Under construction Updated January 2013

Recent 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. Now that profits have soared, there has been 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.

The Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel Hearings, examining “the environmental viability of the proposed $6-billion twin pipeline project” continue through January and February 2013 in Victoria and Vancouver, BC. Protests continue and the review has been labelled 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). 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 suffers 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

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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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.”
read more | digg story

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.


In the 199os an artist-musician and close friend originally from Haiti, Emmanuel Printemps, used to visit us regularly on Friday evenings and we would ask him to share his music with us and our other guests. We always requested one of his most moving, enchanting Creole songs, the powerful but sad story of the local butcher who lost his livelihood during the pig slaughter. As I follow the events in Haiti since the earthquake, I think of these precious friends from another time and place; they and their families are in our hearts and prayers.

Rural peasants in Haiti raised a very hardy breed of creole pigs which along with goats, chickens, and cattle served as a savings account. It was argued that from 1978 to 1982 about 1/3 of Haiti’s pigs became infected with the highly contagious African Swine Fever (ASF) in an epidemic that had spread along the Artibonite River shared with the Dominican Republic whose pigs had caught the virus from European sources. At first peasants were encouraged to slaughter their own pigs but then the Haitian government proceeded on a total eradication program that virtually wiped out what remained of the 1.2-million pig population by 1982. Farmers argued that they were not adequately compensated for their losses. The more robust creole pigs were replaced with a sentinel breed of U. S. pigs that were not adapted to Haiti’s ecosystem or market. For Haiti’s rural peasants the loss of income due to the virus and the government’s controversial eradication and repopulation programs led to further impoverishment and greater hardship, ultimately resulting in greater political instability.

View

In two webviral posts entitled “The Hate and the Quake: Rebuilding Haiti” by scholar, historian Sir Hilary Beckles of the University of the West Indies, (Beckles 2010-01-19) that are now circling the globe , we need to do some memory work before we conclude that Haitians are the architects of their own impoverishment.

In this seminal retelling of Haiti’s history,  (Beckles 2010-01-19) reminds us all that when Haiti provided freedom and the right of citizenship to any person of African descent who arrived on the shores of the newly formed Haitian republic (1805), the newly formed nation-state (1804) was strategically punished by Western countries, through economic isolation ( (Beckles 2010-01-19)).

From 1805 through 1825 Haiti was completely denied access to world trade, finance, and institutional development in “the most vicious example of national strangulation recorded in modern history ( (Beckles 2010-01-19)).”

In 1825 in an attempt to be a part of international markets, Haiti entered into negotiations with France which resulted in payment of a reparation fee of 150 million gold francs to be paid to France in return for national recognition. The installments were made from 1825 until 1922. From 1825-1900 alone this amounted to 70% of Haiti’s foreign exchange earnings. Beckles (2010-01-) argues that this merciless exploitation caused the Haitian economy to collapse  (Beckles 2010-01-19).

Furthermore, when Haiti’s coffee or sugar yields declined, the Haitian government had to borrow money from the United States at double the going interest rate in order to repay their punishing debt to the French government (Beckles 2010-01-19) .

From 1915-1934 the United States occupied Haiti under orders of President Woodrow Wilson in response to concerns that Haiti was unable to make its considerable loan payments to American banks to which Haiti was deeply in debt. The brutal U.S. occupation of Haiti caused problems that lasted long after 1934.

Webliography and Bibliography

Beckles, Hilary. 2010-01-19. “The Hate and the Quake: Rebuilding Haiti.” Posted by Sir Hilary Beckles on Jan 19th, 2010 and filed under Caribbean.

Beckles, Hilary. 2010-01-31. “The Hate and the Quake: Part 2” Sir Hilary Beckles, Contributor

August 26, 2009


The concept of hyphen-ethics is most relevant in the field of bioethics where health care issues are inextricably linked with the market and the perceived needs of the health industry (medical professionals, pharmaceutical companies, fund-raising organizations such as cancer research fund-raisers) to enjoy economic health. It is not just about caring for the human need for well-being or even a freedom from suffering although this is the subject of current debates on universal health care. Who will decide what is a human need and what is a want in terms of defining basic, adequate, essential and/or discretional health care access. When and where do health resources end? What are the ends of medicine? What is the nature of medicine? What are the limits to imposed regulations and health care?

The calm witness in the debate on universal health care, a man married to a long-term cancer survivor, is concerned that proposed federal regulations, would deprive him of the current level of health care services his family needs. In a closer reading of his family’s story, his wife’s free access to a $60,000 treatment was through an act of philanthropy on the part of the treatment providers. Would this be affected by providing access to others who are lacking insurance or who have inadequate insurance? Her other medical bills were paid through his work plan. But what if he, like so many others today, suddenly no longer had an employer who provided a health plan? Perhaps what he is really expressing is gratitude for what he was able to receive and hope that others will be as fortunate when faced with a family health crisis.

In 1981 philosopher Amy Gutmann published an article entitled, “For and Against Equal Access to Health Care” in the Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly. When the article was reprinted in 1999, the editors described how, “The Gutmann piece was written long before the failure of the Clinton plan but it still remains a classic argument for a national or universal health care system. A principal feature of her argument is that a one-class health care system, one for the rich, the middle classes and poor alike, promotes a health care system that caters to the needs of the better off as well as the poor, and this will strengthen the overall system level of benefits. Gutmann for practical political reasons acknowledges that a one-class system could not go so far as to forbid the rich from purchasing more health care outside the system, spending out of-pocket (Beauchamp; Steinbock 1999:253).”

“I suspect that no philosophical argument can provide us with a cogent principle by which we can draw a line within the enormous group of goods that can improve health or extend life prospects of individuals . . . The remaining question of establishing a precise level of priorities among health care and other goods is appropriately left to democratic decision-making (Gutmann 1981: 542-60)

Because of his close advisory position with President Obama on health care issues, Ezekiel J. Emanuel’s opinions are being scrutinized. In his article (1996-11/12) entitled “Where Civic Republicanism and Deliberative Democracy Meet,” seems to misinterpret Gutmann’s arguments as extremely dangerous moral skepticism. Emanuel assumed that she concluded, that there can be no principled mechanism to define basic health care services and, therefore, that the efforts to ensure universal access will always founder on the fear that guaranteeing any health care to all citizens means guaranteeing all available services. It suggests we should just give up on a just allocation of health care resources because we can never succeed (Emanuel 1996:13).” Emanuel misread her carefully worded debate in which she succinctly summarizes various perspectives on access to health care in the pre-Clinton health care debate period. In one scenario she traces the unintended consequences of imposed universal access in an imperfect world and goes on to suggest a pragmatic solution. In fact Gutmann concludes, “I began by arguing that a principle of equal access to health care was at best an ideal toward which our society might strive. I shall end by qualifying that statement. A sufficiently high level of public provision of health care for all citizens and a sufficiently elastic supply of health care would significantly reduce the threat to universal provision of quality health care of a private market in extra health care goods, just as a very high level of police protection and education reduces the inequalities of opportunity resulting from purchase of private bodyguards or of private school education by the rich. In the best of all imaginable worlds of egalitarian justice, the equal access principle would be sufficiently supported by other egalitarian social and economic institutions that a market in health care would complement rather than undercut the goals of equal respect and opportunity. But philosophers ought to resist basing their political recommendations solely upon a model of the best of all imaginable worlds (Gutmann 1999 [1981:253]).”

Emanuel (1996:13)

suggests that, “Regardless, a refined view has emerged that begins to overlap between liberalism and communitarianism. This overlap inspires hope for making progress on the just allocation of health care resources. This refined view distinguishes issues within the political sphere into four types: (1) issues related to constitutional rights and liberties; (2) issues related to opportunities, including health care and education; (3) issues related to the distribution of wealth such as tax policies; and (4) other political matters that may not be matters of justice but are matters of common good, such as environmental policies and defense politicies. While there still may be disagreement about the need for a neutral justification for rights and liberties, there is consensus between communitarians and liberals that policies regarding opportunities, wealth, and matters of the common good can only be justified by appeal to a particular conception of the good. As Rawls has put it:

Public reason does not apply to all political questions but only to those involving what we may call “constitutional essentials.”3 (Emanuel 1996:13).”

TBC

1960s the dominant social issue of the 1960s and 1970s was that of justice and equality. Given that context, it was hardly surprising that the field of bioethics saw a great surge of writing and debate on issues of justice and health care.(Daniels, Emanuel and Jennings 1996).

1970s the dominant social issue of the 1960s and 1970s was that of justice and equality. Given that context, it was hardly surprising that the field of bioethics saw a great surge of writing and debate on issues of justice and health care.(Daniels, Emanuel and Jennings 1996).

1972 John Rawls’ 1972 study A Theory of Justice “was not only a powerful work in its own right but perfectly in step with the times. Given that context, it was hardly surprising that the field of bioethics saw a great surge of writing and debate on issues of justice and health care. That was, and still is, a central topic. Far less important for many years was any serious discussion of the ends of medicine. To be sure, there was and is a field known as the philosophy of medicine that has given considerable attention to the nature of medicine. But the discussion in that field – which was often technical and historical in any case, self-consciously academic and scholarly – proceeded independently of the interest in health care equality. And vice-versa. In retrospect, that seems an odd bifurcation. How is it possible to have a full examination of a field as dynamic and fast-changing as health care without – simultaneous – asking some basic questions about what health care is supposed to give us and do for us? Norman Daniels, in his fine work on justice and health care, has come as close as anyone to attempting to find the specific link between the ends of health care and fair access to it. By his use of the concept of species-typical functioning as the goal of medicine he has sought to (Daniels, Emanuel and Jennings 1996).

1981 Philosopher Amy Gutmann published an article entitled, “For and Against Equal Access to Health Care” in the  Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly. “The Gutmann piece was written long before the failure of the Clinton plan but it still remains a classic argument for a national or universal health care system. A principal feature of her argument is that a one-class health care system, one for the rich, the middle classes and poor alike, promotes a health care system that caters to the needs of the better off as well as the poor, and this will strengthen the overall system level of benefits. Gutmann for practical political reasons acknowledges that a one-class system could not go so far as to forbid the rich from purchasing more health care outside the system, spending out of-pocket (Beauchamp; Steinbock 1999:253).”

