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Category Archives: Natural Gas

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Québec’s Strategic Environmental Assessment on Hydrocarbons: HEC Montréal Releases Study on Potential Markets for Quebec’s Hydrocarbons

Posted in Liquefied Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Québec
Québec

On October 27, 2015 HEC Montréal released a study on potential domestic and international markets for Quebec’s hydrocarbons. The release of this report constitutes one of the final milestones in the strategic environmental assessment undertaken by the Québec Government regarding its hydrocarbon action plan. The Québec Government is now expected to table a final report on its findings before the end of 2015 which could potentially lead to the adoption of a new broad-ranging bill on hydrocarbons.… Continue Reading

B.C. Government to Exempt Two Projects from BCUC Review in Response to Load Growth from Upstream Natural Gas Operations in the Peace Region

Posted in BC Hydro, BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas, BC Utilities Commission, Electricity, Natural Gas, Transmission, Utilities
British Columbia

Following a stakeholder consultation this summer, the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines is planning to exercise its authority under the Utilities Commission Act (British Columbia) (the “UCA”) to exempt two transmission projects, the North Montney Power Supply (“NMPS”) project (proposed by Alberta-based ATCO) and the Peace Region Electricity Supply (“PRES”) project (proposed by BC Hydro), from review by the BC Utilities Commission (the “BCUC”) under Part 3 of the UCA. Among other things, this exemption would relieve BC Hydro and ATCO from the requirement under section 45 of the UCA to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity … Continue Reading

Hydro-Québec RFP A/O 2015-01 Deadline for Submitting Bids has Passed

Posted in Biomass, Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean, Hydroelectric, Natural Gas, Québec Hydro-Québec
Québec

The deadline for submitting bids in Hydro-Québec Distribution’s RFP A/O 2015-01 was May 20, 2015. Such RFP aims at purchasing 500 MW of firm capacity and associated energy to meet the long-term domestic electricity needs of Québec.… Continue Reading

Québec Régie de l’Énergie Releases Opinion on Natural Gas Supply

Posted in Natural Gas, Plan Nord, Québec, Régie de l’énergie
Québec

On January 7, 2015, the Régie de l’énergie du Québec (Québec Energy Board) released its opinion on the production and transportation supply of natural gas required in order to meet the medium and long term needs of Québec consumers. This opinion was prepared at the request of the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and the Minister responsible for the Plan Nord. The opinion followed a public consultation process during which stakeholders and expert representatives made written and oral submissions to the Québec Energy Board.

In its opinion, the Board forecasts the residential, commercial, industrial and transportation demand for natural … Continue Reading

Court Gives Deference to OGC’s Water Act Approval Policy

Posted in British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission, Fossil Fuel, Natural Gas, Water
British Columbia

On October 10, 2014, the British Columbia Supreme Court (“Court”) issued reasons in Western Canada Wilderness Committee v. British Columbia (Oil and Gas Commission), 2014 BCSC 1919.  In this case, the petitioners, Western Canada Wilderness and Sierra Club of British Columbia Foundation (together, the “Petitioners”), brought a judicial review application against the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission (“OGC”).

At issue was the proper interpretation of the Water Act as it relates to the granting by the OGC to the oil and gas industry of short-term water use approvals under s. 8 (“… Continue Reading

Proposed Amendments to the National Energy Board Export and Import Reporting Regulations

Posted in Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean, Liquefied Natural Gas, National Energy Board, Natural Gas

Overview

A number of recent Letter Decisions[1] of the National Energy Board (Board) note the need for the Canadian natural gas industry to access overseas markets due to an increase in the North American gas resource base. It is necessary that the legislation and regulations governing the export of natural gas reflect the realities of selling liquefied natural gas (LNG) to overseas markets.  While some amendments to the statutory framework have been made, important changes are necessary in order to create a commercially sensible regulatory regime.

Background and Regulatory Context

As a result of the July 2012 amendments to … Continue Reading

Surprisingly, U.S. shale gas does not spell doom for Québec electricity export sales

Posted in Electricity, Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean, Natural Gas, Power, Québec Hydro-Québec
Québec

Hydro-Québec announced on May 9, 2014 that it has posted a net result of $2.94 billion in 2013. Apparently, this increase in profitability is attributable to, among other things, growth in its export revenues and cost reductions. (Its 2013 annual report can be found here.)

