1 cent in the most active options, competition has cut dealer spreads dramatically. “Options Market Makers Catch a Break on Fees as Customers Pick Up.” Traders Magazine

2006 “[F]lash orders – a key focus of the New York Times article, which prompted an almost instant response from politicians and regulators. Flash orders first appeared in US equity markets in 2006, with the launch of the Enhanced Liquidity Provider (ELP) programme by Direct Edge. The idea was that if an order had been sent into Direct Edge and not found a match, it would be shown to other market participants before being routed out to alternative markets, as would normally happen. In theory, more of the orders placed with Direct Edge would be filled, and more customers would have a shot at trading at the price they want (Wood, Duncan. 2009-09-04) “Murky business.” Risk magazine.” tags: Algorithmic Trading Topics: Equities, Trading

2006-2008 Mainly cautious elderly customers were ill-advised by Barclays between 2006 and 2008 to put money into high-risk investments Aviva Global Balanced Income or the Aviva Global Cautious Income funds. No one at Barclays lost jobs even though this scandal cost Barclays shareholders close to £80 million and inflicted untold damage on Barclays’ reputation. Read more

2005-12-15 NYSE Hybrid Market was launched, creating a unique blend of floor-based auction and electronic trading. NYSE Hybrid Market claimed to provide customers with more choices and greater flexibility in accessing the superior liquidity and best prices of the NYSE marketplace. In 2005, the combined dollar value of transaction volumes of the NYSE and NYSE Arca represented approximately $17.8 trillion dollars, which was greater than the value of trading of Nasdaq ($10.1 trillion), the London Stock Exchange ($5.7 trillion), the Tokyo Stock Exchange ($4.4 trillion), Euronext ($2.9 trillion) and the Deutsche Börse ($1.9 trillion) (more)

2005-06-29 70 FR 37496, 37627 Rule 603 — Distribution, Consolidation, and Display of Information with Respect to Quotations for and Transactions in NMS Stocks. “In Regulation Fair Disclosure, the SEC took the stand that firms cannot release fundamental information to a subset of investors before others. On the other hand, Rule 603(a) established a different approach to market data, whereby market centers could sell data directly to subscribers, in effect creating a tiered system of investors with respect to access to information about market events. Rule 603(a) prohibits an SRO or a broker-dealer from supplying the data via direct feeds faster than it supplies it to the Securities Industry Automation Corporation (SIAC) that processes the data and distributes the “tape.” However, the operation of processing and retransmitting data via SIAC appears to add 5 to 10 millisecond and hence subscribers to direct exchange data feeds “see” the information before others who observe the tape (more).”

2005-07-31 CEO, John Thain discussed NYSE plans to merge its floor-based trading system with a relatively new electronic market known as Archipelago creating a hybrid system that allows electronic, instantaneous and anonymous trades. Thain’s former employer, Goldman Sachs, was on both sides of the deal representing the NYSE and Archipelago. Goldman was the biggest NYSE seat holder, owned a specialist firm and 15% of Archipelago “NYSE chief: Hybrid trading system’s the way to go.”

2005Many banks operated proprietary trading units that were organized much like hedge funds. Risk exposures of the hedge-fund industry began to have a material impact on the banking sector, resulting in new sources of systemic risks (more).

2005 High-frequency trading accounted for 30% of daily volume in US stocks (Mackenzie, Michael; Grant, Jeremy. 2009-08-06. “The dash to flash.” Financial Times.)

2005 Direct Edge, a small, electronic trading company opened for business using high-frequency trading (lightning-fast computers equipped with sophisticated and powerful algorithms that are capable of executing trading strategies) and flash orders (literally flashing their orders to their own investors for about a tenth of a second before releasing it to the public market).

2005-07 S&P upgraded China’s sovereign rating by one notch to A-minus, citing China’s aggressive overhaul of its financial sector and improved profitability. China is rated ‘A2’ by Moody’s Investors Service and ‘A’ by Fitch Ratings. Liu, Henry C. K. World Trade Needs a Global Cartel for Labor (OLEC).

2005 According to one study, if the share of world trade and world gross domestic product for non-industrial countries had remained at its 2000 levels, then by 2005, real oil prices would have been 40 percent lower, and real metals prices 10 percent lower, than they actually were (Pain, Koske, and Sollie, 2006).  Since 2005, continued strong growth in the demands for resources of emerging market economies have likely put further considerable upward pressure on commodity prices  (Bernanke 2008-06-09). ”

2004 The “demand for oil by members of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) has been essentially flat since 2004 (Bernanke 2008-06-09). ”

2004-08-02 Revolutionary electronic trading practices transformed the stock market. The NYSE filed to expand using the NYSE Direct+® system. NYSE Direct+® eliminated limits on the size, timing, and types of orders that can be submitted via Direct+, significantly increasing the level of purely electronic trading at the NYSE.

