The Blackmail Begins
One of the reasons I still read the newspaper (besides being old) is the chance you might come across something you're not looking for. You can't google, "What might be important or interesting?"
I was flipping through the Globe and Mail this morning and accidentally discovered a case of corporate blackmail. It was subtle and I would not have spotted it without the words "environmental rules" in the title (Yes, I could have googled "environmental," but I would have received thousands of meaningless hits).
UTS Energy Corp apparently owns 20% of the proposed Foot Hills tar sands mine and last week it announced it was lowering its estimate of the recoverable bitumen (natural form of tar) reserves. The company says only 490 million barrels can be economically extracted from the 2 to 4 billion barrels at the site. Why is this?
The company says this is too expensive --- it might cost $3-$4 more a barrel. Oh the expense. Can't you just picture the TV appeals to send donations to help the starving investors!
It gets scarier. Suncor, the senior partner in Foot Hills, doesn't see a problem for this project. Nor do several other big tar sands companies including, the poor cash strapped, Imperial Oil-Exxon family. Yet, Davis Sheremata of the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board (the regulator), according to the Globe and Mail, says, "Our regulations always evolve. The goal is not to significantly increase overall costs of mining the resource. And so if we are hearing that this is going to result in overall mining costs for an entire project, that's something we would be willing to look at."
Well Davis, you keep on looking out for the interests of the oil companies and they will still be here long after us humans.
UTS' move has no other goal than to soften the already soft resolve of the Alberta government to control pollution. It's nothing more than old fashioned blackmail and UTS should think about what it's doing.