“I suspect that no philosophical argument can provide us with a cogent principle by which we can draw a line within the enormous group of goods that can improve health or extend life prospects of individuals . . . The remaining question of establishing a precise level of priorities among health care and other goods is appropriately left to democratic decision-making (Gutmann 1981: 542-60)

1996 Norman Daniels, Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Bruce Jennings co-authored the Hastings Center Report entitled “Is Justice Enough? Ends and Means in Bioethics. “There call be little doubt that the dominant social issue of the 1960s and 1970s was that of justice and equality. It inspired the development of many fresh welfare policies and was a potent motivating force in the advent of Medicare and Medicaid, both thought (mistakenly as it turned out) to be the forerunners of universal health care. John Rawls’ 1972 study A Theory of Justice was not only a powerful work in its own right but perfectly in step with the times. Given that context, it was hardly surprising that the field of bioethics saw a great surge of writing and debate on issues of justice and health care. That was, and still is, a central topic. Far less important for many years was any serious discussion of the ends of medicine. To be sure, there was and is a field known as the philosophy of medicine that has given considerable attention to the nature of medicine. But the discussion in that field – which was often technical and historical in any case, self-consciously academic and scholarly – proceeded independently of the interest in health care equality. And vice-versa. In retrospect, that seems an odd bifurcation. How is it possible to have a full examination of a field as dynamic and fast-changing as health care without – simultaneous – asking some basic questions about what health care is supposed to give us and do for us? Norman Daniels, in his fine work on justice and health care, has come as close as anyone to attempting to find the specific link between the ends of health care and fair access to it. By his use of the concept of species-typical functioning as the goal of medicine he has sought to (Daniels, Emanuel and Jennings 1996).

1996-11/12 Ezekiel J. Emanuel’s article entitled “Where Civic Republicanism and Deliberative Democracy Meet,” cautioned that Gutmann and Daniels’ moral skepticism was extremely dangerous. [I]t suggests that there can be no principled mechanism to define basic health care services and, therefore, that the efforts to ensure universal access will always founder on the fear that guaranteeing any health care to all citizens means guaranteeing all available services. It suggests we should just give up on a just allocation of health care resources because we can never succeed (Emanuel 1996:13).”

1999 “Most books about ethics and health focus on issues arising from individual patients and their relationships with doctors and other health professionals. More and more, however, ethical issues are challenges that face entire communities, not just individual patients. This book is an edited collection of readings that addresses these public health challenges. Many of the issues considered, such as policy for alcohol and other drugs, newly emergent epidemics, and violence prevention, are public health concerns beyond the purview of traditional bioethics. Others, such as access to health care, managed care, reproductive technologies, and genetic testing, are covered in bioethics texts, but here they are approached from the distinct viewpoint of public health. The book makes explicit the community perspective of public health, as well as the field’s emphasis on prevention. It examines the conceptual issues raised by the public health perspective (i.e., what is meant by community, the common good, and individual autonomy) as well as the policies that can be developed when health problems are approached in population-based, preventive terms.” Amazon abstract of: Beauchamp, Dan E.; Steinbock, Bonnie. 1999. New Ethics for the Public’s Health. Oxford University Press. This book includes the

Limited preview – 1999 – 382 pages

2001 In his controversial article entitled “Terminating Life-Sustaining Treatment of the Demented,” Dan Callahan (Callahan 2001:93) claimed that euthanasia is necessary for patients suffering from terminal illness. Opponents claim that euthanasia is immoral and violates reason.

2009-07-17 Senator Edward Kennedy (1932-2009): “We will end the disgrace of America as the only major industrialized nation in the world that doesn’t guarantee health care for all of its people (Kennedy Newsweek).”

“Is there a relationship between defects in our medical ethics and the reason the United States has repeatedly failed to enact universal health coverage? I will begin to suggest an answer to this question by clarifying the locus of allocating decisions. The allocation of health care resources can occur on three levels. The social or, in the economist’s language, the macro level entails the proportion of the gross national product (GNP) allocated to health care. The patient, or micro, level entails determining which individual patients will receive specific medical services; that is, whether Mrs. White should receive this available liver for transplantation. Finally, there is an intermediate level called the service or medical level that entails determining what health care services will be guaranteed to each citizen. These socially guaranteed services have been called “basic” or “essential” medical services or what the President’s Commission designated as “adequate health care.” Clearly, these three levels are connected. A larger proportion of the GNP going to health permits coverage of more services. Similarly, as demonstrated by the end-stage renal disease program, providing specific services to a wider range of patients causes upward pressure on the proportion of the GNP going to health care and/or reduces the range of services covered as part of basic medical services. Despite these connections, these three levels are conceptually distinct.(Emanuel 1996:12)”

“The fundamental challenge to theories of distributive justice for health care is to develop a principled mechanism for defining what fragment of the vast universe of technically available, effective medical care services is basic and will be guaranteed socially and what services are discretionary and will not be guaranteed socially. Such an approach accepts a two-tiered health system- some citizens will receive only basic services while others will receive both basic and discretionary health services. Within the discretionary tier, some citizens will receive few discretionary services, and other richer citizens will receive almost all available services, creating a multiple-tiered system (Emanuel 1996:12).”

“Underlying the repeated failure of attempts to provide universal health care coverage in the United States is the failure to develop a principled mechanism for characterizing basic health services. Americans fear that is society guarantees certain services as “basic,” the range of services guaranteed will expand to include all-or almost all- available services (except for cosmetic surgery and therapies that have not been proven effective or proven ineffective). So rather than risk the bankruptcy of having nearly every medical service socially guaranteed to all citizens, Americans have been willing to tolerate a system in which the well insured receive a wide range of medical services with some apparently basic services uncovered; Medicare beneficiaries receive fewer services with some discretionary services covered and some services that intuitively seem basic uncovered; Medicaid beneficiaries and uninsured persons receive far fewer services (Emanuel 1996:12).”

“On this view, the reason the United States has failed to enact universal health coverage is not primarily political or economic; the real reason is ethical- it is a failure to provide a philosophically defensible and practical mechanism to distinguish basic from discretionary health care services. What is the reason for this failure of medical ethics?(Emanuel 1996:12).”

“There are two opposing explanations. One explanation points to the inherent limits of ethics. Some philosophers, such as Amy Gutmann and Norman Daniels, argue that we lack sufficiently detailed ethical intuitions and principles to establish priorities among the vast array of health care services. Every time we try to define basic services our intuition “runs out.” As Gutmann once wrote:

I suspect that no philosophical argument can provide us with a cogent principle by which we can draw a line within the enormous group of goods that can improve health or extend life prospects of individuals . . . The remaining question of establishing a precise level of priorities among health care and other goods is appropriately left to democratic decision-making1

(Emanuel 1996:12).”

“Taken at face value, this moral skepticism is extremely dangerous; it suggests that there can be no principled mechanism to define basic health care services and, therefore, that the efforts to ensure universal access will always founder on the fear that guaranteeing any health care to all citizens means guaranteeing all available services. It suggests we should just give up on a just allocation of health care resources because we can never succeed (Emanuel 1996:13).”

“The second explanation holds the problem with definining basic health care services is not a general lapse of ethics, but a specific lapse of liberal political philosophy that informs our political discourse, including the allocation of health care resources. The problem is that priorities among health care services can be established only by invoking a conception of the good, but this is not possible within the framework of liberal political philosophy. Liberalism divides moral issues into three spheres: the political, social, and domestic. It then holds that within the political sphere, laws and policies cannot be justified by appeals to the good. To jusify laws by appealing to the good would violate the principle of neutrality and be coercive, imposing one conception of the good on citizens who do not necessarily affirm that conception of the good. But without appealing to a conception of the good, it is argued, we can never establish priorites among health care services and define basic medical services. This is Dan Callahan’s view with which I agree:2

. . . there can be no full discussion of equality in health care without an equally full discussion on the substantive goods and goals that medicine and health care should pursue . . . [U]nless there can be a discussion of the goals of medicine in the future as rich as that of justice and health has been, the latter problem will simply not admit of any meaningful solution (Emanuel 1996:13).”

[In his controversial article entitled "Terminating Life-Sustaining Treatment of the Demented," Dan Callahan (Callahan 2001:93) claimed that euthanasia is necessary for patients suffering from terminal illness. Opponents claim that euthanasia is immoral and violates reason.]

“Fortunately, many including many liberals, have come to view as mistaken a liberalism with such a strong principle of neutrality and avoidance of the public good. Some think the change a result of the critique provided by communitarianism; others see it as a clarification of basic liberal philosophy. Regardless, a refined view has emerged that begins to overlap between liberalism and communitarianism. This overlap inspires hope for making progress on the just allocation of health care resources. This refined view distinguishes issues within the political sphere into four types: (1) issues related to constitutional rights and liberties; (2) issues related to opportunities, including health care and education; (3) issues related to the distribution of wealth such as tax policies; and (4) other political matters that may not be matters of justice but are matters of common good, such as environmental policies and defense politicies. While there still may be disagreement about the need for a neutral justification for rights and liberties, there is consensus between communitarians and liberals that policies regarding opportunities, wealth, and matters of the common good can only be justified by appeal to a particular conception of the good. As Rawls has put it:

Public reason does not apply to all political questions but only to those involving what we may call “constitutional essentials.”3 (Emanuel 1996:13).”

More expansively, Brian Barry has written:

Examples of issues that fall outside [the principle of neutrality include] two distinct kinds of items. One set of items (tax and property laws) contains matters that are in principle within the realm of “justice as fairness” but are subject to reasonable disagreement about the implications of justice . . . The other set . . . contains issues that in the nature of the case cannot be resolved without giving priority to one conception of the good over others . . . There is no room for a complaint of discrimination simply on the ground that the policy by its nature suits those with one conception of the good more than it suits those with some different one. This is unavoidable.4 (Emanuel 1996:13).”

“Thus it seems there is a growing agreement between liberals, communitarians, and others that many political matters, including matters of justice- and specifically, the just allocation of health care resources- can be addressed only by invoking a particular conception of the good (Emanuel 1996:13).”

“We may go even further. Without overstating it (and without fully defending it) not only is there a consensus about the need for a conception of the good, there may even be a consensus about the particular conception of the good that should inform policies on these nonconstitutional political issues. Communitarians endorse civic republicanism and a growing number of liberals endorse some version of deliberate democracy. Both envision a need for citizens who are independent and responsible and for public forums that present citizens with opportunities to enter into public deliberations on social policies (Emanuel 1996:13).”

“This civic republican deliberative democratic conception of the good provides both procedural and substantive insights for developing a just allocation of health care resources. Procedurally, it suggests the need for public forums to deliberate about which health services should be considered basic and should be socially guaranteed. Substantively, it suggests services that promote the continuation of the polity- those that ensure healthy future generations, ensure development of practical reasoning skills, and ensure full and active participation by citizens in public deliberations- are to be socially guaranteed as basic. Conversely, servuces provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia [13] [In his controversial article entitled "Terminating Life-Sustaining Treatment of the Demented," Dan Callahan (Callahan 2001:93) claimed that euthanasia is necessary for patients suffering from terminal illness. Opponents claim that euthanasia is immoral and violates reason]. A less obvious example is guaranteeing neuropyschological services to ensure children with learning disabilities can read and learn to reason (Emanuel 1996:14).”

