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By mid-2007, western Canada’s oil and gas industry was starting to come to terms with the loss of the income trust model, only to be slammed by Alberta’s “Fair Share” royalty review.
World oil prices surpassed the previous year’s record highs as they marched towards their all time peak of $145/bbl in the summer of 2008.
And President George W. Bush signed an energy bill that required passenger vehicles sold in the United States to have fuel economy standards of 35 miles per gallon by 2020, a 40 per cent increase over the previous standard.
Here’s what else was making oil and gas news that summer:
- Effective July 1, 2007, Alberta’s biggest industrial emitters were required to reduce emissions intensity by 12 per cent compared to 2003 levels.
- North West Upgrading received conditional regulatory approval for its 150,000 bbl/d bitumen upgrader (now known as the Sturgeon Refinery) near Edmonton.
- Oilsands production was considered a key component of U.S. energy security, a Calgary heavy oil conference heard in July. Forecasts pegged oilsands production to increase to between three million and four million bbls/d by 2015, from the one million bbls/d in 2007.
- Apache Canada announced it was “pretty confident” it would soon commercialize a shale gas play in northeastern British Columbia with its partner EnCana Corporation.
- Despite low North American natural gas prices and a decline in gas drilling in western Canada, interest in shale gas sparked a land rush in the Horn River Basin of northern British Columbia near Fort Nelson.
- U.S. LNG imports in June jumped 32 per cent from the previous year and imports were expected to soar to 1.02 tcf in 2008.
- China’s natural gas demand growth was twice that of crude in support of its frenzied pace of industrialization.
- As crude prices hovered near record levels, U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman encouraged OPEC to pump more oil: “We’re continuing to struggle with higher prices — prices higher than either they or we would like — so I think it’s time for them to look at it.”
- Northeastern Alberta and southeastern Saskatchewan were the only two regions of Western Canada to escape a sharp downturn in well permitting that saw 30 per cent fewer licences issued compared to the previous summer.
- Alberta’s oil and gas producers and investment firms grappled with the implication of the Royalty Review Panel’s recommendations. “It’s much more than we expected,” said Greg Stringham, CAPP’s vice-president of markets and fiscal policy at the time.