Oil & Gas News 




Oil & Gas Overview - Canada


According to Wikipedia (21-Feb-2013), oil reserves in Canada were estimated at 179 billion barrels in 2007. This figure includes the oil sands reserves that are estimated by government regulators to be economically producible at current prices using current technology.  According to this figure, Canada's reserves are third only to Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.  Over 95% of these reserves are in the oil sands deposits in the province of Alberta.  Alberta contains nearly all of Canada's oil sands and much of its conventional oil reserves.  The balance is concentrated in several other provinces and territories.  Saskatchewan and offshore areas of Newfoundland in particular have substantial oil production and reserves.  Alberta has 39% of Canada's remaining conventional oil reserves, offshore Newfoundland 28% and Saskatchewan 27%, but if oil sands are included, Alberta's share is over 98%.  (Consumption)


In other words, you can’t talk about oil in Ontario without talking about Alberta, which means taking hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking”) and oil sands into account.





As for national security, fossil fuels are a non-renewable resource and too valuable to burn until gone.  See AO Energy Alternatives.


There is a growing problem of oil and gas companies not paying their commitments, going bankrupt and leaving a mess for taxpayers to clean up.


Also, the cumulative environmental and health damage caused from their use to-date has become a problem. 


See also:  Natural Resources Canada – Oil Supply and Demand


See also:  What countries are the top producers and consumers of oil?


See also:  National Post – Why has Canada spent billions of dollars buying Saudi Arabian oil?


Mineral Rights


In Canada, mining/mineral rights are separate from surface rights and, for the most part, belong to the province (which means that they could be available for sale).  Read:  Wikipedia - Land ownership in Canada


Ownership of subsurface rights has fossil fuel, aggregate, mining, and water ownership implications.


Under Alberta law, landowners can't refuse companies wanting to develop oil and gas below the surface of their land. (source)


Learning from the USA (article)




“Fracking” is a slang term for hydraulic fracturing.  Fracking refers to the procedure of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting steam or fluid and sand into cracks to force the rocks open, and to allow the oil and gas to flow out.  Vertical fracked wells have been drilled for decades but fracking was transformed when it was combined with new technologies such as 3D seismic imaging and horizontal high-volume (aka “slick-water”) fracking, which became commercially successful around 2003.


Historically the oil from the shale formations was too expensive to extract until technology was developed to drill horizontally.  Now fracking can occur kilometres below the surface, for kilometres away from the vertical well shaft.  A 6-acre drilling pad can extract gas from beneath 1,000 acres of land (article .pdf).


The fracking process is very controversial.  Opponents cite water pollution, earthquakes, cost of spent wells and a slew of other problems.  For more information re: fracking, click here.



Oil Sands/Tar Sands (Alberta)



The terms “oil sands” and “tar sands” are used interchangeably with a more negative connotation on the latter simply for the imagery it conveys. 


Oil sand is a mixture of bitumen (a thick tar-like substance), sand, clay, silt and water.  Bitumen is extracted using traditional mining techniques if the source is close to surface (20% of extraction), or through in-situ extraction (fracking with steam) for sources deeper than 200 feet (80% of extraction).


Upgrading converts thick bitumen to synthetic crude oil and diesel fuel.  Byproducts are petroleum coke, sulphur and tailings. 


Major problems resulting from oil sand production are quantity of fresh water use, fresh water loss, fresh water toxicity, watershed risk, impacts from toxic tailings ponds, greenhouse gas emissions, flaring of “unwanted” gas (article, article), and the controversial fracking methodology.


For more information, see Oil & Gas - Alberta


Frack Sand


Frack sand is crystalline silica and is perfect for hydraulic fracturing.  The sand is combined with steam or fluid and forced into the cracks created by fracturing the rocks/rock formations deep underground to force the rocks open, and to allow the oil and gas to flow out.  The requirement for frac sand has created an extractive industry unto itself.  The industry puts an added burden of increased road maintenance, impacts of rock blasting, dry wells, dust and noise pollution on the neighbouring communities and taxpayers.  Frac sand operations require up to 8 million litres (2 million US gallons) of water every day. (article)


For more information check this link: AWARE-Ontario News: Frack Sand



Refineries in Canada




North Atlantic Refinery, Come by Chance, Nfld.

