Thursday, February 11, 2010

It May Not be Environmentalists Who Shut Down the Tarsands But Investors

The trouble with having the most secretive government on the planet, and a media that nurtures it's secrecy; is that we have to read online papers from across the globe to discover what's happening in our own country.

I'm not a scientist or an investment specialist by any means. Just a curious old broad who had a light bulb moment.

And in that moment, the future of the tar sands flashed before my eyes.

It started with a story out of the UK, covered by the Bloomberg Press:

BP Shareholders Protest Canadian Oil Sands Project
By Fred Pals
Feb. 8, 2010

BP Plc shareholders put a resolution to the annual meeting on April 15 for a review of the risks of the company’s Canadian oil sands project, following a similar protest against competitor Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

A coalition of investors requested the review in a resolution to BP’s annual meeting, FairPensions, the campaign’s coordinator, said in a statement today. The risks include increased carbon costs and reputational damage from environmental damage, according to London-based FairPensions, which represents unions, charities and faith groups.

“There’s now a growing group of investors who are questioning the wisdom of BP’s apparent move from ‘Beyond Petroleum’ to ‘Back to Petroleum’, which these resolutions illustrate,” Louise Rouse, director of Investor Engagement at FairPensions, said in the statement. “Investors are learning from recent shocks that it is in their interest to act as responsible owners.”

About 140 investors back the resolution, according to Duncan Exley, a director at FairPensions. The amount of shares held wasn’t provided.

FairPensions is a blanket organization that works with investors, faith groups and NGOs to ensure that pension dollars go to fund responsible investments.

While growing a nest egg for your retirement, your pension savings could also be paying for environmental destruction, illegal arms sales or the exploitation of workers. That's because the money you pay into your pension fund each month may be invested in businesses with irresponsible practices.

It's interesting to note that KAIROS, one of the first victims of this government's axe, also protested the Tarsands as it related to the future of humanity. They worked in countries being hit the hardest as a result of global warming. But as soon as you bring up the 'humane' word, it becomes a catalyst to the Harper regime and you knew their fate was sealed.

But even worse, they once questioned Israel's possible complicity in war crimes, something that even many Israelis are questioning. Jason Kenney pulled out his old testament, went into a trance, started speaking in tongues and POOF, they were gone.

This brings me to a recent article in the Toronto Star, again about future western investment in the Tarsands:

2 U.S. firms wash hands of tar sands
February 10, 2010
By Mitch Potter Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON-Canada’s controversial tar sands industry took its first retail blow Wednesday as two Fortune 500 companies announced plans to eliminate the high-carbon Alberta fuel from its supply chain.

Are we detecting a trend as investors start to pull out of the project, not because of environmental concerns so much as the cost of cleaning up the oil to meet environmental standards? Perhaps.

Is this why Jim Prentice announced that we are lowering our targets even further and is hinting at an exemption for Alberta?

But what if none of that works, and more and more cautious investors refuse to throw good money at a project with questionable returns? Stephen Harper did promise $800,000,000 of our money for carbon capture, but many people know that's a farce.

We now have to go to Hong Kong for the next stage of the story:

Korean Oil puts Canada on its radar
Miyoung Kim and Joseph Chaney

SEOUL/HONG KONG - Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC), sitting on a multi-billion-dollar warchest, is setting its sights on Canada as the state-owned company aims to ramp up production and catch up to Asian rivals.

Seoul said this month that cashed-up KNOC will spend $6.5-billion (U.S.) on M&A in 2010 in an effort to cut South Korea's almost total dependence on imported oil.

That goal will put the company in direct competition with Asian energy giants such as PetroChina, Malaysia's Petronas, and India's ONGC.

KNOC may be eyeing assets offered by such Canadian companies as its top oil firm Suncor Energy, No.2 independent petroleum producer, EnCana Corp. and No.3 independent oil explorer Talisman Energy.

In addition, Canadian oil sands company Opti Canada and its peer Nexen Inc. are seen as potential acquisition targets. Their shares moved up as recently as late last year on speculation of bids from Chinese energy giants. So far, no public offers have emerged.

Foreign owned, foreign controlled, and propped up with Canadian tax dollars. Gotta' love neoconservatism.

But why would Korea be willing to invest in a project with a questionable future, because of environmental concerns?

Drum roll please ...

Back to Bloomberg Press

Harper Says Global Recovery Must Precede Environment
By Rob Delaney
Dec. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he will use Canada’s co-chairmanship of next year’s Group of 20 countries meeting to urge members to put economic recovery before efforts to protect the environment.

“Without the wealth that comes from growth, the environmental threats, the developmental challenges and the peace and security issues facing the world will be exponentially more difficult to deal with,” Harper said in an address to South Korea’s National Assembly.

So where will we find the next bit of news on what's happening in Canada? Maybe I'll check out the Timbuktu Gazette.

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