Tim McMillan. Handout

CALGARY – Tim McMillan has led the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) for seven years, a time period that precisely coincides with the longest downturn in the Canadian oilpatch in living memory. He is currently attending COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference UK 2021 in Glasgow, where he noted that in the past, much of the focus has been on coal and agriculture, not oil and gas, and especially not on Canadian oil and gas.

McMillan announced last week that he would be leaving the position of president of CAPP in the coming year.

Prior to joining CAPP, McMillan was Saskatchewan Minister Responsible for Energy and Resources and MLA for Lloydminster. He grew up on a farm half an hour north of Lashburn, and spent some time on service rigs during his younger days.

Pipeline Online spoke to McMillan at length on Nov 5, a day when CAPP jointly put out a discussion paper with similar industry associations around the world, promoting the global usage of natural gas. This is Part 1 of that interview, with Part 2, talking about McMillan’s future plans and perspective on the future of oil and gas to be posted on Nov. 10.

 

Pipeline Online: What does CAPP think of this federal cap on oil and gas emissions? Was there any consultation with industry before the announcement?

Tim McMillan: I think it was a campaign commitment, made on the campaign trail. The prime minister has now reiterated this at the COP conference, both of which are pretty high level. With this type of announcement, the details will matter a great deal. And we have not engaged with the federal government on this at the senior level. And I think something of that magnitude is going to require a substantial amount of work to ensure that it will be successful in the environmental and economic and social goals that our government has.

Pipeline Online: Do you have any idea of how this cap will be implemented?

McMillan: No, just the comments that have been made on the campaign trail, and now at COP. But, you know, there are so many compliance pathways. I think that it’s probably a lot of work and even issues that haven’t been contemplated by the government at this point. We’re up for that discussion. We need to ensure that this works for Canada.

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Pipeline Online: What are you and CAPP doing at COP26?

McMillan: We have attended a few. We actually have been registered delegates for several years. First and foremost, it is to ensure that the Canadian oil and gas voice is being heard; that certainly opponents to the energy sector use COP as a venue to perform their ideas. We need to be there, to make sure that as one of the biggest investors in innovation and technology, and the solutions that we’re all striving for, that we are balancing that conversation. At this COP, we will be hosting a press conference. This morning, we put out a press release and a discussion paper with partners from around the world. Customers of Canadian energy in Africa, in Europe, in Mexico and in Asia, and partnering with the Indian Resource Council, the Australian Petroleum Producers and CEPA (Canadian Energy Pipelines Association), we’re trying to bring a full value chain discussion about the realities of the our energy system, and the roles we play in social and environmental goals.

Pipeline Online: What are your impressions? Have you been able to have any sort of impact, or are you just ignored?

McMillan: I think our largest impact is being able to share with Canadians a straightforward view of what’s actually being discussed at COP, and breaking through some opposition rhetoric.

What I mean by that is, here in Canada, we can, as Canadians, apologize too much. In our nature, we’re self-critical, and more than we should be. And before I went to my first COP, I was expecting that half of the discussion would be about Canada, and Canada’s oil and gas industry, and oil sands industry. And when I got there, and at every COP since, oil and gas is not the main topic. It is often coal or agriculture. Surprisingly, agriculture is the major topic and target, at the COP, and Canada is not. That being said, we have a positive story to tell, and we’re proactive in ensuring it is heard.

Pipeline Online: Do you think you’re able to make any difference at all in any matter at COP26?

McMillan: I think the biggest impact we have is communicating with what’s actually happening at the COP. Our ability to influence the COP delegates is, I would say, not the primary focus for us.

Pipeline Online: On Friday (Nov. 5) CAPP joined other organizations in calling for natural gas to be more widely implemented worldwide. Can you speak to this?

McMillan: Absolutely. You know, I think this year, this time in history, we are actually having a more realistic discussion about energy policy than we have in a decade. For a long time, energy policy, and simplistic solutions to energy policy seemed to be cost free and risk free. We’re now in a situation where there are major blackouts in Asia, where industries have been shut down, where citizens are seeing their light go out, just before, and probably through winter.

And it’s not just the Third World or Second World problem. In Europe, this is an actual scenario that people are worried about putting up with this winter. That people in the United Kingdom may find themselves without heat and light in some of the coldest points in winter. So, I think part of what we need to be doing, as a country, and as an industry is having an honest, rational discussion about energy policies, and calling out people that want to give simplistic solutions to complex issues, because that only leads to devastating outcomes.

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Pipeline Online: If Quebec hadn’t killed Energie Saguenay, we could have been well on our way to an LNG export facility that would have been able to service the Atlantic basin, and Europe in particular. The U.S. has built numerous LNG export facilities in recent years, and we haven’t completed one. How can Canada take part in this push to natural gas if we keep killing projects?

McMillan: It is ironic that Quebec, who promotes themselves as very front-footed on the environment, has made it impossible to complete the Saguenay LNG facility that could supply Europe. What that ultimately is resulting in, today and into the future, is an entrenchment of coal. Because of their position, there will be more coal and higher emissions.

Pipeline Online: What about oil? I keep thinking about Energy East, so I’m probably the last reporter that’s ever going to let it go. Do you think that would have made a difference at all in this current scenario, what’s happening in Europe?

McMillan: We are absolutely seeing more liquids being used for electricity generation than we have in years, because of the shortages of natural gas. So, they’re challenged today, I would say, more on the gas side, but they have that shortage for oil as well. I might be the wrong guy to ask about whether that link could have helped in the logistical challenges that led to the major gasoline shortages in the United Kingdom.

But most certainly, I’m glad that you are still raising this and putting this in front of Canadians. The dependence we have on foreign dictatorships, for Eastern Canadian energy, we should be supplying this energy. And Joe Biden cancelled the Keystone XL Pipeline, only to turn around and appeal to the dictatorships in OPEC and Russia to help him out. And I think Canadians are in exactly the same boat, dependent on dictators for the energy security of Eastern Canada, and Central Canada.

Part 2 of this interview will be posted on Nov. 10.

 

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  • 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
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  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
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