2004 The “demand for oil by members of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) has been essentially flat since 2004 (Bernanke 2008-06-09). ”

2003  The price of oil had remained relatively stable from 1990 to 2003 when the price of oil became volatile. The price increased sixfold in five years then lost 80% of its value in 6 months (Dicker 2011:viii).

2001 There was “an overnight change in the trading patterns of the Nasdaq 100 Index which highlighted the competitive impacts of the SEC reforms and foreshadowed the dominance of the high frequency traders and all-electronic marketplaces. At the time, the ETF for the Nasdaq 100 Index (then known as the QQQ) was the most actively traded security and was primarily traded on the American Stock Exchange which utilized a manual floor-based specialist system. Using ATSs, the high frequency traders began using their efficient automated trading systems to narrow the quoted spreads in the QQQ from several pennies down to tenths of a penny, saving investors millions in the process (Traders) .”

Within months, investors voted with their feet and made the electronic markets that featured the liquidity and narrower spreads of the high frequency traders the dominant venues for the QQQ. Investors never looked back. Ultimately, the NYSE and the Nasdaq Stock Market were compelled to purchase these electronic markets that catered to high frequency traders (Archipelago was purchased by the NYSE and INET by the Nasdaq Stock Market). The traditional, uncompetitive Wall Street market maker model was replaced and the exchanges were transformed to open, fair and transparent electronic marketplaces.

2000 More than 90 foreign futures exchanges emerged with the ever-increasing demand for new financial instruments “to hedge against fluctuating interest rates, changing foreign exchange rates and institutional securities portfolios (Bernstein 2000:46).

2000 The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) trades futures in livestock futures, currency futures, interest rate futures, stock index futures (Bernstein 2000:70).

1999 The most actively traded future contracts were interest rates, futures, stock index futures, energy futures, currency futures and agricultural futures (Bernstein 2000:72).

1998 Long Term Capital Management collapsed.

1998Security and Exchange Commission ruling allowed electronic communication networks (ECN’s for short) to trade equities in competition with the traditional exchanges. New technologies made the automation possible resulting in the development of high frequency trading: Lightening-quick computers, aided by powerful algorithms, buy and sell stocks based on price or other markers (more).

1998 Brooksley Born, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission declared that the unregulated regulation of private derivative contracts could “pose grave dangers to our economy.” He argued forcefully for regulation of private derivative contracts but lost to Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin who were against policing the deals.

1990 The price of crude oil rose dramatically when Hussein invaded Kuwait.

1986 The total volume of futures contracts trading was 184 million and the T bonds were among the most actively traded future contracts (Bernstein 2000:71).

1989 Michael Lewis’ novel entitled Liar’s Poker was published. He intended to write a period piece about the 1980s in America. He had expected readers to be outraged that in 1986, the C.E.O. of Salomon Brothers, John Gutfreund, was paid $3.1 million. He expected readers to be horrified that one of the traders, Howie Rubin, had moved to Merrill Lynch, where he lost $250 million. He expected readers to be shocked to learn that a Wall Street C.E.O. had only the vaguest idea of the risks his traders were running.” Writing in 2008 he expressed dismay that Wall Street continued for another 20 years and the public were more in awe than angry. Read more: http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/national-news/portfolio/2008/11/11/The-End-of-Wall-Streets-Boom#ixzz1Qd1u5MLZ

1987 The World Commission on Environment and Sustainable Development (Brundtland Commission) defined sustainable development as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

1987-10-19 “The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled more than 20%, and the swoon extended into the following day, before a rebound. Floor traders, working by telephone, dominated the action and computer-generated trading was still in its infancy. Dark pools and high-frequency trading were the stuff of science fiction. Trading reached 600 million shares, according to the SEC (source).”

1982 Futures trading in the US was self-regulating and anyone in the business had to become a member of the National Futures Association (NFA).

1970s The Bretton Woods system broke down in the early 1970s. This was followed by a period of financial market liberalization and deregulation, by a surge of private capital flows and by the increasingly global reach of financial institutions.

1974 The US Congress passed the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Act and established Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to protect participants in the futures market from fraud, deceit and abusive practices such as unfair trading practices (price manipulation, prearranged trading, trading ahead of a customer), credit and financial risks, and sales practice abuses (Bernstein 2000:32). Individual nation states have similar regulating bodies.

