Rant:Moratorium on Oil Drilling

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On July 12th, Premier Gordon Campbell said Finance Minister Ralph Goodale "felt he would be willing to do anything he could to help" in lifting the moratorium on offshore exploration. Campbell was speaking to reporters at the annual meeting of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region organization.

Mr. Campbell does not represent the majority of BC citizens on this topic. Exploring for a soon-to-be outdated form of energy in a highly environmentally sensitive area does not make sense on any level. Economically, wind power delivers twice as many jobs per dollar invested.

Increasing our dependence on fossil fuels is not a wise course for Canada's future and well-being. Globalized Oil Corporations are as much of a lumbering dinosaur as the fossils that fuel them.

Sell your car and shoot your TV


Not that I am for Big Oil companies, or for oil drilling off shore of BC (I don't know enough about it, but if they can do it off of Newfoundland safely then why not here?)....

But if not for oil, then you can kiss most of the computer you typed your post in on goodbye, also kiss off your CD's your Bike tires, your shoes, your Mcdonalds uniform, the milk crate you are standing on and preaching from, the cool whip on your latte and many other daily items. Gas is not the only product to come from oil. Most of todays common items rely on oil to make them. And if not to make them, then to transport them to your local Walmart or other retail outlet for you to purchase.

Life as we know it today is intertwined with the oil industry so more oil autonomy for Canada is a good thing vs. reliance on the Middle East, Asia or Venezuela for oil. Also, these areas are where environmental concerns take a distant back seat (more like locked in the trunk) vs. profit and jobs -noted that I have no evidence of this other than heresay and reputation). So comparatively oil from Canadian sources would likely be the better consumer choice from a whole Earth policy basis.

Rant response over.

VICTORIA/CKNW(AM980)--A consortium trying to build a 1.5 billion dollar wind farm in Hecate Strait off the Queen Charlotte Islands used the Victoria Energy Conference to show off its proposal.

Michael Margolick with Nai Kun Wind Development says the project could generate up to 700 mega-watts, but the group has not received a commitment from BC Hydro to buy the power, "BC Hydro is interested. We maintain ongoing contact with them on an informal basis, and we're quite hopeful that we'll be able to market the electricity to them when they need it."

Margolick says the project is still in the feasibility stage but the first turbines could be on line by 2006.

Oh, and by all means, sell or shoot your car, but the tv!??!!! For God sakes, think of the children!




The stock response to your comment that we need oil for a host of other things is that if that's the case, why are we burning it in cars where it can never be reclaimed, reused, recycled or what have you?

Also, they're doing amazing things with hemp these days.... Mmm, hemp, is there anything it can't do?


We're burning it in cars because gasoline is just one by-product of the oil refining process. And it's not like you can change the process to get more gas out of oil and less of other byproducts. One barrel of oil produces x amount of gasoline, x, amout of jet fuel, x amount of cool whip x amount of vaseline (mmm vaseline) etc..... and it is pretty much a constant net of waste in the system that could be reduced. So you want a bike tire, you get a bike tire and a gallon of gas. May as well use that gas somehow. (neat side bar - gasoline was originally only used as a local anesthetic.)

Hemp is great stuff, makes a fine smoky haze when you burn it - just like gas.

oh and remember guns don't kill TV's, People with guns kill TV's.

Although there is some strong evidence that hemp per cubic foot of material yields more than most fibrous plants there are far too many reasons not to use it. Primarily in order to realistically use it on a large scale you'd basically need to cut down 10 or 15% of our forests and plant hemp plantations. Huge area's of the province would then be devoted to hemp agriculture rather than the current practice of reforestation.

Arguably this isn't so bad, because you'd get something like the same yield from a much smaller land base for hemp, and thus the other 80% or so would remain forested, but I for one don't want to see huge hemp plantations scattered throughout the province, I'd rather see the logging industry continue.

Although I'd much rather a more selective logging process which, although more labour intensive, seems to generate similar profits for the companies.

Anyways, I don't think there's that much overlap between what Hemp solves and oil solves.

Furthermore, wind power doesn't feul cars. Gas does. Setting up turbines only generates electricity (this is a good idea) but not fuel. It's better than building more dams, and maybe better than building a nuclear facility, but also doesn't address the same issues.

I should have been clearer. I was referring to hemp's utility as a material from which computer cases, clothes, various oils, etc, can be processed/manufactured. I don't think it's an effective substitute for gas (petrol).

As for cars, I'd maintain that cars are not dependent on oil/gas as they can run on a variety of fuels. Whether or not the oil/gas industry could survive w/out cars however, might be a different story.

