HicksBiz Blog

Category: Oil + Gas

Oil + Gas

Hicks on Biz: Suncor’s $4.4 billion 'hostile' takeover bid for Canadian Oil Sands is a good thing BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 09, 2015

Suncor’s $4.4 billion “hostile” takeover bid for Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. isn’t about the Canadian Oil Sands. It’s about a far more intriguing subject – control of Syncrude. Along with CNRL and Shell, Suncor and Syncrude are the Big Four of Alberta’s oil sands production companies. Syncrude is actually owned by a consortium of oil companies. Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil (Imperial Oil is owned by ExxonMobil) is a 25% shareholder. Suncor owns 12%. Syncrude’s single biggest shareholder, at 37%, is Canadian Oil Sands Ltd.  The Syncrude shares are Canadian Oil Sands Ltd’s only asset. It’s an investment company, 100% invested in its Syncrude ownership position. Let’s go back in time:  When oil sands production finally became profitable – in the mid ‘90s – the Syncrude ownership group left its management team, led by Eric Newell and then Jim Carter, alone. Newell and Carter were ahead of their time in recognizing the n ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Don’t re-invent the wheel BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, AUGUST 28, 2015

FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, AUGUST 28, 2015 11:36 AM MDT Dr. Andrew Leach (left), panel chair and Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks, speak about the creation of an advisory panel to study the province's climate change policy at the media room at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday June 25, 2015. Ian Kucerak/Edmonton Sun Article Change text size for the story Print this story Report an error Related Stories Hicks on Biz: You can’t blame Edmonton City Council for everything Hicks on Biz: CEOs simply paid too much Hicks on Biz: Alberta recession will strike early 2016 Hicks' Weekly Dish: Gini's offers fine dining experience Links Follow us on Twitter! Like us on Facebook! It's always more exciting and more newsworthy for an incoming government to re-invent the wheel, or, even better, contend the wheel didn't even exist.   The New Democrats have come to power ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: This spill is a disaster BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: SATURDAY, JULY 25, 2015

FIRST POSTED: SATURDAY, JULY 25, 2015 09:55 AM MDT | UPDATED: SATURDAY, JULY 25, 2015 10:00 AM MDT Crews work to clean an oil spill near Nexen's Long Lake facility by Fort McMurray. The spill was discovered by a contractor after the safety system designed to detect ruptures failed. Garrett Barry/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network Article Change text size for the story Print this story Report an error More Coverage Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) suspends 95 Nexen Energy pipelines at its Long Lake oilsands operations Related Stories Hicks Weekly Dish: Taste of Edmonton simply 'awful' Gunter: Thomas Mulcair is no friend of the west Hicks' Weekly Dish: Padmanadi a vegetarian's delight Energy minister hails Nexen announcement Hicks on Biz: Edmonton business quickly moving out of North America Paradis tight-lipped on Nexen deal Nexen pipeline failure spells big trouble Hicks' Weekly Di ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Edmonton's economy not too hot, not too cool BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, JUNE 19, 2015

This is extraordinary. A year ago, the global price of oil plummeted – from $100 (US) a barrel to $50 to $60, where it seems to have come to rest. Ours is an energy-based economy. Every other time oil and/or natural gas prices fell, in 1983, 1998 and 2009, Metropolitan Edmonton suffered. Unemployment rates jumped, jobs dried up, housing prices fell, folks left town. But it’s been a year now, and we’ve scarce felt this oil price meltdown! Unemployment is up a bit, but just as many folks – 745,000 of us – are working as was the case during the last boom. New houses are being built and purchased at a near record clip. Companies may not be hiring in droves, there’s not much in the way of lay-offs. We’ve dodged some serious bullets. But how much longer? Don’t kid yourselves. Edmonton remains a government and public sector town. Combined, education (42,000 jobs), health care/social services (82,500 jobs) and public administration (39,000 jobs) mak ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Odds still on long-term Alberta prosperity BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2015

Spread out those Tarot cards, old gypsy queen, and tell us whither goest oil and gas. Are we doomed to $50 or lower oil prices forever? Will excess greenhouse gases caused by the burning of coal, oil and natural gas raise the world’s temperatures until all is parched desert and the oceans are metres higher due to polar ice melt? To save the planet, as per American President Barack Obama’s line of thought, must the world end its reliance on fossil fuels - within our children’s lifetime? If demand for oil and gas dwindles, will Alberta turn into a have-not province? Will 100,000 young people a year leave for greener pastures in (choke) Ontario and Quebec? The gypsy queen, like everybody else, does not know the future. But logic and clear thinking suggest Obama is likely wrong, that the odds are excellent for long-term prosperity in this province, based on environmentally sound oil and gas production, based on sound, long-term, provincial government planning and policy. Her ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS ON BIZ: Hey, media, stop picking on Big Oil BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN POSTED: FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2014

It’s a hoary old cliché, but so true.

