Oilfield expansion projects set aside in light of Kyoto (October 01, 2002)

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EDMONTON, Alta. – Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s pledge to ratify the Kyoto Accord is threatening to bring Alberta’s booming oilfield industry to a grinding halt, according to Petro-Canada.

The company says it may scrap its $5-billion plan to upgrade its Strathcona County refinery and its $800-million Meadowcreek oilsands project. Scrapping those projects could be devastating to trucking firms.

“There’s a very real possibility that a portion or a majority of those proposed developments may not go ahead,” says Petro-Canada’s Chris Dawson. “This is not an idle threat. This is a business reality.”

Oil companies are hesitant to go ahead with new projects because so far the federal government hasn’t announced how the greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced to meet Kyoto restrictions. It’s expected Canada may have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 250 megatonnes in order to meet the Kyoto target.

“We don’t know how much it’s going to cost because we don’t know what the government is going to do,” says Greg Stringham, vice-president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Meanwhile, Newfoundland has decided to join Alberta in opposing Kyoto.

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