Fault(y) (head)Lines :Opinion

In the course of one day last month, three separate news articles appeared in the Edmonton Journal (2) and The Globe and Mail, that had the capacity to mislead or mis-state certain facts about developments in Alberta’s energy sector. The headline “Oil sands firms face stringent emissions caps” was published on 16 June.  Written by Kelly Cryderman and Jeff Lewis, the use of the words “stringent emissions caps” seemed a stretch headline.  Oilsands firms face stringent emissions caps16-6-17 GM

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Redwater Resources

Originally posted 1 July 2017

Since our last post on the Redwater decision, the Alberta Court of Appeal, in a two-one decision, upheld the earlier judgment of Chief Justice Neil Wittman. The judgment was rendered by Justice Frans Slatter with Madam Justice Frederica Schultz concurring. Madam Justice Sheilah Martin’s dissent is the first ray of hope for the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) and the Orphan Well Association (OWA) which has contested the Trustee in Bankruptcy’s right to disclaim unproductive oil wells.  The trustee, Grant Thornton LLP, acting on behalf of Alberta Treasury Branches (ATB Financial), sought only to claim the productive wells.  The ultimate outcome in this case is central to the relationship between oil and gas producers and lenders and to the financial viability of oil and gas producers, and in fact to the whole province’s economy. The case pits environmental values and interests against financial values and interests. Who cleans up when oil companies go bankrupt15-7-17 GM

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The Alberta Energy Regulator advertises (Again)

Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO)

The following ad seeking candidates for the position of AESO board members appeared in the Edmonton Journal last week.

AESO ad director2-6-17 EJ

While the ad is extremely general it should include the ability to read near- microscopic print!

The Alberta Energy Regulator advertises (Again)

In April, Boydon a well-known executive search firm placed an ad on behalf of the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) for board commissioners. On 24 May 2017, the following advertisement was run with considerably less verbiage (see below) for the position of Board Director at the Regulator..

Ad Alberta Energy Regulator Board Member24-3-17 EJ

In an earlier article (Alberta Energy Regulator Advertises- 20 April 2017), we commented on the bold language of the earlier ad. The former ad (below) boasted of its “full life-cycle regulatory oversight of energy resource development: from  application and construction to abandonment and reclamation, and everything in between.” [Emphasis added] The original ad’s bombast included “For the past 75 years, Alberta’s oil and gas regulator has adapted to meet innovations in technology, new industry activity, and changing societal expectations. The Alberta energy Regulator is building on this foundation and preparing the province for the next era in energy regulation.”

Advertisement-Hearing Commisioners Alberta Energy Regulator15-4-17 EJ

The April ad listed a detailed set of proficiencies that few talented individuals, outside the energy-environment-legal world would be qualified for.   Happily, the regulator and its search agent in their most recent venture to encourage applicants have used less effusive language to describe the regulator’s role.  Also the AER  and its head hunter has become more realistic in drafting job listings that encourage, rather than discourage, more applicants with diverse backgrounds to apply.

It is understandable that regulatory agencies wish to attract the most qualified applicants.  However who defines qualified?  Is the agency (which is ultimately accountable to the Legislative Assembly through a Minister), the sole source of advice on the competencies for these positions. What role, if any, does the Minister or her department have in reviewing the ad and in filtering the applicants. Further effort may be needed in strengthening the role of the Public Agencies Secretariat in husbanding resources to co-ordinate the hundreds of ads and applicants for key agency roles. Indeed, legislative scrutiny of key agencies such as AIMCo, ATB, the Securities Commission Labour Relations Board,  Agriculture Financial Services Corporation, the Workers Compensation Board, and the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, might be a good idea.