“Clearly, more needs to be done to elucidate what specific health care services are basic; however, the overlap between liberalism and communitarianism points to a way of introducing the good back into medical ethics and devising a principled way of distinguishing basic from discretionary health care services. Perhaps using this progress in political philosophy we can address Dan’s challenge, begin to discuss the goods and goals of medicine (Emanuel 1996:14).”

References

Callahan, Dan. 2001. “Terminating Life-Sustaining Treatment of the Demented.” Bioethics Ed. John Harris. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 93.

Gutman, Amy. 1981. “For and Against Equal Access to Health Care.” Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly. 59:542-60.

Emanuel, Ezekiel J. 1991. The Ends of Human Life. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. Chapter 4.

Norman Daniels , Ezekiel J. Emanuel , Bruce Jennings. 1996. “Is Justice Enough? Ends and Means in Bioethics.” The Hastings Center Report. 26.

Rawls, John. 1993. Political Liberalism. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 214.

Barry, Brian. 1995. Justice as Impartiality. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 144-145.

Emanuel, Ezekiel J. 1996-11/12. “Where Civic Republicanism and Deliberative Democracy Meet.” Hastings Centre Report. November-December.

Beauchamp, Dan E.; Steinbock, Bonnie. 1999. New Ethics for the Public’s Health. Oxford University Press.


Mapping Money

Economic activity which mainly uses raw materials such as waterways, sea, forests and soils, increased to a (GWP) (Gross World Product): (purchasing power parity exchange rates) of $23 trillion by 2002; $51.48 trillion by 2004 and $59.38 trillion by 2005 and in 2008 (market exchange rates) it was $60.69 trillion. Yet global wealth does not translate into an increase in global well-being. Extremes of wealth and poverty have increased and according to TD Bank Financial Group Economists Drummond and Tulk (2006) wealth disparities will intensify. In Canada alone, the wealthiest or Ultra High New Worth (UHNW) families, who comprise only a fraction of Canada’s households, controlled almost half the investable assets: $1.3-trillion of $2.4-trillion in 2007. The “vast majority” of that $1.3-trillion held by UHNW with family offices Chevreau, Jonathan. 2007-05-14).

Mavericks, tycoons and risk-takers, (many of whom became the Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) individuals and families – people capable of seeing resources as opportunities and knowing how to manage them to their own advantage, are western heroes. As long as enough of the resources trickled down, translating into a reasonable quality of life for most people in the form of jobs, assets, properties, vehicles, services and common recreation and parklands, we remained in a love-hate relationship with the the elite who had status, wealth and/or power. In 1992 Ulrich Beck described a world where the unintended consequences of the production of the former were no longer benefiting the latter. Certitude in access to fundamentals like clean air, water, sufficient food, housing was eroding in places that had never doubted before. And how the UHNW are becoming even more enriched by using raw materials such as waterways, sea, forests and soil, is troubling.

The Bruntland Commission reported (1987) that since 1977 public concern had been seized by the realization that crises once considered to be separate and therefore more containable – such as environmental crisis, development crisis, energy crisis, (by 2009 include food crisis, water crisis, poverty crisis, financial crisis) – were in fact, global. The dissolving of boundaries between the neat compartmentalization of the globe and its resources into nation states and sectors (energy, agriculture, trade), and within broad areas of concern (environment, economics, social) which made them once seem as one-by-one problems with solutions, were already understood to be much more far-reaching and complex. The one-world one-earth future was no longer a utopian dream or dystopian nightmare, just a pragmatic reality Our Common Future.

Risk Management: Shrinking Watersheds and Aquifers

The most vulnerable to social exclusion, the most impoverished have been hit harder than ever before and their numbers are growing. We have the technical and scientific capacity to link data from different sources and scales and to make this information widely available through Web 2.0 or the social media – crucial information regarding public policies, legal aspects, ethics, (moral mathematics?) etc of the depletion of aquifers, watersheds, and the re-routing of limited water resources. Who is producing reliable assessments of extremes of water wealth and poverty? Without access to balanced, objective information how can we expect to have the individual, political and institutional will to establish objective criterion for indexing water resource use and management? With information, can we hope for knowledge and dream of wisdom?

Groundwater Processes are Virtually Unknown

“Many of Canada’s freshwater resources are under stress because of increasing municipal and industrial use and impacts from human activities. To ensure protection of public health and the aquatic environment, Canadians need state-of-the-art treatment plants capable of removing a growing array of pollutants from wastewaters. This includes emerging contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and endocrine-disrupting chemicals disposed of in the sewage system, pathogens such as the Corona virus, and nutrients that feed unwanted and potentially toxic algae growth. In Alberta, groundwater processes are virtually unknown. The full long-term impacts of water use by the oil and gas industry are poorly understood, and future expansion of this industry will rely on improved, cost-effective water conservation and management practices. Dr. Tom Harding of the University of Calgary’s Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy does on research areas the recycling and reuse of water in oil and gas production (ISEEE).”

Is water a commodity or a human right?

According to T. Boone Pickens (b. 1919- ), the Texas oil tycoon, “he could be selling wind, water, natural gas, or uranium; it’s all a matter of supply and demand. “(Berfield 2008).” See also Mapping Blue Gold

According to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UNESCO) water was formally recognized as a human right for the first time when [they] adopted the ‘General Comment’ on the right to water, and described the State’s legal responsibility in fulfilling that right. “The human right to drinking water is fundamental to life and health. Sufficient and safe drinking water is a precondition for the realization of human rights.” (UNESCO 2002-11-27).

According to BBC News Online environment correspondent, Alex Kirby, who explored fears of an impending global water crisis in his 2004 article when 1/3 of the world’s population were already living in water-stressed countries, “We have to rethink how much water we really need if we are to learn how to share the Earth’s supply (Kirby 2004-10-19).”

According to The World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). 1987.”Our Common Future.” “Water is essential for life, and an adequate water supply is a prerequisite for human and economic development. It hasbeen recognized that human behavior can have an impact both on water, and on the global ecosystem, and that there is a need to regulate that behavior in order to stabilize and sustain our future (WCED, 1987 cited in Sullivan 2002). Global water resources are limited, and only through a more sustainable approach to water management, and more equitable and ecologically sensitive strategies of water allocation and use, can we hope to achieve the international development targets for poverty reduction that have been set for 2015 (DFID, 2000).”

According to University of Alberta’s Dr. Bill Donahue, Alberta treats water ”as an inexhaustible resource [...] The disconnect between supply and demand is not sustainable (Simon 2002-08-09)..”

“Water, an increasingly valuable multiple-use resource, is the source of continuing conflict in Canada and abroad. Its use and control presents significant challenges to governments, stakeholders, and citizens. Canadian Water Politics explores the nature of water use conflicts and the need for institutional designs and reforms to meet the governance challenges now and in the future. The editors present an overview of the properties of water, the nature of water uses, and the institutions that underpin water politics. Contributors highlight specific water policy concerns and conflicts in various parts of Canada and cover issues ranging from the Walkerton drinking water tragedy, water export policy, Great Lakes pollution, St Lawrence River shipping, Alberta irrigation and oil production, and fisheries management on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Canada – with its Great Lakes, three oceans, and border with the US – provides an ideal reference point for studying water use rivalries, conflicts, and governance. By exploring the controversies surrounding water management in Canada, Canadian Water Politics is an essential source for citizens, officials, academics and students, and contributes to our understanding of natural resource management and environmental policy at home and globally (Review of Sproule-Jones, Johns and Heinmiller 2008-11-20).”

Who’s Who

The Brundtland Commission, formally the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), created by the United Nations in 1983, to address growing concern “about the accelerating deterioration of the human environment and natural resources and the consequences of that deterioration for economic and social development.” In establishing the commission, the UN General Assembly recognized that environmental problems were global in nature and determined that it was in the common interest of all nations to establish policies for sustainable development. (WCED 1987). Their report entitled “One Common Future” recommended securing water availability for the needs of future generations. “On the development side, in terms of absolute numbers there are more hungry people in the world than ever before, and their numbers are increasing. So are the numbers who cannot read or write, the numbers without safe water or safe and sound homes, and the numbers short of woodfuel with which to cook and warm themselves. The gap between rich and poor nations is widening – not shrinking – and there is little prospect, given present trends and institutional arrangements, that this process will be reversed (WCED 1987:1).”

Copenhagen Climate Council is an Anti-Kyoto organisation which “works against most US government efforts to address climate change.” The self-defined ”global climate leaders” are in fact business leaders as CEOs of major global corporations, hoping to seize “seize the unique opportunity which the Copenhagen Summit 2009 offers to do something good for the global environment and at the same time do good business.” The U.N.’s post-Kyoto, post-2012 negotiations will be finalised in Copenhagen in 2009. Global business leaders issued “The Copenhagen Call” at the close of the World Business Summit on Climate Change on May 26 where CEOs discussed “how their firms can help solve the climate crisis through innovative business models, new partnerships, and the development of low-carbon technologies. They will send a strong message to the negotiating governments on how to remove barriers and create incentives for implementation of new solutions in a post-Kyoto framework.” The Climate Council is represented by Don Pearlman, an international anti-Kyoto lobbyist who was a paid adviser to the Saudi and Kuwaiti governments who followed the US line against Kyoto. Ms Dobriansky met Don Pearlman to “solicit [his] views as part of our dialogue with friends and allies (Vidal 2005-06-08).”

Maud Barlow is the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians- A citizen’s watchdog organization with over 100,000 members. One of their ongoing campaigns is that water is a public trust which belongs to everyone. She is also the co-author of Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water.

Bechtel Corporation (Bechtel Group) is the largest engineering company in the United States, ranking as the 7th-largest privately owned company in the U.S. With headquarters in San Francisco. wiki Bechtel was forced to back down on its efforts to taking control of the Cochabamba, Bolivia water supply and privatizing it in 2000 when Bolivian protesters were joined by overwhelming international support. Bechtel Corporation, one of the world’s largest engineering and construction services companies has been owned and operated by the Bechtel family since incorporating the company in 1945. It was founded by Warren A. Bechtel (1872 – 1933) in 1898. The current Bechtel CEO is Riley P. Bechtel, one of the richest men in the United States. wiki

Paula Dobriansky, US under-secretary of state for President George Bush’s administration between 2001 and 2004, sought the advice of anti-Kyoto Exxon executives on what climate change policies Exxon might find acceptable and thanking them for their active involvement in helping to determine climate change policy. These exchanges were revealed in the US State Department briefing papers, “documents, which emerged as Tony Blair visited the White House for discussions on climate change before next month’s G8 meeting [2005], reinforc[ing] widely-held suspicions of how close the company [Exxon] is to the administration and its role in helping to formulate US policy(Vidal 2005-06-08).”