Here is what is surprising about these excellent results.… Continue Reading

New Report Doubles Previous Estimates of Montney Formation Natural Gas Reserves in British Columbia and Alberta

Posted in BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas, Natural Gas
AlbertaBritish Columbia

A new federal-provincial study has concluded that naturas gas reserves contained in the Montney Formation that straddes British Columbia and Alberta are more than double than previously estimated, equivalent to 145 years of supply at Canada’s current consumption levels.

Prepared jointly by Canada’s National Energy Board, the Alberta Energy Regulator, B.C.’s newly-created Ministry of Natural Gas Development and the B.C. Oil & Gas Commission, the study assesses for the first time the unconventional petroleum resource potential of the Montney Formation. The study’s findings include the following:

  • the ultimate potential for unconventional petroleum in the Montney Formation is estimated at 12,719
Continue Reading

Business Council of British Columbia’s Energy Policy White Paper Calls for Greater Focus on LNG and Natural Gas Resources

Posted in BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas, Natural Gas
British Columbia

On October 16, 2013, the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) released its white paper on energy policy in BC (White Paper).  The White Paper provides an overview of BC’s energy development history and highlights the implications of three key shifts which drive the requirement for further policy reform:

  1. the shale gas revolution, which has altered continental natural gas pricing and created a new export opportunity to feed Asian demand.
  2. climate change, which requires coordinated approaches to energy development.
  3. electricity marketplace change, which requires a new understanding of how future electricity needs will be met when upgrades of existing assets
Continue Reading

Minister Bennett Addresses Opening of Clean Energy BC Conference

Confirms Resubmitted IRP Will Contain "Clean Energy Strategy"

Posted in BC Hydro, BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas, Electricity, Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean, Independent Producers, Natural Gas, Policy, Power, Regulation, Water
British Columbia

British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett addressed the province’s independent power producers at the opening of Clean Energy BC’s annual conference in Vancouver on October 28, 2013. While confirming that there are currently no plans for a power call in the province, Minister Bennett acknowledged that his ministerial mandate specifically contemplates working with the clean energy sector to ensure that there remain significant opportunities for renewable energy companies to provide power to British Columbia, and made a number of observations, including:

  • policymaking continues to occur in a fluid and dynamic economic environment;
  • electricity rates will need to
Continue Reading

Clean Energy Pipeline Rankings

McCarthy Tétrault tops national league tables for renewable energy transactions

Posted in Awards and Recognitions, Biomass, Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean, Hydroelectric, Liquefied Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Project Finance, Solar, Tidal, Wind

The 2013 edition of the Clean Energy Canada Finance Guide is out, and we are pleased that we have again topped the Canadian league tables for renewable energy transactions. In particular, we are credited as having advised on:

  • the highest number of eligible project finance transactions: a total of 16 deals collectively valued at $2.9 billion
  • the highest number of eligible M&A, private equity and venture capital transactions: a total of 7 deals collectively valued at $2.09 billion

Clean Energy Pipeline, published by VB Research and based in London, UK, provides daily news and information about clean energy developments … Continue Reading

Gas Plant Cancellation

Testimony of George Vegh

Posted in Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean, Natural Gas, Ontario Power Authority
Ontario

George Vegh, the head of McCarthy Tétrault’s energy regulatory practice, was requested to provide expert testimony on regulatory issues to the Ontario Legislative Assembly’s hearing on the gas plant cancellations.  The Committee, whose member described George as “one of Canada’s foremost experts on energy regulation”, sought advice on future planning, siting and procurement issues, which will be part of the Committee’s recommendations to the Legislative Assembly.

The transcript of George’s evidence can be found here. Continue Reading

Toronto Approves Innovative Energy Efficiency Pilot Program Utilizing “Local Improvement Charges”

Toronto Forges Ahead – “Local Improvement Charges” Offer a New & Promising Financing Mechanism to Encourage Energy Retrofits

Posted in Community Projects, Conservation, Electricity, Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean, Natural Gas, Projects, Water
Ontario

Since then-Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Kathleen Wynne authorized municipalities to use Local Improvement Charges (LICs) to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation projects last November, industry watchers have been waiting to see whether Toronto would take advantage of the opportunity.