In journalism, there’s no such thing as objectivity.

Bias hangs out on every corner.

It’s so darned obvious in the mountains of verbiage expended on .02% of Canada’s boreal forest surrounding Fort McMurray, the oilsands.

Note the bias: I throw in the fact the oilsands take up less than one-fifth of one percent of the boreal forest. The underlying message: The oilsands are NOT destroying Canada’s wilderness.

That one little fact, slipped in, pretty well tells you where this commentator is coming from.

The reality is this city, hence yours and my livelihoods, is highly dependent on oilsands generated wealth. So I support oilsands development – as long as the environmental rules are followed, and the rules get tougher to the point of miniscule or zero tolerance when technology permits.

Most commentators will not admit to a bias. But it’s so easy to tell.

Those adamantly opposed to oilsands development call the oilsands the “tar sands.”

Gee, what was your first clue? Read the rest of entry »

HICKS ON BIZ: Environmental awareness has arrived BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN POSTED: FRIDAY, JULY 11, 2014

Something’s happened out there in the past year.

Sustainability, environmental awareness, saving the planet has truly arrived.

The scoffers are getting older and retiring. The doubters are coming around – maybe not on global warming, but certainly on recycling, waste reduction and conservation in general. For Gen Y, green is a given.

“Social licence” is now one powerful business tool. Without societal acceptance, mega-construction projects cannot move ahead.

We have in our midst a young social entrepreneur who is either a world-class visionary using business to create a sustainable planet or he’s one amazing promoter. Or maybe he’s a little of both.

Joey Hundert, 33, is founder and CEO of both Sustainival, a travelling midway with all its rides running on diesel fuel made from used cooking oils and Sustainitech, a company working in partnership with the Wood Buffalo regional municipality to grow food and farmed fish in self-contained, insulated shipping containers using processes known as aquaponics and aeroponics.

Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Ontario's green fiasco is a lesson to us all, BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2013

Ontario is reeling. The “Ontario Green Energy Program,” introduced four years ago by then-Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government, has proved to be an utter disaster. A public inquiry has brought to light the sheer size of this white elephant. The consequence of going all-out green will cost the average Ontario family an extra $636 a year by 2018 , a 42% jump in electricity bills over the next five years. Independent analysts are pegging the additional costs at $16 billion today, $23 billion by 2016. This in a province that is already $273 billion in debt! “Trying to save the future has created an economic disaster in the here and now, for our children and our grandchildren,” summed up one commentator. Ontario industry is paying more for power than almost any other jurisdiction in North America. Any wonder manufacturing and food processing companies are leaving Ontario? Any wonder it’s so tough to find a job in Ontario? I don’t preten ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Rah rah oilsands!: EDMONTON SUN, Saturday Nov. 22, 2013

Bottleneck, what bottleneck? If anybody has concerns about pipeline capacity from the oilsands out to the world, breathe easy. In the last few weeks, the GO button has been pushed on four major new oilsands projects that will bring another 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) of bitumen on stream by 2017. You think those dudes would invest the $10 billion or more it costs per mine, if they had the least doubt about getting their product to market? You think shareholders would approve? Where there’s a will, there’s a way Even without the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipeline projects, Canada’s two biggest pipeline builders will add another 2 million bpd capacity within three to four years. TransCanada and Enbridge are expanding existing American pipelines and converting existing natural gas pipelines to send bitumen/crude oil to Eastern Canada for refining, domestic consumption or export. Other companies are sniffing out new pipeline opportunities from the oilsands northwest to ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The oil biz - Stand up and fight! Originally published Edmonton Sun, Oct. 26, 2013

Last week, I approached a friend, a field manager for a small oil producer in rural Alberta with a few hundred wells. How about a Hicks on Biz story on the company, I suggested, a column that could tell the general public the real story about the industry that’s the backbone of Alberta’s economy. Not a sensationalized report about leaks or contamination or pollution, but a ground-level look at an industry that’s among the cleanest of its kind in the world. I could witness first-hand the process of going back to old wells, re-boring, drilling horizontally, and the fracking that has bent New Brunswick aboriginals all out of shape. I could report back to the general public on environmental improvements, on ever-improving technology, on the industry’s job creation and so on. Nope. The oil company’s head office didn’t want any publicity. No matter how sympathetic the journalist, they feared what might be written in the comments section of any on-line story - th ... Read the rest of entry »