Dr. Bill Donahue of the University of Alberta was quoted in the New York Times: Alberta treats water ”as an inexhaustible resource [...] The disconnect between supply and demand is not sustainable (Simon 2002-08-09)..” Dr. Bill Donahue of the University of Alberta’s Environmental Research and Studies Centre said his research at Muriel Lake suggested that the oil companies’ appetite for water was having a long-term effect. Although heavy rains in 1997 replenished many other lakes in the area, but the level of Muriel Lake is falling again. Mr. Donahue said the addition of chemicals to water used in oil recovery and the fact that much of the recycled water ends up in deep underground reservoirs meant that ”ultimately, it is lost from the normal water cycle (Simon 2002-08-09)..” “The Muriel Lake Basin Management Society was formed in 1999 in response to these severe losses of water. In 2002, Dr. Bill Donahue, with the support of Dr. Dave Schindler, the Gordon Foundation, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada, and ERSC, began a study to determine the local and regional water budgets. Drs. Bill Donahue and Alex Wolfe also began a study of the history of water quality, biology, and climate change in Muriel Lake.” Limnologist Anne-Marie Anderson reported that the lake levels of Muriel Lake (northeast of Edmonton and close to the hub of oil sands activity, including Imperial’s Cold Lake operation) were monitored since 1967. The lake reached its maximum in 1974, a very wet year but since then water levels declined steadily, a drop in lake level of nearly 3 m in 2000 from 6.6 m in 1962. As a result of the drop in lake levels, shoreline width has increased considerably. This amounts to perhaps a 50 to 60% loss in the volume of water. There are also concerns that the decline in water levels is resulting in a deterioration of lake water quality and fishing. (Anderson 2000-04).

Exxon the US’s most valuable company valued at $379bn (£206bn) dominates The Global Climate Coalition GGC, and is the main anti-Kyoto US industry group. President Bush considered Exxon “among the companies most actively and prominently opposed to binding approaches [like Kyoto] to cut greenhouse gas emissions [...] Paula Dobriansky, US under-secretary of state for President George Bush’s administration between 2001 and 2004, sought the advice of anti-Kyoto Exxon executives on what climate change policies Exxon might find acceptable and thanking them for their active involvement in helping to determine climate change policy. These exchanges were revealed in the US State Department briefing papers, “documents, which emerged as Tony Blair visited the White House for discussions on climate change before next month’s G8 meeting [2005], reinforc[ing] widely-held suspicions of how close the company [Exxon] is to the administration and its role in helping to formulate US policy(Vidal 2005-06-08).”

The Global Climate Coalition GGC, dominated by Exxon, is the main anti-Kyoto US industry group. President Bush considered Exxon “among the companies most actively and prominently opposed to binding approaches [like Kyoto] to cut greenhouse gas emissions(Vidal 2005-06-08).”

Oscar Olivera, was secretary of the Bolivian Federation of Factory Workers. In 2006 he addressed the World Development Movement conference held in Britain on the theme of “Whose Rules Rule.” He was a protest leader against water privatisation by the US-based multinational company Bechtel when Bechtel came to Cochabamba, Bolivia with the intention of taking control of the water supply and privatizing it in 2000. Olivera won the 2001 Goldman environment prize.

T. Boone Pickens (b. 1919- ) Pickens, the Texas oil tycoon, who made his fortune in oilpatch investments, is now planning on building the world’s largest wind farm in Texas. In 2008 he introduced “The Pickens Plan, [which called] for the United States to cut its dependence on foreign oil by more than one-third by making natural gas and wind power much bigger parts of America’s energy supply.” (CBC 2009-06-17.) He proposes that the private sector build thousands of wind turbines that could potentially supply one-fifth of electricity in the U.S. He claims wind power would replace natural gas in power generation; natural gas could then replace diesel and gasoline as a transportation and the U.S. could become free from its foreign oil dependency. He insists that Canadian oil is not considered to be “foreign.” ( “CBC 2008-06-20).”

Pickens who sees water as blue gold and already owns more of it than any other American. He thirsts to increase his water assets. “T. Boone Pickens [...] owns more water than any other individual in the U.S. and is looking to control even more. He hopes to sell the water he already [had in 2008], some 65 billion gallons a year, to Dallas, transporting it over 250 miles, 11 counties, and about 650 tracts of private property. The electricity generated by an enormous wind farm he is setting up in the Panhandle would also flow along that corridor. As far as Pickens is concerned, he could be selling wind, water, natural gas, or uranium; it’s all a matter of supply and demand. “(Berfield 2008).” In June of 2009 he claimed that he was very interested in Alberta as a potential site for his giant wind farms if he could make a better deal in Alberta than in Texas. He is already priming the Alberta business community. While he has carefully massaged his media image to be tauted as environmentally friendly and he has generously gifted the University of Calgary, his methods are shrewd, buying what others see as useless until they realize how much control he has over their oil, water and/or energy supply. He is persistent, single-minded and worked for decades to one by one change relevant laws in his favour in the Canada River watershed in Texas to gain the control he needed. Pickens donated $2.25 million in 2006 to establish the Boone Pickens Centre for Neurological Science and Advanced Technologies at the the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, which was created by Pickens’ long-time friend Calgary Flames co-owner Harley Hotchkiss with a gift of $15 million in 2004. In June 2008 Pickens donated another $25 million to research at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute which is the largest donation ever given to the University of Calgary by a single person and the only philanthropic donation Pickens has made outside the U.S. Pickens, who has an estimated net worth of $3 billion, has given away $700 million from 2003 to 2008. Pickens lived in Calgary briefly in the 1960s working as a geologist ( “CBC 2008-06-20).”

T. Boone Pickens engineered a shrewd takeover of an 8 acres stretch of scrub-land near Amarillo, Roberts County, Texas. The acquisition of this land was “central to Pickens’ plan to create an agency to condemn property and sell tax-exempt bonds in the search for one of his other favorite commodities: water. Approval of the water district was all but certain as Texans voted [November 2007] in state and local elections. By law, only the two people who actually live on the eight acres will be allowed to vote: the manager of Pickens’ nearby Mesa Vista ranch and his wife. The other three owners, who will sit on the district’s board, all work for Pickens. Pickens “has pulled a shenanigan,” said Phillip Smith, a rancher who serves on a local water-conservation board. “He’s obtained the right of eminent domain like he was a big city. It’s supposed to be for the public good, not a private company.” Pickens and his allies say no shenanigans are involved. Once the district is created, the board will be able to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance construction of Pickens’ planned 328-mile, $2.2 billion pipeline to transport water from the Panhandle across the prairie to the suburbs of Dallas and San Antonio. If Pickens can’t find a buyer for the bonds or for his water – and he hasn’t yet – he might buy the bonds himself to jump-start the project, said his Dallas-based lawyer, Monty Humble of Vinson and Elkins. The board will spend about $110 million to buy the right-of-way for the pipeline, using the power of eminent domain to acquire property if necessary, Humble said. Still, Pickens faces obstacles. To help pay for construction, he plans to piggyback wind power on the water infrastructure. He plans wind farms on the ranchland and wants to run electricity cables along the right-of-way of Mesa’s water pipeline. All told, the wind and water project is expected to cost more than $10 billion. Pickens said he has about $100 million invested so far. “This is a $10 billion project,” he said in an interview. “It better be profitable.” Most of all, he needs a group of confirmed buyers for his water. That’s in part because of political resistance to his plan for acquiring water rights. Several Dallas-area water districts have refused to sign up. “We have real concerns about private control of water,” said Ken Kramer, director of the Texas Sierra Club. “Water is a resource, yet in some respects it is a commodity. It’s as essential to human life as air. That puts water in a different class.” John Spearman Jr., a Roberts County rancher and chairman of the Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District, is one of many local critics who contend that Pickens’ water play could upset conservation efforts and seeks to profit from shortages of a vital resource. “He has the legal authority to do it,” Spearman says. “We can’t stop him (Woellert 2007-11-07.”

Meera Karunananthan, water campaigner for The Council of Canadians opposes an expanded Alberta water market. “The water market system is absolutely not the solution. We consider water to be a human right. When you allocate according to the laws of the market, then you see water going to those who can pay the most. So it goes to the highest bidder.” She argues the government should instead create a hierarchy of water use, allocating to those who need it most — including the environment (Klaszus 2009-06-25).

The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC), an international environmental treaty The Kyoto Accord was first negotiated in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, to “establish a legally binding international agreement, whereby all the participating nations commit themselves to tackling the issue of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions.” The objective was to stabilize and reconstruct “greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” The Kyoto negotiations built upon the research of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which predicted an average global rise in temperature of 1.4°C (2.5°F) to 5.8°C (10.4°F) between 1990 and 2100. The agreement finally came into force on 16 February 2005 when following ratification by Russia ratified it on 18 November 2004. As of 14 January 2009, 183 countries and the European Community ratified the agreement. The Kyoto Protocol include “commitments to reduce greenhouse gases that are legally binding; implementation to meet the Protocol objectives, to prepare policies and measures which reduce greenhouse gases; increasing absorption of these gases and use all mechanisms available, such as joint implementation, clean development mechanism and emissions trading; being rewarded with credits which allow more greenhouse gas emissions at home; minimizing impacts on developing countries by establishing an adaptation fund for climate change; accounting, reporting and review to ensure the integrity of the Protocol; compliance by establishing a compliance committee to enforce compliance with the commitments under the Protocol.” wiki

Vivendi water is the backbone of Vivendi company according to Maud Barlow, with c. 295,000 people working just in their water department alone. So these companies came onto the scene first in France interestingly enough because France flirted with the privatization of water first then moved over to Great Britain under Margaret Thatcher and then with the World Bank backing them have moved all through the third world where they are failing every single solitary place that they are operating.

Manthan Adhyayan Kendra centre, based in the Narmada Valley, was founded by Shripad Dharmadhikary in October 2001 to research, analyse and monitor water and energy issues. Manthan’s two major themes of work are (a) large dams, irrigation and hydropower and (b) Privatisation and commercialisation of water and power in India. Dharmadhikary was a full time activist of the Narmada Bachao Andolan for 12 years, the mass organisation of people affected by large dams on the Narmada river in India. He was closely associated with the World Commission on Dams from its inception to its follow up UNEP-Dams and Development Project. He has recently completed a study on hydropower dam building in the Himalayas for International Rivers titled Mountains of Concrete. Other publications include Unravelling Bhakra, the report of a three year study (2001-12 through 2004-12) led by him of the Bhakra Nangal project. This study claims to completely overturn many of the popular notions and perceptions associated with the Bhakra Nangal Project. Currently, Manthan is working on the issues and impacts of privatisation of the water sector in India, including a study of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model that is being pushed in the water sector, and the implications – financial, economic, social, environmental and access – of large scale privatisation of hydropower.