115,000 bbl/d

Imperial Oil Refinery – Dartmouth, NS

89,000 bbl/d

Irving Oil Refinery, Saint John, NB

300,000 bbl/d

Suncor Energy Inc., Refinery, Montreal, QC (article)

160,000 bbl/d

Levis, (Ultramar/Valero Energy Corp.), Levis, QC

215,000 bbl/d

Nanticoke Refinery (Imperial Oil Ltd.), Nanticoke, ON

112,000 bbl/d

Sarnia Refinery, (Imperial Oil), Sarnia, ON

115,000 bbl/d

Sarnia Refinery, (Suncor Energy), Sarnia, ON

85,000 bbl/d

Corunna Refinery, (Shell Canada), St. Clair, ON

72,000 bbl/d


1,263,000 bbl/d

Source:  AndrewLeach.ca


Enbridge’s website (www.enbridge.com) quotes an economic paper written by public policy analyst Jean-François Minardi and published by the Montreal Economic Institute in August 2013 that says Quebec’s two refineries represent 20 per cent of Canadian capacity, employing about 1,000 workers, while the petrochemical sector in Montreal’s east end employs approximately 3,600 workers. (source)




Refining diluted bitumen (aka “dilbit”) prior to transportation requires finding a customer for each specific product, be it gasoline, diesel, jet fuel or otherwise.  Petroleum coke (aka “petcoke”) is considered a refinery by-product.


NEWS – Refineries




Posted By

Article Link




Infected U.S. Shale Oil Is Being Turned Away by Asian Buyers

Serene Cheong, Sharon Cho, Alfred Cang

- oxygenates, metals, cleaning agents


National Post

Why has Canada spent billions of dollars buying Saudi Arabian oil?

Tristin Hopper



Video:  Rubin: Energy East Wasn’t Going To Solve The Low Energy Price Problem (9 mins)

Jeff Rubin

- cancelled Energy East project



Opinion:  The case for refining bitumen in Canada

Robert Hage


Financial Post

Pacific Future Energy Corp eyes ‘money left on the table’ for $11-billion refinery project in B.C.

Yadullah Hussain


Times Colonist

David Black has Kitimat refinery plan drawn up

Andrew A. Duffy


Pipeline News North

BC’s 3 oil refineries: which will go?

Elaine Anselmi


“But, let’s face it, the job of the president of a typical big oil company in Canada, because they are running a subsidiary of a multi-national corporation, is to get the oil out of the ground and out of Canada.” David Black (source)


Other Info:


Green Party of Canada Platform – “refineries of tomorrow”



Carbon Capture and Storage


Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the process of capturing waste carbon dioxide (CO2) from large point sources such as fossil fuel power plants, transporting it to a storage site, and depositing it where it will not enter the atmosphere, normally an underground geological formation. The aim is to prevent the release of large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere. 


For more information check this link: AWARE-Ontario News: Carbon Capture and Storage



Transporting Oil & Gas Products


Fossil fuels can be shipped by truck, rail, pipeline or ship. 




Posted By

Article Link



The Oregonian

Crude oil trains increasingly travel through Portland, alarming regulators

Gordon R. Friedman



Facing shipping constraints, Canada moving oil one truckload at a time

Rod Nickel, Julie Gordon





Approximate conversions are:


1 barrel (bbl) = 159 litres = 42 U.S. gallons

1 tonne = 7+ bbls

1 railcar = 640 bbls

1 tanker/ship = 200,000 bbls (source)





Link to general pipeline news


Link to Trans Mountain Pipeline (Proposed) News


Link to Canadian Energy Pipeline Association


Link to America’s Dangerous Pipelines video (2mins)


Pipelines and water – Straits of Mackinac


In the USA local communities/residences are given a classification based on their distance from the centre of the pipeline. “Class 1” refers to low population areas with houses outside a 200’ distance from the pipeline.  This allows the oil company to use lower quality materials, higher pressures and less monitoring/regulation due to less damage potential.  Cities are classes 3-5.  (video 26mins)



The Airline Industry


Word is that each commercial plane flight uses the same amount of fuel as one year of car driving for each and every plane passenger.   This needs confirmation.


See Wikipedia - Kerosene




Posted By

Article Link



Business Insider

Airlines are burning thousands of gallons of fuel flying empty 'ghost' planes so they can keep their flight slots during the coronavirus outbreak

Adam Bienkov


EcoWatch / Jordan Davidson

JetBlue to Be First Carbon Neutral Airline in U.S.

Jordan Davidson



Blog: Sustainable Fuels Unlikely to Replace Hydrocarbons for Air Travel

Steve Goreham



The Shipping Industry


For decades, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has rebuffed calls to clean up ship pollution. As a result, while it has long since been illegal to belch black, sulphur-laden smoke from power-station chimneys or lorry exhausts, shipping has kept its licence to pollute.


Click here for more information about the shipping industry.



