Opinion: Amid surging energy prices, Quebec’s new ban on oil and gas projects is oddly timed

Opinion: Amid surging energy prices, Quebec’s new ban on oil and gas projects is oddly timed

Opinion: Amid surging energy prices, Quebec’s new ban on oil and gas projects is oddly timed

Quebec’s Electricity Minister Jonatan Julien.Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

Leading François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec govt gained plaudits from environmentalists final thirty day period by passing legislation to ban oil and gasoline manufacturing, despite opposition from industry gamers who argued the province was forfeiting billions of bucks in probable royalties amid European efforts to uncover solutions to Russian fossil fuels.

Quebec’s National Assembly voted 96 to to undertake the regulation, which presents for $100-million in payment to five organizations whose existing oil and gas leases in the province are staying cancelled by the governing administration. 10 MNAs belonging to the leftist Québec Solidaire, who opposed offering any compensation at all, abstained from voting on the bill.

Strength Minister Jonatan Julien insisted that the new regulation gives Quebec “with an prospect to strengthen its beneficial graphic,” telling the Nationwide Assembly: “Our country is positioning itself internationally by spotlighting our green-economic system commitments and, most of all, by demonstrating that these commitments are supported by distinct and ambitious legislative actions.”

Numerous many years in the past, oil and gasoline producers hoping to exploit the province’s considerable shale gas reserves in the St. Lawrence River valley commenced staking claims in the location. In 2014, the Parti Québécois governing administration gave the greenlight to a general public-non-public partnership to check out for shale oil on Anticosti Island. But the tasks ended up set on hold when a subsequent Liberal authorities slapped a moratorium on all-natural gas assignments and pulled the plug on the Anticosti initiative.

Marketplace had hoped that Mr. Legault’s CAQ may carry the moratorium. Rather, it has absent even even more by banning oil and gasoline exploration and generation outright. The transfer follows Quebec’s conclusion past calendar year to be a part of the Beyond Oil and Fuel Alliance, led by Denmark and Costa Rica, a team of nations and subnational governments committed to ending fossil fuel manufacturing.

The monthly bill applying the ban was tabled in February, only days in advance of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Existing permit holders, led by Calgary-based Questerre Energy Corp. and Montreal-centered RessourcesUtica, urged the federal government to rethink the transfer in mild of surging fossil gas charges and European initiatives to conclusion the continent’s reliance on Russian oil and gasoline.

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In its submission to the Countrywide Assembly committee studying the monthly bill, privately-held Utica claimed Quebec was effectively positioned to replace about 20 per cent of Russian gas materials to Europe and could ramp up output to one trillion cubic feet each year inside of two or three decades.

“If 1 considers existing natural fuel prices, the operations would not only be worthwhile, but would permit the Quebec authorities to make, during this changeover, substantial royalties that could be reinvested in the important governing administration capabilities that are health care and instruction,” Utica reported in its brief. “Natural gasoline output would also permit financial commitment in regional communities, such as Indigenous communities, that have now expressed support for resource growth on their territories.”

With its enormous hydroelectric producing stations, Quebec has a self-picture of a environmentally friendly electricity superpower, and the province’s environmental movement has correctly blocked proposed fossil gasoline developments, these types of the $14-billion GNL Québec liquified natural gasoline project on the Saguenay River. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, on the other hand, has resuscitated desire in GNL Québec, which would count on all-natural fuel from Western Canada to provide markets in Europe.

Regardless of the province’s ample hydropower, far more than 50 % of Quebec’s strength comes from fossils fuels. In the latest several years, the province has not imported oil from exterior North The usa. But Quebec drivers are even so consuming extra oil than ever, with revenue of gas-guzzling SUVs and mild trucks far outpacing people of more gas-successful passenger vehicles in current decades.

Opponents of the ban on oil and fuel exploration argue that the govt should really aim much more on lowering fossil gas intake in the province somewhat than turning its nose up at a perhaps lucrative source of royalty profits. They are threatening to sue, arguing that the $100-million payment deal for cancelling their exploration claims is inadequate specified the possible value of their fuel reserves.

They also place to a latest poll commissioned by the Montreal Economic Institute demonstrating that a vast majority of Quebeckers would assist exploiting pure gas advancement in the province to support Europe finish its dependence on Russian gasoline.

Quebec Ecosystem Minister Benoit Charette dismissed the poll as “biased,” offered the recent geopolitical context. Federal Conservative Party leadership candidates Jean Charest and Pierre Poilievre have both of those cited Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to justify their guidance for reviving GNL Québec.

“We designed our determination last 12 months and we have no intention of reconsidering it,” Mr. Charette stated about the GNL undertaking.

The CAQ is keen to steer clear of a general public debate about GNL Québec and the fossil-gasoline ban in advance of October’s provincial election. But the quickly resurgent Quebec Conservative Celebration, whose chief Éric Duhaime supports GNL Québec and opposes the ban on oil and fuel enhancement, could interfere with those wishes.

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