Professor Cathy Ryan, Department of Geoscience and the BScEnvironmental Science Program, University of Calgary “has inspired inspired an undergraduate research programin Environmental Science, as part of which students work in partnership with government, private sector and non-governmental collaborators to collect and analyze original data. The results of these studies are reported back to community stakeholders at enthusiastically-attended open houses.Meanwhile, Professor Ryan’s active contributions to local watershed groups (among them, Friends of Fish Creek, Elbow River WatershedPartnership, Nose Creek Watershed Partnershipand the Bow River Basin Council) are further evi-dence of a community engagement that extends beyond the normal call of academic duties. As a Board Member of the Bow River Basin Councilfrom 2004 to 2008, she provided technical advice and was an invited speaker and presenter on research activities that informed local landuse policymaking.The value of Professor Ryan’s input, and a furthermeasure of her community service, is manifest infrequent invitations to participate in regional,municipal, provincial and national workshops. Beyond simply sharing research findings, these presentations help to guide groundwater man-agement initiatives, including a successful 2006 municipal bylaw proposal for Environmental Setbacks for the Bow and Elbow Rivers. Currently, Professor Ryan is also the Assistant Program Director for the Central American WaterResources Management Network, a training net-work designed to better enable Central American universities and local communities to protect their water resources. Professor Ryan has published on Central American hydrogeology and water quality, in addition to her research in Alberta.Professor Ryan’s research interests include thefate of agricultural, human, and industrial wastes in groundwater and surface water. An examination of the impact of Calgary waste water on theBow River led in turn to a part-time sabbatical appointment as a Senior Water Policy Advisor to the City of Calgary. Professor Ryan subsequently received the City of Calgary Environmental Achievement Award in June 2008. Professor Ryan received her BASc in Geological Engineering from Queen’s University and her MSc and PhD (1994) in Earth Sciences from the University of Waterloo. She is also an adjunct professor in the Schulich School of Engineering, and has been a member of the Faculty Association since 1997 (University of Calgary 2009 awards).”

World Bank “The initial hopes for privatisation were so high that donor spending on infrastructure fell in the expectation that the private sector would take up the slack. For example, World Bank lending for infrastructure investment declined by 50 per cent during 1993-2002, with much of this directed towards preparing firms for privatisation. In 2002, Bank lending for water and sanitation projects, in particular, was only 25 per cent of its annual average during 1993-97. At the same time, the World Bank increased its support for private investment in utilities through its International Finance Corporation (IFC) and its Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). While Bank lending to public electricity utilities dropped from about $2.9 billion in 1990 to only $824 million in 2001, its sector lending to private investors rose from $45 million to $687 million. Lending about $20 billion to water supply projects over the last 12 years, the World Bank has not only been a principal financier of privatisation, it has also increasingly made its loans conditional on local governments privatising their waterworks. The ICIJ’s study of 276 World Bank water supply loans from 1990 to 2002 showed that 30 per cent required privatisation – the majority in the last five years (Molina and Chowla 2008-09-26.“)

World Water Council 2009 Report

Water Poverty Index This paper provides discussion of ways in which an interdisciplinary approach can be
taken to produce an integrated assessment of water stress and scarcity, linking physical estimates of water availability with socioeconomic variables that reflect poverty, i.e., a Water Poverty Index to contribute to more equitable solutions for water allocation. A ‘‘Water Poverty Index’’ would enable progress toward development targets to be monitored, and water projects to be better targeted to meet the needs of the current generation, while securing water availability for the needsof future generations, as recommended in the Brundtland Report (WCED 1987). It is known that poor households often suffer from poor water provision, and this results in a significant loss of time and effort, especially for women. Sullivan provided a summary of different approaches to establish a Water Poverty Index by linking the physical and social sciences to address this issue (Sullivan, Caroline. 2002 “Calculating a Water Poverty Index.” World Development. 30:7: 1195–1210).”

Sir Richard Branson Founder and CEO, Virgin Group, (Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) is on The Copenhagen Climate Council. He “has recently pledged all profits from his Virgin air and rail interests over the next 10 years to combating rising global temperatures. However, the estimated $3bn will be invested in Virgin Fuels. Much of the investment will focus on biofuels, an alternative to oil-based fuels made from plants. [...] “…in our particular case we are putting all the profit we have got from our airline business into trying to develop clean fuels so that hopefully one day we can actually have fuels that we can fly our plains by, that will not do any damage to the environment (Branson).”

Selected Watersheds

Bow River watershed

The San Joaquin River watershed originates in Martha Lake (California) and winds through California for 530 km flowing into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and then San Francisco Bay. The basin area is 83,000 km2.

Selected Timeline of Events Related to Watersheds: Licensing Blue Gold or Managing a Human Right

1728 Mennonite brothers, the Bechtels, came to America in the early 1700s from Switzerland.

1846 German-born Heinrich Kreiser (aka Henry Miller) (Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) immigrated to the United States arriving in California in 1850. The Miller and Lux company became the largest producer of cattle in California and one of the largest landowners in the United States, owning 1,400,000 acres (5,700 km2) directly and controlling nearly 22,000 square miles (57,000 km2) of cattle and farm land in California, Nevada, and Oregon. The Miller and Lux Corporation was headquartered in Los Banos, California, on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. Miller played a major role in the development of much of the San Joaquin Valley during the late 19th century.

early 1900s The Alberta agricultural irrigation industry acquired massive water licences. Since then they have relied on the first-in-time, first-in-right licensing system which gave priority to whoever got water licences first (Klaszus 2009-06-25).. In Alberta, water has been traditionally allocated on the “first-in-time, first-in-right” principle for both surface and ground water. The older the licence, the higher that user is on the priority list. This allows the owners of the first licenses issued to access the full amount of water issued before newer licensees have access, regardless of use. Furthermore, water licenses granted under this principle have no expiry date. However, licenses issued under the Water Act are now issued for a fixed period. In a review of Canadian Water Politics (2008) Chris McLaughlin, CEO of the Niagara Escarpment Foundation agreed with the book’s insightful comments that “the historical path dependency of current water allocation privileges – first-in-time, first-in-right – continues to favour entrenched agricultural, industrial and commercial interests who had their water claims institutionalized in law well before the value of “sustainability” was recognized. The reality inhibits institutional change, especially the adaptation of institutions to evolving water conflicts and other shifts social-ecological realities (McLaughlin 2009:31).”

1913 Oil tycoon, John D. Rockefeller, who became the world’s first billionaire, was the wealthiest person in the modern history of the world. Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW)

1930s The Bechtel Six Companies, a joint venture of construction companies built The Hoover Dam, named after President Herbert Hoover). This hydroelectric dam on the Colorado River was at that time the largest civil engineering project ever undertaken.

1940s Friant Dam was constructed as part of the federal Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project in the 1940s. Its purpose was to divert the waters of the San Joaquin to maximize their use to help people, both to irrigate crops and to provide groundwater recharge. Most of the waters of the San Joaquin River are diverted into canals so that the river remains dry for a 17 miles (27 km) except when flood control requires additional releases from the dam.

1950s Using raw materials from watersheds, seas, forests and soils 80% of the global industrial growth since the 1880s occurred since 1950. Industrial production grew more than fifty-fold from 1887-1987. There was already a $13 trillion world economy in 1987 Our Common Future.

1963-10-22 Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru opened the 740-feet high Bhakra multipurpose hydroelectric project claiming to ushering an era of agriculture development, Nehru had aptly declared Bhakra ‘the temple of modern India’.

1966-08 Helsinki Rules on the uses of the Waters of International Rivers. 1966-08. Adopted by the International Law Association at the 52nd conference, held at Helsinki. Report of the Committee on the Uses of the Waters of International Rivers. London: International Law Association (1967).

1969 The world’s first ministry of environment was established in Japan in 1969.

1970 Canada introduced its Ministry of the Environment.

1971 Ontario introduced its Ministry of the Environment.

Late 1970s Most OECD countries had a comprehensive framework of laws and regulations concerning waste and pollution.

1987 “State of the environment: National reports.” Nairobi: UNEP.

1984-1987 The World Commission on Environment and Development reported that between October 1984. and April 1987: “The drought-triggered, environment-development crisis in Africa peaked, putting 36 million people at risk, killing perhaps a million; A leak from a pesticides factory in Bhopal, India, killed more than 2,000 people and blinded and injured over 200,000 more; Liquid gas tanks exploded in Mexico City, killing 1,000 and leaving thousands more homeless; The Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion sent nuclear fallout across Europe, increasing the risks of future human cancers; Agricultural chemicals, solvents, and mercury flowed into the Rhine River during a warehouse fire in Switzerland, killing millions of fish and threatening drinking water in the Federal Republic of Germany and the Netherlands; An estimated 60 million people died of diarrhoeal diseases related to unsafe drinking water and malnutrition; most of the victims were children (WCED 1987).”

1987. The World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) published their report entitled “Our Common Future,” known as the Brundtland Report.

1987 Report of the Expert Group Meeting on Strategic Approaches to Freshwater Management

1989 “[The] government of Argentina embarked on a major privatization program, and water and sewage were not excluded (Orwin 1999-08).” This contract [was] terminated in 1999. Problems with quality and cost prompted the new government, which had been in opposition when the contract was negotiated, to take the action. The major partner in the consortium, Vivendi, sued the region for compensation ( Orwin 1999-08).”

1992-04 Three Gorges Dam, so enormous it would become the world’s biggest dam, sparked the biggest political debate in Communist China’s history in the National People’s Congress, China’s annual parliament. Nearly one-third voted against the dam or abstained – an unprecedented figure (Coonan 2006-03-17.

1992 The degree of water privatization in Canada and the United States was minimal. While more than half of the American water utilities were privately owned, and while cities such as Indianapolis and Atlanta were increasingly contracting out their water and sewage services, public utilities remained the norm in large cities; in 1992, they served 85 per cent of the U. S. population ( From Orwin 1999-08).

Early 1990s “[C]ritics in both the public and the private sector had questioned the appropriateness of a regulatory approach based on what was called “the old system of command and approaches such as economic instruments or voluntary measures. At the same time, governments were facing strong fiscal pressures to reduce the cost of their operations in order to stop the downward spiral of growing deficits and debt. These fiscal pressures were given ideological impetus by political parties that favored deregulation, downsizing and privatization (Ministry of the Environment research 2000).”

1992 Sullivan (1992) called for the political will and institutional acceptance so that individual countries would be enable to produce their own integrated assessments of water poverty. She recommended the use of participatory action research at the community level to involve and educate local people in terms of their water needs enabling them to better understand, communicate and negotiate with policy makers. “By providing information about household welfare, and water stress at the household and community level, this locally generated data can form the core of the Water Poverty Index (WPI).