As for gas itself, I'd agree with Trav that it's a highly efficient source of energy. Which is why it's a shame we waste it on that most inefficient means of transportation the... (you guessed it, drum roll please) the internal combustion cage-mobile.


Isn't it also true that hemp can be grown on marginal lands where forestry would be impossible or at least impractical? And why the logging industry love affair? Must be more than an affinity for plaid shirts and husqvarna suspenders. ;-) Which is to say, why can't the two co-exist so that we use our hard-to-replace wood for those applications to which it is uniquely suited, and other, more mundane products, (like toilet paper) come from hemp?

I hate to be a doom-sayer, but (IMO, IMO, IMO!) the status quo w/r/t to oil and gas and logging simply isn't sustainable. We can change our ways now in relative leisure and with little impact on our comfort, or freeze in the dark down the road waiting for the research and technological (if you believe technology can combat waste and laziness) advancements that are necessary.


I have a big problem with a couple of posts in this thread. Arguments are put forth that oil is necessary because it is the only way to produce item x (plastics, rubbers), or to generate substance y (gasoline to fuel cars). I realise that this is some idealism, but I hope that somewhere in the back of your head is the fact that if we reduce our consumption of such things (through reduction of packaging, reuse/recycling/better design of objects, smaller-impact transportation options, buying/creating less unnecessary stuff) we can reduce the demand for oil (or alternative source of this stuff).

Also, along the same lines, there are alternatives to petroleum-based resources. Internal combustion engines exist (in fact, are a slight modification of any diesel motor) that burn vegetable oil, which could be sourced from renewable crops like hemp.

As for Dugly's comments that logging is better than hemp cultivation because we'd have to cut down 10% of our forest, well, I don't know about that. See, that would be if BC was providing entirely for the BC market, and resources like hemp can be moved. BC doesn't grow all the wheat we consume here, do we? In fact, I don't think BC grows any, so why would we have to deforest any more here to plant a low-maintenance pest-resistant crop when there's heaps of arable land elsewhere that's suffering under chemical attempts to grow crops that really shouldn't be there?

Oh, and my trivia tid-bit is that Vaseline (tm) was originally developed as a lard replacement because it doesn't go rancid. It's inventor also used to take a tablespoon a day to promote regularity. In other words, it made his shit slippery.


I guess if the hemp growers started wearing plaid I might be swayed to the other side....

Seriously though, there are no "marginal" area's that aren't a part of the ecosystem. And if you were to say plant hemp in all the meadows or whatever then you'd first have to build means of getting to those areas, and also destroy whatever was previously in those areas. If forestry is impossible or impractical there, then what mechanism is it that makes hemp more efficient? Why not grow wheat there? Or some other money crop (as hemp would be)? Simply because the reasons it's impossible is true for almost anything that you plant there.

Also, as for "more mundane" items such as TP being produced from wood, a lot of this is side products of the logging process, but yes, alot of softwood is cut just for that. If we could simple change the newspaper industry to something else we'd save a lot of trees. However trees ARE renewable, BC's Forest industry is in it for the long haul (as far as I can tell. I know a few environmental consultants who work for the gov't and a couple for the logging companies) and it seems to me that trees DO grow back.

I dissagree with cutting down old growth forests, as it seems to me to be unecessary, there's enough renewed forest that they should get along with that. The old growth just gives them better profit. This is the kind of thing I dissagree with.

I agree that it should be a focus of our society to reduce our reliance on oil. I don't think that we should do away with vehicles, I think that the convenience and utility of personal vehicles is too great a social good to remove. (as I guess we've all gone over in that translink thread). But I do think it is a positive step to move away from internal combustion engines, and in particular, those powered by gasoline. Hydrogen power etc is something that we are actively exploring, fuel cells and others. There are now electric cars around that would do as well for most people, but those are still coming, and I believe they will come in time to prevent total disaster.

Sure we have a big dependence on oil... we can definitely change how we do that though.

About oil consumption: 41% of the world's oil is used to make gasoline, compared to 13% used to make diesel. Diesel engines are much more efficient than gasoline engines (due to their higher compression ratio). Also, diesel fuel has a 17% higher energy density than gasoline (155 MJ/gal vs 132 MJ/gal). Would a shift to diesel engines be a good shift? On the surface the answer is no, but once you do a little more research, the answer can change a bit. When diesel is combused, it actually produces less greenhouse gas than gasoline, but it's always accompanied by that dirty, dirty, nasty exhaust. Why is that? Because diesel fuel is dirty! It doesn't have nearly the purity that we find in gasoline, and the reason for that is simply that it is not refined to the same degree. If the sulfur were taken out of diesel, things would be much better. So, with a little investment in technology, diesel could be a much better alternative. Could you imagine how little a diesel hybrid would pollute? (Gasoline engines get fuel economies of ~8-12 L/100km, diesels get 6-9, and gas hybrids get 4-6.)