Accidents, Spills & Explosions


In May 2013, Global News published “Crude Awakening - Introduction: 37 years of oil spills in Alberta” which calculated that Alberta has had an average of two crude oil spills per day, every day for the past 37 years.  Also it’s not just oil that leaks – produced water and source water are detrimental to the watershed and natural environment as well.  There is also air pollution.


Kalamazoo spill whistleblower, John Bolenbaugh, points out that spills are lucrative for oil & gas companies.  Once a spill occurs, insurance covers the costs and cleanup companies (typically owned by the oil & gas companies) are hired.  Shutting down operations for proper maintenance costs money.  Spills generate revenue.


Journalist Andrew Nikiforuk writes “Why We Pretend to Clean Up Oil Spills” (July 12, 2016)


Check this link to see How Gas Wells Leak (20 mins)


How does it work in Ontario?  Well, a fuel spill accident has shut out the DiBello family from their home for more than two years.


To top it off, cleaning up a spill (dispersants, exposure, health risk) can be worse than the spill itself.


For a partial list of accident, spill and explosion history, click here.




Health & Safety


Citizen complaints include skin rashes, open sores, nose bleeds, stomach cramps, loss of smell, swollen and itching eyes, despondency, depression.


Livestock too can be affected with neurological, reproductive and gastrointestinal disabilities.


Death may also be an outcome of exposure to oil and gas processing pollution.


Sarnia is the most toxic place to live in Canada.  Click here for more information about Ontario's "Chemical Valley".


For further information on Health & Safety regarding oil and gas development, click here.




Abandoned / “Orphaned” / Spent Wells


For further information click here



Global Warming aka Climate Change


“Whenever you burn conventional fuel, you create carbon dioxide. [....] The carbon dioxide is invisible, it is transparent, you can’t smell it, it is not dangerous to health, so why should one worry about it?  Carbon dioxide has a strange property. It transmits visible light but it absorbs the infrared radiation which is emitted from the earth. Its presence in the atmosphere causes a greenhouse effect [....] It has been calculated that a temperature rise corresponding to a 10 per cent increase in carbon dioxide will be sufficient to melt the icecap and submerge New York. All the coastal cities would be covered, and since a considerable percentage of the human race lives in coastal regions, I think that this chemical contamination is more serious than most people tend to believe.”  Edward Teller, Physicist, 1959 (source)


See AWARE-Ontario Climate Change News




The Crash


Humankind has been using fossil fuels in significant quantities for just over one hundred years.  At first fossil fuels were easy to find and cheap to extract but that is not the case today.  Unconventional fuels (aka “fracking”) place environmental, social and economic costs and risks on human and wild life populations that may exceed the limits of the planet.  Yet we have grown reliant on fossil fuels, much more than you may think.  What happens if, when, we run out or can no longer afford the cost of extraction?


Link to There’s No Tomorrow (peak oil, energy, growth & the future) (35 mins)


Link to A Crude Awakening - The Oil Crash (1 ½ hours)


Link to Oil Apocalypse: Peak Oil – What if the Oil Runs Out? (45 mins)




Oil & Gas Industry - Canadian Provinces


Metro News Article:  Infographic:  Where is fracking happening in Canada?


Government of Canada – Natural Resources Canada: Geography of Shale and Tight Resources (2016-08-23)


Link to AWARE-Ontario News Oil & Gas Offshore













Oil & Gas Industry in Other Locations






Oil & Gas Industry – General News Archive


For more information, click General Oil & Gas News (2020)

For more information, click General Oil & Gas News (2019)

For more information, click General Oil & Gas News (2018)

For more information, click General Oil & Gas News (2017)

For more information, click General Oil & Gas News (2016)

For more information, click General Oil & Gas News (2015)

For more information, click General Oil & Gas News (2014)

For more information, click General Oil & Gas News (2013)

For more information, click General Oil & Gas News (2012)


Oil & Gas Industry – Formations


For more information, click here



Oil & Gas Industry – Alternatives


“Costs accrue at every point of the fossil fuel supply chain. Extraction processes can generate air and water pollution, and harm local communities. Transporting fuels from the mine or well can cause air pollution and lead to serious accidents and spills. When the fuels are burned, they emit toxins and global warming emissions. Even the waste products are hazardous to public health and the environment.” (source)


Go to AWARE-Ontario Energy Alternatives






“The Council of Canadians opposes fracking because of its high water use, its high carbon emissions, its impacts on human health, the disruption it causes to wildlife, and the danger it poses to groundwater and local drinking water. We are calling for a country-wide stop to fracking operations.”