1973/4 The International Energy Agency (IEA) was founded as an autonomous organisation to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 28 member countries and beyond. The IEA’s initial role was to help countries co-ordinate a collective response to major disruptions in oil supply through the release of emergency oil stocks to the markets. The Executive Director in 2011 is Nobuo Tanaka “Total oil stocks in IEA member countries amount to over 4.1 billion barrels, and nearly 1.6 billion barrels of this are public stocks held exclusively for emergency purposes. IEA net oil-importing countries have a legal obligation to hold emergency oil reserves equivalent to at least 90 days of net oil imports. These countries are holding stock levels well above this minimum amount, currently at 146 days of net imports (http://www.iea.org)”

1972 The total volume of futures contracts trading was 18 million and the top ten most actively traded future contracts were agricultural futures (Bernstein 2000:71).

1970s There was increasing volatility in international currency exchange rates as the Bretton Woods agreement began to break down. Business people transferred risk of volatility in international markets by hedging with speculators willing to take the risk. Futures markets began to expand into foreign currencies as fluctuated wildly competing against each other and the US dollar.

1960s Futures trading, also known as commodities trading, the final frontier of capitalism, became a popular speculative and investment vehicle in the US in the 1960s (Bernstein 2000:1).

1960s Futures trading, also known as commodities trading, the final frontier of capitalism, became a popular speculative and investment vehicle in the US in the 1960s (Bernstein 2000:1). These financial instruments offer unlimited profit potential with relatively little capital. Speculators are drawn to the possibility of quick money or what I like to call impatient money. The great wealth accumulated from speculative financial instruments has spawned careers in brokerage, market analysis, computerized trading, computer software and hardware, accounting, law, advertising which themselves subdivide into more recent opportunities such as those related to risk-management.

1929-30 “As mass production has to be accompanied by mass consumption, mass consumption, in turn, implies a distribution of wealth — not of existing wealth, but of wealth as it is currently produced — to provide men with buying power equal to the amount of goods and services offered by the nation’s economic machinery. Instead of achieving that kind of distribution, a giant suction pump had by 1929-30 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. This served them as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied to themselves the kind of effective demand for their products that would justify a reinvestment of their capital accumulations in new plants. In consequence, as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped.” Eccles, Marriner S. 1951. Beckoning frontiers: Public and personal recollections Ed. Hyman, Sidney. Alfred A. Knopf.

1919 – 1945 The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) traded futures in eggs, butter, apples, poultry and frozen eggs (Bernstein 2000:70).

1865 The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) organized trading of futures contracts.

1848 The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was formed as a price risk occurred in the grain markets of Chicago. It was a cash market for grain. Forward or “to-arrive” contracts began trading at the CBOT almost immediately.

1710 The first modern organized futures exchange began with the Dojima Rice Exchange in Osaka, Japan.The Japanese feudal landowners began to use certificates of receipt against future rice crops. As these futures certificates became financial instruments in the general economy the value of the certificates would rise and fall as the price of rice fluctuated. The Dojima Rice Exchange emerged as the world’s first futures market where speculators traded contracts for the future delivery of rice or “certificates of receipt.” The Japanese government outlawed the practice when futures contracts (where delivery never took place) began to have no relationship to the underlying cash value of the commodity leading to wild and unpredictable fluctuations (Bernstein 2000:30).

Actors and Actants

Electronic Communication Network (ECN) “An electronic system that attempts to eliminate the role of a third party in the execution of orders entered by an exchange market maker or an over-the-counter market maker, and permits such orders to be entirely or partly executed.”

High-frequency trading firms (they self-identify as Automated Trading Professionals) use high-frequency techniques (software-based mechanisms: high frequency algorithmic trading) with real-time, co-located, high-frequency (sub-millisecond) trading platform—one (data collected then orders: created-routed-executed). Wall Street banks and hedge funds also use high-frequency techniques but new (ie emerged formed in c. 1999-2001) small (most have as few as 12 to 100 employees), independent firms account for most high-frequency trading, handling 60 % of the 7 B shares that change hands daily on US stock markets on Wall Street and hedge funds. These high-frequency trading firms have formed a trade group called Principal Traders Group in an effort to hold off regulators who want to curb their activities. The members of the FIA Principal Traders Group is the industry’s response to the Joint CFTC-SEC Advisory Committee examination of the market structure and policy issues arising from the extraordinary market turmoil that occurred on May 6, 2010. See (Bowley, Graham. 2011-07-18. “ Split-second traders aim to polish image.New York Times.) High-frequency trading firms using high-frequency techniques (software-based mechanisms: high frequency algorithmic trading) earned $12.9 billion in profit in the last two years (2009-2011), according to TABB Group, a specialist on the markets. TABB Group content focused on the business and technology issues facing US equity and options trading.