But that still leaves us with a dependency on fossil fuels, which doesn't seem sustainable. Here's the best kicker I've encountered in a long time: when Diesel invented his engine in 1892, the fuel he used was vegetable oil. Freaking Canola. Eventually, the design was changed to work with fossil-derived diesel, because it was more readily available. The big perks of running off vegetable oil? First, it's mighty clean. And best of all, the CO2 that is produced through combustion is consumed by the very plants that grow the vegetables to make the oil. These days, fuels like this are referred to as biodiesel, and can be produced yourself for less than $0.25/L. Your existing diesel automobile can be modified to work with fuel like this for around $3000.

Sounds to me like a paradigm shift towards diesel engines and sustainable fuels could work. :)

And contrary to what was posted earlier, we're not NOT limited to the fact that in a given barrel of oil there is a a discrete amount of each class of petroleum product present. While it's true that crude contains certain amount of each product, it does not directly contain plastics -- they are produced from less dense constituents of the crude oil during further processing. So while it is true that crude can be naturally divided into different products, we are not obligated to use those products as-is. Gas can be turned into plastic. :)

OK, I think that's all the info I've got for now. Hope it gives some fodder for more discussion.



Jon By Jon

Going right back to the first post:

"Mr. Campbell does not represent the majority of BC citizens on this topic. Exploring for a soon-to-be outdated form of energy in a highly environmentally sensitive area does not make sense on any level. Economically, wind power delivers twice as many jobs per dollar invested."

Well, it won't be outdated if we keep finding more sources of it, right?

And sure it delivers more jobs per dollar invested, but first there has to be a reason to invest the dollars. Which technology generates more energy per dollar invested?

"Which technology generates more energy per dollar invested? "

Oil and gas refining does not generate anything. You are 'harvesting' fossil fuels. Unfortunately, there's no way to replant this crop unless you are willing to wait about a bajillion years.

E.F. Schumacher, author or the economics book "Small is Beautiful" posits that fossil fuel usage is the equivalent of spending capital, not income. Hard to disagree with that analysis given the fact it's unlikely we'll ever be able to replenish our fossil fuels.


It's very easy to disagree with Shumacher. Is Shumacher saying we should save this capital for a rainy day? Not spend it just in case there is a need in the distant future? (distant being over 100yrs as current reserves will likely suffice that long at least) What does he posit we should retain this 'capital' for. In financial circles capital is to be employed to enrich the stakeholders. So we should employ the capital that earth provides for the benefit of earthlings. Some times capital is utilized with no expectation of it being replaced by its direct use, but that the use will be of sufficient benefit to outweigh the loss of the original capital.

Also equating a raw resource to financial capital is a clearly biased verbage trying to push the ideas that are actually inconsistent with each other. The same idea could be said of mining. But society needs(or merely wants in some cases) the materials produced by the oil and mining industries. You can go back to the stone age if you want, but I like my 80yr life expectancy and all the other stuff our current society provides.

But to argue the energy per dollar invested point....not in favor of oil mind you....but do you realize that the largest industrial user of the US power grid is the petroleum industry. This is becase many of the processes used to refine oil actually require energy. If they just stuck to taking the natural fractions (amounts of gasoline, naptha, kerosene, motor oils) from the oil refining process, then it would be so energy intensive. But in maximizing output for the higher $ value commodoties, they end up expending large amounts of energy to get more gasoline per barrell of oil. Now that doesn't mean that the $ invested per KW of energy produced is not still better than other sources of energy, but it likley puts a big dent in the number, and most people likely don't consider this in the equation.

I won't profess to speak for Schumacher, having only just started reading the book. But, I would say that according to my limited knowledge of economics, capital is to be spent as a last resort. So, yes, saving easily transformed energy for a time when we may desperately need it, and developing alternatives so that there's some fossil fuels left if and when we need them, makes very good sense.

My main beef with the post was the idea that oil and gas exploration 'generates' energy. That's an incorrect characterization of the process.

In the long run (we're all dead) but also, if we don't use up all our fossil fuels, what have we lost? It's not like we had to buy them from somewhere... they simply exist in the ground.