Last week, they did: Toronto City Council unanimously approved its first pilot energy and water efficiency program. The three-year, $20 million pilot launching in late 2013 will include 1,000 single-family homes and 10 multi-residential buildings. It will permit participating property owners to undertake natural gas, electricity and water efficiency and conservation measures, with the City … Continue Reading

Sixth LNG Export Application Filed in British Columbia

Posted in Aboriginal, Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean, Natural Gas, Projects, Regulation
British Columbia

British Columbia’s nascent liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry has moved closer to reality in recent weeks.  On July 8, 2013, Pacific NorthWest LNG submitted its export application with Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB), seeking permission to export 19.68 million tonnes of LNG annually for 25 years.

Including this recent NEB filing, a total of six LNG project proposals in BC have received, or have submitted an application for, an export licence.  According to a BC government press release, these projects include:… Continue Reading

Nuclear Renaissance – Don’t Count Out Nuclear Yet

“Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated” – Nuclear Industry

Posted in Energy – Conventional, Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean, Natural Gas, Nuclear

Recently, there has been an increase in commentaries suggesting that the North American “Nuclear Renaissance” is on life support, which, if true, will have made it a very short renaissance period indeed. The latest pronouncement came from The Economist that pointed out in this article that of 18 applications received by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission since 2007 for 24 new build nuclear reactors, only two applications have been approved. This is in stark contrast to the nine that have since been withdrawn or are stalled and the seven that continue to be under the NRC’s intense scrutiny process. The … Continue Reading

Québec Bill to Prohibit Certain Shale Natural Gas Exploration and Production Activities

Posted in Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean, Natural Gas
Québec

On May 15, 2013, the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks, Mr. Yves-François Blanchet, introduced Bill 37 in the Québec National Assembly to establish a moratorium on various activities related to shale natural gas exploration and production in the St. Lawrence lowlands.

Scope of Moratorium

The proposed moratorium would remain in effect until new rules for hydrocarbon exploration and production are adopted or for a maximum period of five years. It would apply to all drilling, fracturing and injectivity testing activities related to exploration for or production of shale gas. These activities would thus be prohibited on the … Continue Reading

2013 CAMPUT Conference

McCarthy Tétrault is attending the 2013 CAMPUT Conference

Posted in Electricity, Energy – Conventional, Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean, Hydroelectric, Natural Gas, Policy, Regulation

The 2013 CAMPUT Conference will be held next week in Niagara Falls, Ontario. This is Canada’s premier energy regulatory conference, bringing together all those who work in Canada’s energy regulatory space.

CAMPUT 2013, Serving the Public Interest: The Regulator’s Balancing Act, promises to be exciting. Speakers will include members of boards and commissions responsible for energy regulation across Canada, including the Chair of the Ontario Energy Board (the OEB) and other OEB members, as well as representatives of industry associations, academics and leading industry executives.… Continue Reading

BC Government Suspends Implementation of Feed-in Tariff Regulation

Posted in Aboriginal, BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas, Electricity, Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean, Feed-in-Tariff, FIT, Micro-FIT, FIT 2.0, Natural Gas, Regulation
British Columbia

The BC government formally announced on June 22, 2012 that it was not planning to proceed with the implementation of the BC Feed-in Tariff (FIT) Regulation, citing efforts to limit electricity rate increases.  Currently, the Clean Energy Act allows, but does not require, BC Hydro to introduce FIT programs.

In August 2010, the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas (the Ministry) released a Consultation Paper to inform stakeholders and the public of its intention to develop the FIT Regulation to facilitate fulfilment of BC’s 16 energy objectives. According to the Ministry, the purpose of the FIT program was Continue Reading

BC Government Delays Submission of Integrated Resource Plan

Posted in BC Hydro, Conservation, Electricity, Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean, Natural Gas, Power, Purchase Agreements, Regulation, Transmission
British Columbia

The BC government announced on November 2, 2012 that it will delay the submission of BC Hydro’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to Cabinet until August 3, 2013 – three months after the next provincial election. The most recent delay is due to uncertainty of electricity requirements for prospective liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in northern British Columbia. The potential LNG-related electricity load in the region would be substantial if proponents build plants that rely on BC Hydro to satisfy their power requirements.  Currently, the existing electricity service to the region is insufficient to meet the potential demand of the Continue Reading