RGM Advisors, is a high-frequency trading firm in Austin, Texas. RGM CEO Richard Gorelick, is leading his company to seek a higher public profile.

Low latency Algorithmic Trading is used to process market updates and turn around orders within milliseconds. Low latency trading refers to the network connections used by financial institutions to connect to stock exchanges and Electronic communication networks (ECNs) to execute financial transactions. With the spread of computerized trading, electronic trading now makes up 60% to 70% of the daily volume on the NYSE and algorithmic trading close to 35%. Trading using computers has developed to the point where millisecond improvements in network speeds offer a competitive advantage for financial institutions. (Low latency is also being discussed in the advertising community, as a form of advertising that responds rapidly to consumer inputs, often from tweets.)

International Energy Agency (IEA) The International Energy Agency (IEA) is an autonomous organisation which works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 28 member countries and beyond. Founded in response to the 1973/4 oil crisis, the IEA’s initial role was to help countries co-ordinate a collective response to major disruptions in oil supply through the release of emergency oil stocks to the markets. It is at the heart of global dialogue on energy, providing authoritative and unbiased research, statistics, analysis and recommendations. The IEA is committed to keeping the oil supplies well-stocked. The Executive Director in 2011 is Nobuo Tanaka “Total oil stocks in IEA member countries amount to over 4.1 billion barrels, and nearly 1.6 billion barrels of this are public stocks held exclusively for emergency purposes. IEA net oil-importing countries have a legal obligation to hold emergency oil reserves equivalent to at least 90 days of net oil imports. These countries are holding stock levels well above this minimum amount, currently at 146 days of net imports (http://www.iea.org)”

Henry C.K. Liu “is an independent commentator on culture, economics and politics. Born in Hong Kong and educated at Harvard University in architecture and urban design, Liu developed an interest in economics and international relations while pursuing interdisciplinary work on urban and regional development as a professor at UCLA, Harvard and Columbia universities. He was a planning/ development advisor to the late Winthrop Rockefeller, governor of Arkansas, and has received a national urban design award. Liu is currently the chairperson of a New York-based private investment group, a contributor to Asia Times Online and a visiting professor of global development at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He is an occasional advisor on economic policy to several governments of emerging economies. Liu coined the term “dollar hegemony” to explain that the dollar, a fiat currency since 1971 and the major reserve currency internationally, distorts global trade and finance. Liu is a critic of central banking. He also calls for the use of sovereign credit in lieu of foreign capital for financing domestic development in developing countries. Liu has also been vocal in his critique of Chinese economic policy, which he argues includes imbalances that result in severe income disparity and environmental neglect. In a series of articles in Asia Times Online, Liu proposed the establishment of the Organization of Labor-Intensive Exporting Countries (OLEC), an international cartel, to restore the balance of market power between capital and labor in the globalized economy. He blogs at henryckliu.com. Huffington Post.”

Soft commodities:

OTC Over-the-counter derivatives markets engage in off-market trading for oil which is unregulated. Estimates for the OTC derivative market for all assets range upward of $600 trillion. See (Edison Electric Institute (EEI). 2010-01. “OTC Derivatives Reform: Energy Sector Impacts. p. 1.”). “Use of Financial Derivatives: A typical, large independent oil & natural gas exploration and production company regularly deals with volatility in oil & natural gas exploration. Such companies regularly make extensive use of financial derivatives with the discrete purpose of ensuring a stable cash flow from which they can consistently fund their capital program to find and bring much needed energy resources to market. Although they may make use of exchange-traded instruments, many of their financial transactions are concluded overthe-counter (OTC) under bilateral credit agreements. These frequently use the OTC markets for efficiency and economic reasons and allows the companies to: 1) customize the instrument specifically to operations;
2) reduce the need for cash by permitting more flexibility in the types of collateral leading to a more efficient use of capital and greater liquidity; 3) provide credit exposure diversification; and 4) have the ability to modify credit arrangements depending on a variety of factors during the term of a trade (more).”

Universal Banking Model – Investment and retail banking in one organisation. There is widespread concern that casino banking endangers security of traditional retail banking.

Webliography and Bibliography

Bernstein, Jake. 2000. How the Futures Markets Work. New York Institute of Finance.