1993 “The initial hopes for privatisation were so high that donor spending on infrastructure fell in the expectation that the private sector would take up the slack. For example, World Bank lending for infrastructure investment declined by 50 per cent during 1993-2002, with much of this directed towards preparing firms for privatisation. In 2002, Bank lending for water and sanitation projects, in particular, was only 25 per cent of its annual average during 1993-97. At the same time, the World Bank increased its support for private investment in utilities through its International Finance Corporation (IFC) and its Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). While Bank lending to public electricity utilities dropped from about $2.9 billion in 1990 to only $824 million in 2001, its sector lending to private investors rose from $45 million to $687 million. Lending about $20 billion to water supply projects over the last 12 years, the World Bank has not only been a principal financier of privatisation, it has also increasingly made its loans conditional on local governments privatising their waterworks. The ICIJ’s study of 276 World Bank water supply loans from 1990 to 2002 showed that 30 per cent required privatisation – the majority in the last five years (Molina and Chowla 2008-09-26.“)

1994 Ontario passed the Environmental Bill of Rights.

1994 In Ecuador the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) giving a grant to the government to set up the necessary reforms of pricing and regulatory procedures to encourage further privatization in the water and sewage sector. By 1999 The government of Ecuador planned on privatizing all water utilities, for the sake of financing further investment ( Orwin 1999-08).

1995-06 Mike Harris as Premier of Ontario , declared a “Common Sense Revolution” in which he announced that Ontario was “open for business” promised to cut red tape and get government (particularly the Environment ministry) “out of the face” of business. Over the next two years, the budget of Moe was cut nearly 50% and the staff was reduced by more than 40% . The impact of these cuts on the capacity of Moe to serve the public interest in relation to the taro operations was cited in print media coverage of the controversy (Ministry of the Environment (MOE) research 2000).”

1995-11 The World Bank offered large loans to Bogota, Columbia to convert the dysfunctional municipal monopoly into a privatized utility.

Postel, S. L. (1996). Dividing the waters: food security, ecosystem health, and the new policies of scarcity. Worldwatch Paper No. 132, P29. Washington, DC:
Worldwatch Institute.

1996-12 The government of Chili “introduced a bill to fully privatize state-run water works, the first such legislation in South America. It faced strong opposition even within the ruling coalition but the bill was passed with some compromises, including a stipulation that the government must maintain 35 per cent equity, with some of the remainder being owned by the company employees. In April 1997, the government announced its intention to privatize wastewater treatment as well. The privatization package was finally approved in January 1998, and 55 per cent of the utilities involved were expected to be privatized by March 1999. ( From Orwin 1999-08).

1997-03 The 1st World Water Forum was held in Marrakech, Morocco.

1997-07 La Paz and El Alto, Bolivia “turned their water and sewerage systems over to the French company Lyonnaise des Eaux in July 1997, despite large protests and agitations by the opposition, which periodically paralysed both municipalities. Interestingly, the coalition in favour of the agreement included not only the governments and the water companies but the labor unions as well, who helped ensure the completion of the process. Lyonnaise des Eaux own[ed] 34 per cent of the new company, while a combination of Bolivian and Argentine directors own[ed] the rest ( Orwin 1999-08).”

1998 Postel, S. L. 1998. “Water for food production: will there be enough in 2025?” Biosciences. 28:629–637.

1998-09-17 Orwin’s report on the privatization of water reveals his enthusiasm for the privatization of water and sewage systems. Vivendi and Suez-Lyonnaise des Eaux joined to vie for the concession for Rio de Janeiro’s water and sewage systems. At that time some of Brazil’s municipal governments that own[ed] the water and sewage systems sought private sector help. Aguas de Limeira, a joint venture between the French conglomerate Lyonnaise des Eaux and Companhia Brasileira de Projectos e Obras, provided water and sanitation to the 250,000 people of the Sao Paulo suburb of Limeira. Degremont, Lyon built two water purification plants in Sao Paulo: one for Sao Miguel (population 700,000) and one for Novo Mondo (population 1,000,000) [...] Vivendi acquired 30% shares in Sanepar, which serves seven million people in the state of Parana. ( Orwin 1999-08).”

1998 Author Shripad Dharmadhikary writes: “the Bank’s process of generating knowledge is flawed and exclusionary. It excludes common people, and their traditional expertise and knowledge. The Bank’s knowledge is frequently created by highly paid, often international, consultants, who have little knowledge of local conditions. The knowledge creation is mostly directed towards arriving at a pre-determined set of policies – privatisation and globalisation. This knowledge creation is often selective, in that information, evidence or experiences that do not support these pre-determined outcomes are ignored. The book is based on case studies of the Indian water sector review in 1998, the Bank-support Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (see Update 56), water privatisation in Delhi, and a project for water restructuring in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Dharmadhikary finds that “[the Bank's] policies have cut people’s access to water, led to environmental destruction, resulted in displacement and destitution of people, stifled better options for water resource management, have had huge opportunity costs, and privileged corporate profits over social responsibility and equity.”

1999 “In Canada, virtually all water and sewage systems [were] publicly owned and operated. However, privatization [was] very slowly getting off the ground in Ontario, where private companies serve[d] 500,000 people,(2) approximately 4.5 per cent of the provincial population. There [was] also some scattered private participation in Alberta and British Columbia, and privatization [was] being considered by two of the larger Maritime cities ( Orwin 1999-08).”

1999 The Inter-American Development Bank approved a $70-million loan to reform regulatory systems so as to encourage private sector involvement in Bolivia. Bolivia had begun “major restructuring of the water sector in 1991, which involved the transfer of powers from the central level to the municipal level ( Orwin 1999-08).”

1999 As the water crisis deepens countries are depleting groundwater resources accumulated over thousands of years. In India alone the water table dropped by as much as 3m in 1999. As groundwater is exploited, water tables in parts of China, India, West Asia, the former Soviet Union and the western United States were already dropping by 2004 according to a special 2004 report (Kirby 2004-10-19).

2000-03 The Second World Water Forum in The Hague, The Netherlands “generated a lot of debate on the Water Vision for the Future and the associated Framework for Action, dealing with the state and ownership of water resources, their development potential, management and financing models, and their impact on poverty, social, cultural and economic development and the environment. The Ministerial Declaration identifed meeting basic water needs, securing food supply, protecting ecosystems, sharing water resources, managing risks, valuing water and governing water wisely as the key challenges for our direct future. 15,000 people were involved in the Vision related discussions; there were 5,700 participants in the Forum; there were 114 ministers and official of 130 countries at the Ministerial Conference; 500 journalists; 32,500 visitors at the World Water Fair.”

2000 “The UN-backed World Commission on Water estimated in 2000 that an additional $100bn a year would be needed to tackle water scarcity worldwide (Kirby 2004-10-19).”

2000-04 Water Sciences Branch, Water Management Division, Alberta Environmental Service Limnologist Anne-Marie Anderson reported that the lake levels of Muriel Lake (northeast of Edmonton and close to the hub of oil sands activity, including Imperial’s Cold Lake operation) were monitored since 1967. The lake reached its maximum in 1974, a very wet year but since then water levels declined steadily, a drop in lake level of nearly 3 m in 2000 from 6.6 m in 1962. As a result of the drop in lake levels, shoreline width has increased considerably. This amounts to perhaps a 50 to 60% loss in the volume of water. There are also concerns that the decline in water levels is resulting in a deterioration of lake water quality and fishing. (Anderson 2000-04). Dr. Bill Donahue of the University of Alberta’s Environmental Research and Studies Centre said his research at Muriel Lake suggested that the oil companies’ appetite for water was having a long-term effect. Although heavy rains in 1997 replenished many other lakes in the area, but the level of Muriel Lake is falling again. Mr. Donahue said the addition of chemicals to water used in oil recovery and the fact that much of the recycled water ends up in deep underground reservoirs meant that ”ultimately, it is lost from the normal water cycle (Simon 2002-08-09)..” “The Muriel Lake Basin Management Society was formed in 1999 in response to these severe losses of water. In 2002, Dr. Bill Donahue, with the support of Dr. Dave Schindler, the Gordon Foundation, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada, and ERSC, began a study to determine the local and regional water budgets. Drs. Bill Donahue and Alex Wolfe also began a study of the history of water quality, biology, and climate change in Muriel Lake.”

2000-03 Goals set forth at the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in New York.

2001 The International Freshwater Conference was held in Bonn.

2002 The World Summit on Sustainable Development was held in Johannesburg.

2002-02-15 President Bush pledged to reduce “greenhouse gas intensity” by 18 % from 2002 to 2012. New York Times journalist Paul Krugman cautioned however that the algorithm to calculate “greenhouse gas intensity” divides “greenhouse gas intensity” by the gross national product GDP which by most forecasts will expand by 30% from 2002 to 2012. This proposal then will allow a substantial increase in (mainly carbon dioxide, released by burning fossil fuels) that cause global warming. Krugman argued that the Bush administration exaggerated the economic costs such as the destruction of millions of jobs if the Kyoto Protocol’s environmental regulations were implemented. In 2001 Dick Cheney claimed that environmental rules had caused a shortage of refining capacity.(Krugman 2002-02-15)

2002-08-09 Western Canada had its worst drought in decades and environmentalists, farming groups and others called for tighter control of the oil industry. New York Times Business journalist claimed that Alberta’s oil companies use nearly half as much water as the million people in Alberta’s commercial center, Calgary. [...] The energy industry makes up about a quarter of Alberta’s economy. Processes of extracting oil from conventional wells and from oil sands are water-intensive: c. 10 barrels of water are needed to extract one barrel of oil. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers claimed that about 55% of Alberta’s oil output, totaling 1.55m barrels a day, is now brought to the surface with the help of enhanced water-assisted methods. The water used in the oil sands “ends up in deep underground reservoirs meant that ”ultimately, it is lost from the normal water cycle(Simon 2002-08-09).

2002-11-27 Water was formally recognized as a human right for the first time when the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted the ‘General Comment’ on the right to water, and described the State’s legal responsibility in fulfilling that right. “The human right to drinking water is fundamental to life and health. Sufficient and safe drinking water is a precondition for the realization of human rights.” (UNESCO 2002-11-27).

2003-03 The 3rd World Water Forum held in Kyoto, Shiga and Osaka, Japan “took the debate a step further also within the context of the new commitments of meeting the goals set forth at the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in New York (2000), the International Freshwater Conference in Bonn (2001) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg (2002). The large number of participants ensured that a variety of stakeholders and opinions were represented aiming at accepting differences and finding a common way forward.” There were 24,000 participants, 1000 journalists and 130 ministers in attendance.

2004 A federal judge ruled the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in violation of California law for not letting enough water flow which has resulted in the depletion of the historic Chinook salmon population on the San Joaquin River which it is claimed, once supported the southernmost salmon run in North America.

2004-10-19 BBC News Online environment correspondent, Alex Kirby, explored fears of an impending global water crisis. In 2004 1/3 of the world’s population were already living in water-stressed countries. By 2025, this is expected to rise to two-thirds. His report includes some potential solutions including new technologies that could clean up polluted waters and so making more water useable, more efficient agricultural water-use practices, drought-resistant plants, collecting rainfall, dams, desalinisation. Many of these solutions would require huge quantities of affordable, useable energy sources which also poses an enormous challenge. Kirby concluded, “We have to rethink how much water we really need if we are to learn how to share the Earth’s supply (Kirby 2004-10-19).”

