The Oil spill in the Gulf does not help public perception issues our Industry has here in Canada and the world. On the other hand it has taken some global heat off the OilSands for the time being. They look relatively benign as a land based operation as compared to the challenges faced in the Gulf. Here are some news excerpts from the last month or so relevant to the topic:

Turning The Needle Of Public Opinion Daily Oil Bulletin – May 18, 2010. By Richard Macedo

Brian Wastle, now vice-president of Responsible Care for the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (formerly the Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association), says that twenty years ago leaders within the industry were virtually unknown to the public.

“(We were) an industry that didn’t have reason to go out and solicit public recognition because we don’t sell products directly to consumers,” he said of the prevailing mind-set back then.

The attitude was: the industry was indispensable, the public couldn’t get by without it, therefore why worry too much about the public understanding of what the business does and how it operates.

Sound familiar?

Both the chemical industry and now the forestry industry – with today’s announcement of a pact with key environmental groups – have worked hard to show they are not just pillagers of Canada’s resources, interested only in profits at the expense of the environment.

The forest industry, another business that has faced environmental opposition, has been making headway in how it deals with environmental groups, highlighted this morning when 21 member companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada and nine leading environmental organizations unveiled an unprecedented accord.

FPAC members, who manage two-thirds of all certified forest land in Canada, are committing to the highest environmental standards of forest management within an area twice the size of Germany. Conservation groups are committing to global recognition and support for FPAC member efforts.

The agreement calls for the suspension of new logging on nearly 29 million hectares of boreal forest and development of conservation plans for endangered caribou while maintaining essential fibre supplies for uninterrupted mill operations.

“Do Not Buy” campaigns by Canopy, ForestEthics and Greenpeace will be suspended while the agreement is being implemented.

The pact is a truce of sorts between the sides, which had sparred for decades.

Of Note: This will be an interesting issue to follow as it was negotiated between Industry and the Environmentalists but not Governments. One area set aside by FPAC for example includes the Horn River Basin in BC.

Energize Alberta Rolls Out Across Province Daily Oil Bulletin – May 18, 2010

A new publication that links energy to the everyday lives of Albertans rolls out across the province this week.

Energize Alberta, a bimonthly tabloid newspaper that will be the largest circulation publication of its type in western Canada, links rural and agricultural Albertans to downtown Calgary and Edmonton, with energy content that focuses on the role energy plays in the lives of ordinary Albertans.

Energize Alberta is linked to a growing awareness that Albertans have a desire to heighten their knowledge of how energy issues intersect and impact their lives, noted JuneWarren-Nickle’s president Bill Whitelaw. The publication, and its related website, will focus on three energy cornerstones: petroleum, power and renewables.

“Our goal is to link readers to the importance of how improved energy literacy will better equip Albertans to deal with some of the complex energy challenges and opportunities they’ll face in the future. We’ll tell Alberta’s energy stories through the experiences of the people in the trenches

Our World has Changed Speech by Dave Collyer, President, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers April 7, 2010 (Full version published in The Source Magazine Summer Edition)

The theme for my speech today is that the world has changed. Examples of change being that we are coming out of a very difficult and challenging economic period, that we’ve made some significant steps toward improving the working relationship between government and industry in this province, that we have seen a step change in the supply outlook for natural gas with the emergence of unconventional supplies and that in some quarters there is an increased hostility to hydrocarbons and their central role in the global energy system.

It is within this context of change, that we must remain focused – as an industry, as Albertans, as Canadians and as global citizens – on the very important role we have to play in helping the world meet its energy needs and in demonstrating that this can be done in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

For the oil and gas industry in Alberta, striking the right balance among economic growth, ensuring social benefits and protecting the environment means having forward-looking people and allies in business, academia and the community working together to find solutions. In that context, what is “Alberta is Energy” all about? It is a community-building initiative, supported by nine Alberta business associations, to raise awareness about the oil and gas industry in Alberta. It’s about engaging Albertans so that there is a line of sight to the economic benefits that are contributed by our industry and to the environmental and social responsibility that is being demonstrated by our industry on a day-to-day basis. It is about building relationships and alliances to move our industry forward. It will take the form of communication and discussions via websites, social media, mainstream media and engagement of our member company employees, as well as speeches and presentations throughout Alberta over the next several months. Why? Well, as one of our CAPP members frequently reminds me, ‘You can’t expect to win on the road if you can’t win at home.” “Alberta is Energy” is about winning at home.

The road ahead will be fraught with interesting challenges. Seeking equilibrium between humans and the environment; between our Industry and Governments; and/or between the Public and its insatiable desire for energy through economic prosperity is only rarely achieved for but a fleeting amount. And much like Peak Oil can only be seen in the rearview mirror.

From the Thursday Files

"There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing."
– Maya Angelou



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