Although it is quite old for the fast-paced risk management industry, there are certain basics that ring true. He briefly traced the history futures contracts leading to the volatile environment where agricultural futures were replaced by the less predictable currency markets. Of course, his book was written long before the meteoric rise of private equity funds. My concern remains with the absent ethical component on trading floors. Ethical responsibilities are as elastic as the regulations that govern the centuries old practice of hedging. In the period of late capitalism and the emergence of risk society, the cost of destructive unintended byproducts have created havoc in ways that far exceed the commodities/service value. The road to profits and impatient money, is paved with casualties. Berstein’s facts of market life are telling. He encourages simple methods and systems which require few decisions and little mental conflict. Too much thought is not conducive to successful trading. Too much analysis costs lost opportunities. Keep systems simple. Control your emotions. Practice caring less so that you remain more objective. Don’t ask why. Knowing why may hinder you more than it will help you. Patterns are the best indicators available (What feeds into a “pattern” however is not a science). Timing is what makes money in the futures market (Bernstein 2000:282-3). In other words, futures’ gurus encourage young hedge fund analysts to not think too much about factors such as displacement of peoples, the degradation of living conditions and the way in which they unwittingly contribute to making vulnerable ecologies and peoples even more vulnerable. Their gurus tell them to not think about the impact of their actions. They are told to not ask why the prices of essential commodities like fuel and food that they are playing with, are pushing certain groups into unimaginable levels of social exclusion. In the end groups at-risk to health degradation are always those least able to protect themselves. How convenient that the gurus do not factor in these social issues. They are entirely absent from finance reports. But then a lot of information is purposely not included in financial and business reports. Bernstein argues that the simpler systems that take fewer things into consideration will lead to more profits. Yet when he lists off all the potential factors in operation in even a simple fundamental analysis, it is not at all simple. It begins with the highly complex. The algorithms involved may appear to be simplified through the use of databases that seem to generate accurate, objective hard facts. In reality, the accuracy of any query depends on what was fed into it.

Bernanke, B. S. 2008. “Outstanding Issues in the Analysis of Inflation.” Speech at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. 53rd Annual Economic Conference. Chatham, MA.

Blais, Javier. 2011-06-01. Commodity swings expected after US storms forecast.” Financial Times. London.

Coyle, Diane. 2011. The Economics of Enough: How to Run the Economy as If the Future Matters. Princeton University Press.

nature of global capitalism, fiscal policy, inequality and the environment with reflection on civil society, economic growth ought not to be a policy goal, use of a greater range of economic indicators–she backs output growth as an objective, bond holders are safe; citizens are not; beyond traditional measures of debt in thinking about future obligations; top-rank economist’s view from the summit, challenge the neo-classical economic purist; economics and sustainability; serious and difficult changes made to economic systems’ structure and function; Herman Daly’s Steady-State Economics; long-run development; resource depletion, population growth, world poverty, rising debt, rates of innovation;

Cuthbertson, Richard. 2008-06-17. “Energy battles boiling over: A Wall Street analyst attending Calgary’s prominent energy investment forum found himself in the eye of a growing environmental storm battering Alberta’s oilsands — one of several clashes centred on the energy sector Monday.Calgary Herald.

Eccles, Marriner S. 1951. Beckoning frontiers: Public and personal recollections Ed. Hyman, Sidney. Alfred A. Knopf.

Flood, Chris. 2009-10-30 “Markets: Oil dips after US GDP boost.” Financial Times.

Hirsch, Michael. 2010. Capital Offense: How Washington’s Wise Men Turned America’s Future Over to Wall Street. New Jersey: John Wiley.

Lewis, Michael. 1989. Liar’s Poker. W.W. Norton & Company.

Martin, Roger L. 2011-05. Fixing the Game: How Runaway Expectations Broke the Economy, and How to Get Back to Reality. Harvard Business School.

Orphanides, Athanasios, and John C. Williams (2007). “Robust Monetary Policy with Imperfect Knowledge,” Leaving the Board Journal of Monetary Economics, vol. 54 (July), pp. 1406-35.

Pain, Nigel, Isabell Koske, and Marte Sollie (2006). “Globalisation and Inflation in the OECD Economies,” Leaving the Board OECD Economics Department Working Paper Series 524. Paris:  Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, November.

Pesenti, Paolo A. Groen, Jan J.J. 2011-03. Commodity prices, Commodity Currencies, and Global Economics. Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs. European Commission. Economics Papers 440. Brussels. Commodity prices,  forecasting, exchange rates, factor models, PLS regression

Powell, Barbara. 2011-06-28. “Gasoline Futures Gain as Crude, Equities Advance, Dollar Drops.” Bloomberg.

Rich, Robert W., and Charles Steindel (2007), “A Comparison of Measures of Core Inflation,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Economic Policy Review, vol. 13 (December).

Wallace, Lane. 2009-07-07. “The Uncommon Navigator: What Wall Street Should Learn from the NFL.” The Atlantic.