If we don't use up all our fossil fuels, but develop greener alternatives, what have we lost? Not a thing IMO.

I don't believe that curtailing fossil fuel use, and aggressively developing sustainable alternatives will put us back to the Stone Age. I do believe however, that blowing thru what f.f.'s we have and living high on the hog without a concerted effort to find a replacement fuel source that won't eventually run out may well leave us contemplating a future that more pre-industrial than post.

And, even if we do choose to use fossil fuels, doesn't it make sense to hold onto our reserves until the price goes thru the roof and then we use them to offset our own costs, or export them for big $$$?


In response to "doesn't it make sense to hold onto our reserves until the price goes thru the roof and then we use them to offset our own costs, or export them for big $$$?"

Bad idea stump, because if we do that we will eventually be deemed an enemy of freedom and a threat to world peace, which will quickly lead to a US lead invasion of our province. The precious oil reserves will then be under control of President Bush XXV and most of our ancestors will be killed off with no record that they ever existed.

So we should probably dig up the oil and burn it off ASAP, before the rest of the world figures out what we've got.


Yah, they've already taken over Alberta! and nobody even noticed :(

-->Yah, they've already taken over Alberta!<--

Very true if you look at how many Alberta public companies are listed on the SEC, which means they now need to comply with the new US SOx Act signed into law by good-ole George W hisself!

Which is one of the challenges to the statements that US laws don't really affect us... that one certainly does. "Huge dollars just sucked out of the Canadian economy" because of "those guys", some have said. (Not that I fully believe that statement, but I won't go there.)

Do you even know what the SOX Act is? If you do then why do you thing money will be sucked out of the Canadian economy if Canadian companies comply with that law while listing on US stock exchanges? Compliance with SOX is about the CEO and CFO (big cheese types) of a company signing off as to whether to the best of their understanding their company has the necessary controls in place to ensure all income and expenses are being reported (ie that no Enron type activity is taking place)....(this is a simplification of the SOX act but gets to the heart of it). So some US accounting/consulting companies are making money in helping companies setup the necessary controls and process documentations, but so are some canadian companies. It in no way entails sucking money out of the economy.

That said, most of the big operaters in Alberta are US companies - thats where the real sucking sound is coming from.

Now if you want to talk Canadian companies being subjected to US laws, do a google search on Teck Cominco and Superfund. This could basically cripple the company, but it may be founded on some real issues. See the link below.

--> "Do you even know what the SOX Act is?" <---

Yup, it's my business to know. I'd guess that I know about as much (and likely much more) about it than virtually anyone else here. It's pretty much consumed my life for the past year, and I expect to be as (or more) busy on it over the next few years, especially as the Canadian 'equivalent' comes in over the next very short while.

Where do you think the AB exchange is going to end up, by the way? In or out? Will it be OSC-only? ... but I digress.

-->"If you do then why do you thing money will be sucked out "<--

Actually, I was 'very' careful with my wording there. What I 'said' was, "...'Huge dollars just sucked out ...' ***some have said. (Not that I fully believe that statement***..." ('*'d emphasis added). I was trying to subtly suggest that this wasn't MY view. Unfortunately I was apparently a little bit too subtle... so let me say it clearly... it's one view, but it isn't MY view.

I actually think it's a good thing. It helps the profession I'm in continue to provide value to shareholders, it helps keep me and many many thousands of Canadians gainfully employed, it helps improve the efficiency of Canadian companies which should provide more funds to further inject into the Canadian economy, it helps to keep CxO's out of jail so they can continue to make money and spend in Canada. So, sure, Canadian companies have to spend more money to get into compliance with SOX and the OSC's equivalent, but that has many benefits for Canada and Canadians.

... I knew my earlier statements would get a rise out of someone... my work here is done.

Ok so you know.....my contention was really going to be with the Canadians being affected by US laws, but I got sidetracked.

Of course Canadians (and Canadian Companies) will be affected by US laws when the visit (or do business in the states, like listing on the exchange). Why would you expect otherwise. Its not like US companies aren't subject to Canadian laws while in Canada.

The real issue is Canadians being affected by US laws that try to extend beyond their own border (like the Helms Burton law against companies that deal in Cuba and the States (aside - whay wasn't that one called the HURT Act like the SOX Act - maybe that wouldn't have played as well in the media). Or trying to apply the Superfund law to a Canadian company for actions taken in Canada that have a downstream affect in the US.

Oh and I'd guess Alberta will join Ontario on something when the Jets win the Stanley Cup.