2005-02-16 The Kyoto Protocol climate change conference leading up to the Kyoto Accord was first debated in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, to “establish a legally binding international agreement, whereby all the participating nations commit themselves to tackling the issue of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions.” The objective was to stabilize and reconstruct “greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” The Kyoto negotiations built upon the research of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which predicted an average global rise in temperature of 1.4°C (2.5°F) to 5.8°C (10.4°F) between 1990 and 2100. The agreement finally came into force on 16 February 2005 when following ratification by Russia ratified it on 18 November 2004. As of 14 January 2009, 183 countries and the European Community ratified the agreement. The Kyoto Protocol include “commitments to reduce greenhouse gases that are legally binding; implementation to meet the Protocol objectives, to prepare policies and measures which reduce greenhouse gases; increasing absorption of these gases and use all mechanisms available, such as joint implementation, clean development mechanism and emissions trading; being rewarded with credits which allow more greenhouse gas emissions at home; minimizing impacts on developing countries by establishing an adaptation fund for climate change; accounting, reporting and review to ensure the integrity of the Protocol; compliance by establishing a compliance committee to enforce compliance with the commitments under the Protocol.” wiki

2005-06-08 John Vidal, environment editor for the Guardian based on according to US State Department papers, claimed that pressure from ExxonMobil, the world’s most powerful oil company, and other industries, influenced President George Bush in his decision to not sign the Kyoto global warming treaty(Vidal 2005-06-08).

2005-06-09 BBC reported that Philip Cooney, Chief of Staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, “which helps devise and promote the administration’s policies on environmental issues [...] removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that had already been approved by government scientists.” According to the New York Times Cooney “made dozens of changes to reports issued in 2002 and 2003, and many appeared in final versions of major administration climate reports.” Rick Piltz formerly from the office of co-ordinates U. S. government climate research resigned and reported the watered down reports to the New York Times. Philip Cooney, a lawyer by training has no scientific education. He was a lobbyist at the American Petroleum Institute, the largest oil industry trade group. He is a lawyer by training, with no scientific background. (BBC 2005-06-09).

2006-03-22 The 4th World Water Forum was held in Mexico City with seven days of debates and exchanges. Close to 20,000 people from throughout the world participated in 206 working sessions where a total of 1600 local actions were presented. Participants included official representatives and delegates from 140 countries out of which 120 mayors and 150 legislators, 1395 journalists experts, NGOs, companies, civil society representatives were involved. The Ministerial Conference brought together 78 Ministers.

2006-03 Uruguay, Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and other countries drafted a counter declaration at the 2006 World Water Forum when the official ministerial declaration did not include water as a human right (Karunananthan 2009-03-18).

2006-03 According to an article by (Coonan 2006-03-17, environmentalists viewed the 2006 completion of the Three Gorges dam on the Yangtze River in China, the world’s biggest, as a monstrous natural catastrophe. Between one to two two million people were moved because their homes were flooded by the rising water of the reservoir. Environmental activist and journalist Dai Qing, the most famous opponent of Three Gorges dam, wrote a book entitled Yangtze! Yangtze!, for which she was imprisoned for 10 months in a maximum security prison and faced with the treat of the death sentence. She opposed the dam because of the lack of public debate, the lack of independent analysis. “Further along the river, construction of Xiloudu dam has begun, which will be the third biggest in the world when it is finished. Three other dams are in the exploration stage near Xiloudu – including one that will flood the beautiful Tiger Leaping Gorge in Sichuan province. All four of these dams together will produce more electricity than the Three Gorges dam (Coonan 2006-03-17.”

2000 Oscar Olivera’s article in The Guardian described how the water wars began in Cochabamba, Bolivia when Bechtel, a large multinational, came there with the intention of taking control of the water supply and privatizing it in 2000.Olivera 2006-07-19.”

2006-08-31 The Alberta provincial government under Premier Stelmach closed southern Alberta river basins to new water licences when they realized they had over-allocated water. Some growing municipalities with junior licences began the long and laborious process of negotiating transfers water licenses from willing irrigators and other senior licensees (Klaszus 2009-06-25).. “Alberta Environment announced the province will no longer accept new water licence applications for the Bow, Oldman, and South Saskatchewan sub-basins. Water allocations may still be obtained through water allocation transfers. The newly minted water management plan, the first of its kind in Alberta, will ban new demands from the three rivers, which are part of the South Saskatchewan River basin that feeds water to Calgary, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Brooks and Medicine Hat (Alberta Water).”

2006-2009 According to Alberta Environment about 30 water licence transfers have occurred between junior and senior licensees since 2006 when Premier Stelmach closed southern Alberta river basins to new water licences (Klaszus 2009-06-25).

2007 The Province of Alberta’s budget showed a surplus of $8.5 billion. Alberta is the economic engine of Canada but it is also the country’s worst industrial greenhouse gas emitter. Calgary-based EnCana alone earned profits of $6.4 billion, a record-breaking sum. An energy war is predicted between Eastern and Western Canada (Kohler 2007-10-08).

2007-10-08 Journalist Kohler reviewed William Marsden’s (2007) book entitled em>Stupid to the Last Drop in which outlined the environmental threats posed by Alberta’s energy industry, claiming that the [province of Alberta were] going to be the “architects of their own destruction.” “Left unfettered, Alberta’s energy sector will, by the end of this century, transform the southern part of the province into a desert and its north into a treeless, toxic swamp. Driven both by global warming and oil and gas developments, temperatures in Alberta will soar by as much as eight degrees. The Athabasca River will slow to a trickle, parching the remainder of the province’s forests and encouraging them to burst into flame, generating vast quantities of CO2. (Kohler 2007-10-08).”

2007 Despite comprising only a fraction of Canada’s households, the wealthiest families control almost half the investable assets: $1.3-trillion of $2.4-trillion. The “vast majority” of that $1.3-trillion held by wealthy families is controlled by the decamillionaires. They are the ones with “family offices.” Tim Cestnick, of WaterStreet Family Wealth Counsel, set the threshold for High New Worth HNW as $5-million to $20-million in net worth and for Ultra High New Worth UHNW at $20-million-plus. Bederman classified households with $1-million to $5-million as “mass millionaires.” There were 335,000 such households in Canada in 2007. There were 60,000 “penta millionaires” (with net worths of $5-million to $10-million) and 20,000 decamillionaire households with more than $10-million in 2007. Despite comprising only a fraction of Canada’s households, the wealthiest families control almost half the investable assets: $1.3-trillion of $2.4-trillion. The “vast majority” of that $1.3-trillion held by wealthy families is controlled by the decamillionaires. They are the ones with “family offices “Chevreau, Jonathan. 2007-05-14).

2007-10-03 Funded by a $30 million grant from the Government of Alberta through Alberta Ingenuity, (whose President and CEO is Dr. Peter Hackett) the Alberta Water Research Institute (chaired by Dr. Lorne Taylor, the former Minister of Alberta Environment) claim they will fund innovative, practical water research that will “tackle some of Alberta’s most pressing water-related environmental issues, including habitat decline, biodiversity loss, water flow and water quality. [T]he research will involve a multi-disciplinary approach — including biologists, engineers, economists and other social scientists — to provide the knowledge water users, managers, industry, policy makers and consumers to help them make informed choices. [T]he Alberta Water Research Institute works in collaboration with The Alberta Energy Research Institute (AERI).” Their work focusses on Water Treatment and Recycling; Oilsands Tailings Treatment with water recycling; reducing water use in electrical power generation

2007-11-07 T. Boone Pickens engineered one of a shrewd takeover of an 8 acres stretch of scrub-land near Amarillo, Roberts County, Texas. The acquisition of this land was “central to Pickens’ plan to create an agency to condemn property and sell tax-exempt bonds in the search for one of his other favorite commodities: water. Approval of the water district was all but certain as Texans voted Tuesday in state and local elections. By law, only the two people who actually live on the eight acres will be allowed to vote: the manager of Pickens’ nearby Mesa Vista ranch and his wife. The other three owners, who will sit on the district’s board, all work for Pickens. Pickens “has pulled a shenanigan,” said Phillip Smith, a rancher who serves on a local water-conservation board. “He’s obtained the right of eminent domain like he was a big city. It’s supposed to be for the public good, not a private company.” Pickens and his allies say no shenanigans are involved. Once the district is created, the board will be able to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance construction of Pickens’ planned 328-mile, $2.2 billion pipeline to transport water from the Panhandle across the prairie to the suburbs of Dallas and San Antonio. If Pickens can’t find a buyer for the bonds or for his water – and he hasn’t yet – he might buy the bonds himself to jump-start the project, said his Dallas-based lawyer, Monty Humble of Vinson and Elkins. The board will spend about $110 million to buy the right-of-way for the pipeline, using the power of eminent domain to acquire property if necessary, Humble said. Still, Pickens faces obstacles. To help pay for construction, he plans to piggyback wind power on the water infrastructure. He plans wind farms on the ranchland and wants to run electricity cables along the right-of-way of Mesa’s water pipeline. All told, the wind and water project is expected to cost more than $10 billion. Pickens said he has about $100 million invested so far. “This is a $10 billion project,” he said in an interview. “It better be profitable.” Most of all, he needs a group of confirmed buyers for his water. That’s in part because of political resistance to his plan for acquiring water rights. Several Dallas-area water districts have refused to sign up. “We have real concerns about private control of water,” said Ken Kramer, director of the Texas Sierra Club. “Water is a resource, yet in some respects it is a commodity. It’s as essential to human life as air. That puts water in a different class.” John Spearman Jr., a Roberts County rancher and chairman of the Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District, is one of many local critics who contend that Pickens’ water play could upset conservation efforts and seeks to profit from shortages of a vital resource. “He has the legal authority to do it,” Spearman says. “We can’t stop him (Woellert 2007-11-07.”

2008-06-12 In 2008 he introduced “The Pickens Plan, [which called] for the United States to cut its dependence on foreign oil by more than one-third by making natural gas and wind power much bigger parts of America’s energy supply.” (CBC 2009-06-17.) “T. Boone Pickens [...] owns more water than any other individual in the U.S. and is looking to control even more. He hopes to sell the water he already has, some 65 billion gallons a year, to Dallas, transporting it over 250 miles, 11 counties, and about 650 tracts of private property. The electricity generated by an enormous wind farm he is setting up in the Panhandle would also flow along that corridor. As far as Pickens is concerned, he could be selling wind, water, natural gas, or uranium; it’s all a matter of supply and demand. “(Berfield 2008).” Business Week

2008-05-08 The U.S. Senate committee gave its approval to restore a 240 km stretch of the dried-up San Joaquin River and the historic Chinook salmon run spawning area. The settlement agreement, supported by almost every member of the California congressional delegation, anticipated spending as much as $800 million U.S. with farmers paying c. $330 million, and the rest from California bonds and the federal government.

