Thursday, April 26, 2012

'Ethical Oil's predecessor died today

Before 'Ethical Oil' there was 'Carbon Capture'. For years CCS technology was the standard response to environmental criticism of oilsands development. Of course it was a flawed public relations strategy as the $2billion price tag tended to steal the spotlight. In a less publicized annoucement today, Alberta's Pioneer Carbon Capture project has been cancelled. The reason?
A major carbon capture and storage project in Alberta has been cancelled after the three partners decided it was not economical.
The project was shelved after Pioneer’s feasibility study. “Following the conclusion of the [feasibility] study, the industry partners determined that, although the technology works and capital costs were in line with expectations, the market for carbon sales and the price of emissions reductions were insufficient to allow the project to proceed,” Pioneer said in a statement Thursday.
Perhaps it's fitting with a subtle irony that the 'Pioneer' project has been cancelled, of course with Ethical Oil around now to take the public relations hits the cancelling of the CCS probably won't be addressed by the government. You probably won't be hearing them mention about how CCS was a sure-thing even though back in 2009 there was plenty of evidence that the costs were not adding up to the hype.

Aside from the monumental waste of money and environmental failure this represents, it also represents a complete incompetence in management and planning both of financial and of oilsands production. It should call in to question the Alberta and Federal government's capacity to model oilsands development in a responsible way. What we have gotten instead are reactionary protectionist measures meant to deal with the public relations problems oilsands development creates. Anyone with half-a-brain could see that CCS was a "solution" the government could point to when questioned, one that would never be realized on a practical level.

Still have confidence in the rest of their "action plans"?

* ADDENDUM *

BTW, I know the CCS are used for power plants, not oilsands. However this did not stop the government from using it as public relations excuse for oilsands. That's the point: it doesn't even solve the problem they were touting a solution for!

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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

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