Brent Patterson, Council of Canadians (article)



“We all need energy, we all use various forms of gas and energy that involve varying degrees of risk for us and our environment. Accurate information about the risks is necessary to determine the cost to our environment and people’s health. The thought of censoring objection, or burying questions and concerns with glossy marketing materials defies the principles of critical analysis. The price we may pay in the long run with damage to our environment from these chemicals may be too much, but those with money to make in the short term don't want to have a conversation with full disclosure about potential risks.


An uninformed democracy fails. When elected officials are beholden to lobbyists and financial interests above the health of the people, that is when people of all ages and backgrounds should be taking a stand and asking questions.”

Jacob Devaney, Huffington Post (article)




Economists and Very Serious People keep telling the movement that it can’t stop the tar sands entirely. The only sensible response is, “F*ck you. Watch me.””

David Roberts, Grist (article)



“If you're a landowner being courted for your mineral rights, you may hear a lot of things but miss hearing others.  You'll hear that fracking, with its noise, pounding, dust, lights, fumes, and trucks, lasts but a few short weeks.  Surely such distress could be tolerated for a few weeks.  What you don't hear is the words "per frack".  Since one site can contain twenty wells or more and each well can be fracked and fracked again, some landowners begin to feel that they may have been had.”

J. Dial, OpEdNews (article)



“There’s going to be consequences.  Consequences will mainly happen to our future generations but some of them are happening now.” 

Carter Camp, Ponca Activist, American Indian Movement Leader (video)




Other Information:


Other Uses of Petroleum


The Globe and Mail:  Opinion:  Who cleans up the mess when oil and mining companies go bankrupt? (Tim Gray)



Return to AWARE-Ontario.ca Home Page


List of Ontario’s Issues


What Can I Do?







Disclaimer: This information has been compiled through private amateur research for the purpose of allowing the reader to make an informed and educated decision.  However, while the information is believed to be reliable, accuracy cannot be guaranteed.















Link to photos of oil sands:  http://www.businessinsider.com/photos-destructive-canada-oil-sands-2012-10#to-get-a-look-at-the-oil-sand-mines-we-rented-this-cessna-172-which-the-pilot-was-allowed-to-bring-down-to-1000-feet--from-there-through-the-open-window-and-with-a-long-lens-we-were-able-to-see-what-really-goes-on-in-one-of-the-most-controversial-places-on-the-planet-1


Link to photos of frack site:  http://www.businessinsider.com/a-tour-of-cenovus-energys-in-situ-christina-lake-facility-2012-5#cenovus-picked-us-up-in-this-king-air-350-in-edmonton-at-7-amto-take-us-to-their-state-of-the-art-oil-sands-drilling-site--the-technology-that-is-changing-the-face-of-the-canadian-economy-1





Extracted from comments by Marc W. McCord on article:


“First, there are TWO forms of water that come back out of a well bore – flowback and produced water. Flowback water returns to the surface during the hydraulic fracturing process, and the amount that returns is typically between 10 and 60% depending upon the formation and downhole pressure. Flowback water contains frac fluids and sand (as a proppant), as well as naturally occurring minerals, heavy metals, salts and radioactive materials that were buried until the well bore was drilled and fractured.


Produced water returns to the surface during production operations when oil or gas are being sent to the wellhead. Produced water contains some of what was originally the water used to frac the well combined with the deep earth elements that were released during the fracturing process and any groundwater that is found within the gas- or oil-bearing strata.


Both flowback and produced water are hazardous, flammable and explosive. Both are harmful if breathed, consumed or absorbed by the human body. Both can kill, main or sicken a human, animal or plant. Both cause pollution of water, air and soil.


Second, wastewater is NOT recycleable because of the financial and technical costs associated with doing it. Devon Energy estimated that using recycled water would raise production costs by 70% – natural gas currently sells for about one third its production cost, and then there are the added costs for taxes, royalties and transportation (pipelines, trucks, rail and ships, if sending LNG transcontinental.)


Third, as to be removed from the hydrologic cycle, that is a yes and no proposition. technically, it is forever removed from our hydrologic cycle when it is destroyed and then deep injected into the Ellenberger formation 15-18,000 feet beneath the surface to dispose of it because treatment and re-use is not financially feasible. But, on the practical side the earth is full of natural and man-made fissures and cracks that provide a migration pathway into groundwater, surface water, air and soil, so unfortunately it is NOT truly removed from our hydrologic cycle in practical terms. It is merely removed from the supply of available freshwater that we can drink.”