2008-06 T. Boone Pickens a Texas oil tycoon, who sees water as blue gold and already owns more of it than any other American. He thirsts to increase his water assets and he is now showing a great interest in Alberta. While he has carefully massaged his media image to be tauted as environmentally friendly and he has generously gifted the University of Calgary, his methods are shrewd, buying what others see as useless until they realize how much control he has over their water supply. He is persistent and worked for decades to change laws in his favour in the Canada River watershed in Texas. Pickens donated $2.25 million in 2006 to establish the Boone Pickens Centre for Neurological Science and Advanced Technologies at the the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, which was created by Pickens’ long-time friend Calgary Flames co-owner Harley Hotchkiss with a gift of $15 million in 2004. In June 2008 Pickens donated another $25 million to research at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute which is the largest donation ever given to the University of Calgary by a single person and the only philanthropic donation Pickens has made outside the U.S. Pickens, who has an estimated net worth of $3 billion, has given away $700 million from 2003 to 2008. Pickens lived in Calgary briefly in the 1960s working as a geologist ( “CBC 2008-06-20).”

2008-09-26 Molina and Chowla argued that the World Bank has been a principal financier of privatisation and has increasingly made its loans conditional on local governments privatising their waterworks. The ICIJ’s study of 276 World Bank water supply loans from 1990 to 2002 showed that 30 per cent required privatisation – the majority in the last five years (Molina and Chowla 2008-09-26.“). The initial hopes for privatisation have faded as governments work towards de-privatization of water services (Molina and Chowla 2008-09-26.“)

2009-03-18The Council of Canadians, Our Water Commons, Food and Water Watch and other organizations held a panel at the official World Water Forum to launch a report highlighting success stories of communities working to protect the water commons through a communitarian approach to water management and calling for the recognition of water as a human right.Karunananthan 2009-03-18. .”

2009-03-16 to 2009-03-22 The world’s biggest water-related event, with over 25,000 participants, the Fifth World Water Forum was held in Istanbul, Turkey on the theme of “Bridging Divides for Water.”

2009-06 Jim Webber, general manager of the Western Irrigation District wants the province to respect the first-in-time, first-in-right licensing system to prevent an economic disaster for the 400+ farms east of Calgary and a handful of communities, including Strathmore (Klaszus 2009-06-25).

2009-03-29 The United States Congress appropriated $88 million to help fund the restoring of salmon spawning grounds as part of a bill providing wilderness protection to more than 2 millions acres in nine states.

2009-06-29 In California the debate has become increasingly polarized between agriculture and environmental interests over the distribution of water in the face of a three year drought that has left 450,000 acres unplanted in California as well as causing the third collapse of the salmon industry as the San Joaquin River spawning grounds dried up. (In 2004 a federal judge ruled the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in violation of California law for not letting enough water flow which has resulted in the depletion of the historic Chinook salmon population on the San Joaquin River which it is claimed, once supported the southernmost salmon run in North America. ) In Fresno County alone, normally the US most important agriculture county, farmers cannot plant in 262,000 acres because of a lack of water.Cone 2009-06-29).

CBC. 2009-06-17. “Texas oil billionaire eyes Alberta wind power.”

Notes

1. March 22nd is World Water Day

2. Since moving to Calgary, Alberta we have been following our source of city water. The Bow Glacier was stunningly beautiful last August. But like glaciers worldwide it is receding. The Elbow River which also flows through Calgary was very high this year even though much of Alberta’s farmland was experiencing a devastating drought. We’ve installed rainbarrels, planted drought-resistance perennials, overseeded our water-thirsty Kentucky grass with Sheep’s Fescue and generally tried to be more water wise, I am following water stories. Alberta has four major rivers tha drain most of the province: 1. The Peace and 2. Athabaska rivers drain the northern half of Alberta with their waters joining water from Lake Athabaska to form Alberta’s largest river, the Slave River, which flows into the Northwest Territories and on to the Arctic Ocean; 3. The North Saskatchewan River winds through the foothills and parkland of central Alberta. 4. The South Saskatchewan River, which is fed by three rivers that arise in the mountains, makes it way through dry farmland and prairie. The North and South Saskatchewan rivers join in the province of Saskatchewan and become the Nelson-Churchill system, and their waters eventually reach Hudson Bay There is also the smaller Beaver River, which flows through the heart of the Lakeland Region and then into the Churchill system and the Milk River, which passes briefly into Alberta
from Montana before returning south to flow finally to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico (Mitchell, Prepas and Crosby 1990:3) For a detailed map and more information visit Alberta Water

2. Moore Lake, c. 280 km northeast of Edmonton is a very popular recreational lake in Alberta’s Lakeland Region. Moore Lake is part of the Beaver Lake watershed. It is a headwater lake with outlets from the east shore into Hilda and Ethel Lakes and eventually into the Beaver River (which flows through the heart of the Lakeland Region and then into the Churchill system and the Milk River, which passes briefly into Alberta from Montana before returning south to flow finally to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico (Mitchell, Prepas and Crosby 1990:275).” “Moore Lake is underlain by the Muriel Lake Aquifer. In [1990] the principal water sources for regional water needs were the aquifers and not the lake. The largest water users in the area [were] the oil sands industries. Oil sands and petroleum and natural gas leases in the Moore drainage basin are held by several companies, including Esso Resources and Husky Oil. The oil sands permits allow the companies to test and set up drilling operations for subsurface oil deposits, including those under the lake surface. There are no signficant gas pools in the area. As a result of Alberta Environmental studies of the water resources in the Cold Lake-Beaver River basin in the early 1980s, a long-term plan for water resources management in the Cold Lake region was adopted by the government in 1985. Under the provisions of this plan, Moore Lake will not become a major water supply for the oil industry. Major industrial water users will be required to obtain their water from a pipeline from the North Saskatchewan River (Mitchell, Prepas and Crosby 1990:275).”

3. History of Moore Lake and the Beaver River. “Woodland Cree occupied the region when the fur traders first arrived. The Beaver River, to the south of Moore Lake, was part of a major fur trade route from Lac Isle-a-la-Crosse, Saskatchewan to the Athabaska River. The first fur-trading post in the area was Cold Lake House. It was established by the North West Company in 1781 on the Beaver River near the present-day hamlet of Beaver Crossing (Mitchell, Prepas and Crosby 1990:273).”.” “Moore Lake is underlain by the Muriel Lake Aquifer. In [1990] the principal water sources for regional water needs were the aquifers and not the lake. The largest water users in the area [were] the oil sands industries. Oil sands and petroleum and natural gas leases in the Moore drainage basin are held by several companies, including Esso Resources and Husky Oil. The oil sands permits allow the companies to test and set up drilling operations for subsurface oil deposits, including those under the lake surface. There are no signficant gas pools in the area. As a result of Alberta Environmental studies of the water resources in the Cold Lake-Beaver River basin in the early 1980s, a long-term plan for water resources management in the Cold Lake region was adopted by the government in 1985. Under the provisions of this plan, Moore Lake will not become a major water supply for the oil industry. Major industrial water users will be required to obtain their water from a pipeline from the North Saskatchewan River (Mitchell, Prepas and Crosby 1990:275).”

4. For amusement I am also reading an entertaining science fiction called Watermind that begins with a foaming journey of nano technology from Alberta down the Milk River flowing down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico collecting toxic waste and data all along the way.

5. Western-style lifestyles and diets which are heavy on beef require much more water than healthier cereal or pulse-based diets (1 kg of grain-fed beef needs at least 15 cubic metres of water, while a 1 kg of cereals needs only up to three cubic metres). Pulse crops (including Dry beans, Kidney bean, haricot bean, pinto bean, navy bean, Lima bean, butter bean, Azuki bean, adzuki bean, Mung bean, golden gram, green gram, Black gram, Urad, Scarlet runner bean, Dry peas, Garden pea, Chickpea, Garbanzo, Bengal gram Black-eyed pea, blackeye bean, Lentil) commonly consumed with grain, provide a complete protein diet. Pulses are 20 to 25% protein by weight, which is double the protein content of wheat and three times that of rice. Pulses are sometimes called “poor man’s meat”. Pulses are the most important dietary predictor of survival in older people. In the Seven Countries Study legume consumption was highly correlated with a reduced mortality from coronary heart disease.

6. This Google Map below (a work in progress) traces some of the areas of concern regarding our watersheds where substantial control concentration of access, rights and strategic assets are quietly being acquired by individuals or individual families. The most troubling of these includes T. Boone Pickens who sees water as blue gold and already owns more of it than any other American. He thirsts to increase his water assets and he is now showing a great interest in Alberta. While he has carefully massaged his media image to be tauted as environmentally friendly and he has generously gifted the University of Calgary, his methods are shrewd, buying what others see as useless until they realize how much control he has over their water supply. He is persistent and worked for decades to change laws in his favour in the Canada River watershed in Texas.

7. Tim Cestnick, founder of WaterStreet Family Wealth Counsel, in 2007 set the threshold for High Net Worth HNW as $5-million to $20-million in net worth and for Ultra High Net Worth UHNW at $20-million-plus.

My Google Map: Blue Gold

Selected Bibliography

Anderson, Anne-Marie. 2000-04. “An Evaluation of Changes in Water Quality of Muriel Lake.” Limnologist, Water Sciences Branch, Water Management Division, Environmental Service.

Beck, Ulrich. 1992. Risk Society.

Barlow, Maud; Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water.

Barlow, Maud. 2004-03. Maude Barlow, CBC Interview. CBC.

CBC. 2008-06-20. “Billionaire hands U of C unexpected $25M gift.”

Brownsey, Keith. “Enough for Everyone: Policy Fragmentation and Water Institutions in Alberta” in Sproule-Jones, Mark; Johns, Carolyn; Heinmiller, B. Timothy. 2008-11-20. Canadian Water Politics: Conflicts and Institutions. McGill-Queen’s University Press. pp. 133-156.

CBC. 2009-06-17. “Texas oil billionaire eyes Alberta wind power.”

CBC. 2009-03-06. “Wind power: The global race to harness wind.”

Clarke, Tony; Barlow, Maude. The Battle for Water.

Cone, Tracie. AP. 2009-06-29. “Battle over water heats up in drought-stricken California.” USA Today.

Coonan, Clifford. 2006-03-17. “The dammed: Environmentalists watch and wait for opening of world’s largest dam.” The Independant.”

Dillon, Sam. 1998-01-28. “Mexico City sinking into depleted aquifer.”

Government of Ontario. 1998-03-09. “Government’s role in operation of water and sewage treatment systems to be reviewed.” Office of Privatization News Release. Toronto: Queen’s Park.

Helsinki Rules on the uses of the Waters of International Rivers. 1966-08. Adopted by the International Law Association at the 52nd conference, held at Helsinki. Report of the Committee on the Uses of the Waters of International Rivers. London: International Law Association (1967).

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