Arithmetic, Population and Energy


Dr. Albert A. Bartlett

Professor Emeritus

Department of Physics

University of Colorado at Boulder


Full video (1 hr:14 mins)


Part 1 (roughly 10 mins per part)


Part 2


Part 3


Part 4


Part 5


Part 6


Part 7


Part 8






Opposition Letter – Energy East Pipeline


Stop the Energy East Pipeline


I am opposed to the Energy East pipeline and urge the Quebec provincial government to take all measures necessary to ensure it is never built. The project jeopardizes water, land, and ocean ecosystems by the use of fifty year old natural gas pipelines that were never designed to transport bitumen.


Bitumen is thick and viscous, and must be diluted with toxics and pumped under great pressure to flow in pipelines. Doing so puts Canadians and ecosystems at risk of further disasters from oil sand leaks and explosions. Your great province’s own tragedy in Lac-Mégantic – and the disastrous pipeline spills in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Mayflower, Arkansas – highlight the dangers of transporting oil sands crude.


I am writing to demand that the Government of Quebec protect the health and safety of Canadians by denying approval for the Energy East pipeline.


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Opposition Letter – Energy East Pipeline (from Climate Ark/Ecological Internet)


Honourable Pauline Marois, Première ministre du Québec


Dear Honourable Pauline Marois,


I am writing to strongly oppose the Energy East pipeline, and to urge the Quebec provincial government to take all measures necessary to ensure it is never built. The project will industrially develop and destroy water, land, and ocean ecosystems across a vast swath of Eastern Canada’s intact ecosystems. The world demands that the pipeline not be built and that tar sands be left in the ground under intact old-growth boreal forests where they belong.


Shockingly, the TransCanada Corp. plans to convert and extend a fifty year old natural gas pipeline to transport tar sands crude through Quebec. Tar sands is thick and viscous, and must be diluted with toxics and pumped under great pressure to flow in pipelines. Doing so puts Quebec's peoples and ecosystems at risk of further disasters from tar sand leaks and explosions. Your great province’s own tragedy in Lac-Mégantic – and the disastrous pipeline spills in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Mayflower, Arkansas – highlight the dangers of transporting tar sands crude.


The project’s ecological unsustainability is made worse by the fact it would be carrying filthy tar sands synthetic oil – derived from the clearcut mining of old-growth boreal forests. The extraction and refining of tar sands oil requires massive deforestation, consumes tremendous amounts of fresh water, and leaves behind toxic and cancer-causing chemicals. Its transport threatens half a continent’s wetland ecosystems, waterways, and aquifers – and will release tar sands’ and boreal forests’ huge carbon stores.


The simple fact is this: more pipelines equal more tar sands mining – and that means more greenhouse gas emissions. The CO2 embedded in the tar sands, all by itself, means “game over” for the world’s stable climate system. Together, we need to invest in clean energy, not tar sands expansion, which signals continued fossil fuel addiction. The world has better energy choices than dirty tar sands oil – including efficiency and conservation and the development of critical renewable and energy-saving technologies and policies.


I am writing to demand that the Government of Quebec protect the health and safety of your citizens and the world by denying approval for the Energy East pipeline. Please either immediately make clear that Quebec will never allow such a pipeline or else face escalating protest. The world is watching and expecting you to lead.


With grave concern,





“Fracking” is a slang term for hydraulic fracturing.  Fracking refers to the procedure of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting steam or fluid and sand into cracks to force the rocks open, and to allow the oil and gas to flow out.  Fracking well operations cause air quality problems, water pollution problems, water supply problems, explosions, spills, health problems, social problems, real estate and financial problems.  This exploitative extractive industry tends to take the oil and gas, and all of the money, leaving local governments and people to deal with the repercussions.


* * *

 Gas drillers pledge their leases at banks to borrow the money to drill wells and pay contractors.  When they can’t pay, the bank forecloses on the loan and the contractor’s file mechanics liens against the encumbered asset. “The encumbered asset” is legal talk for “your farm,” as many hapless folks are finding out.
A mechanics liens from a contractor would certainly go against the leased mineral rights, and if the lease contained surface access (which it would have to) then, conceivably they could get a judgment against the land owner. Regardless, if the lien is legitimate it will cloud the title – so if the landowner goes to sell or refinance, they may have to pay off the contractor just to get rid of the mechanic’s lien. Anyone that is Compulsively Integrated into a well could face such an encumbrance. Plus the encumbrance of the banks that these leases have been pledged to en masse to drill the wells. Those can find their way back to the individual leases, since that was the collateral in the driller’s loan: Somebody’s farm. A lot of farms.


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