Trudeau approves Equinor’s US$12bil oil plan

OTTAWA: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s authorities has given the inexperienced mild to a US$12bil (RM51bil) offshore oil venture proposed by Norway’s Equinor ASA, handing a significant win to the nation’s fossil-fuel sector however drawing an offended backlash from environmental teams.

The federal government mentioned the Bay du Nord venture – about 500km off the coast of Newfoundland – can transfer forward so long as the corporate follows strict environmental safety measures.

Equinor might want to adjust to 137 legally-binding circumstances, together with necessities to scale back greenhouse fuel emissions, it mentioned.

It is a politically-risky transfer for Trudeau that complicates his efforts to hit aggressive emission targets for the oil and fuel (O&G) sector and will probably alienate the pro-environment bloc throughout the governing Liberal Get together.

But, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has additionally prompted coverage makers to rethink the significance of the nation’s huge oil reserves to Canada’s financial safety.

The venture can be “topic to a few of the strongest environmental circumstances ever, together with the historic requirement for an O&G venture to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050,” setting minister Steven Guilbeault mentioned within the assertion.

To buffer criticism, Guilbeault concurrently introduced he can be toughening guidelines for future approvals, including a requirement that new initiatives would want to show the have “best-in-class” low-emissions efficiency.

Environmental teams weren’t impressed.The venture’s approval is a “slap within the face” to local weather scientists, Julia Levin, an official at Environmental Protection, mentioned in an announcement.

“The choice is tantamount to denying that local weather change is actual and threatens our very existence.”

Greenpeace Canada mentioned the choice “will solely deepen the local weather disaster and international habit to planet-wrecking fossil fuels.”

The left-leaning New Democratic Get together (NDP) additionally slammed the choice, regardless of having signed a power-sharing cope with the Liberals simply final month.

“This exhibits precisely what’s fallacious with this authorities,” NDP lawmaker Charlie Angus mentioned within the assertion.

The federal government introduced its approval late within the day, on the eve of the federal finances – an indication officers wish to reduce consideration.

Guilbeault did not maintain a press convention.

Regardless of the ire of environmentalists, different political issues could have been at play within the choice. Whereas the Liberals do poorly in Canada’s western oil-producing areas, they place a excessive worth on seats within the Atlantic provinces and several other cupboard ministers are from the realm.

The Bay du Nord venture consists of a number of oil discoveries containing no less than 300 million recoverable barrels, in line with Equinor. Different estimates have put the recoverable oil two to 3 occasions increased. Nevertheless, it’s unlikely to start out producing oil till the top of this decade.

Based mostly on 300 million barrels, Equinor mentioned the venture would produce C$3.5bil (US$2.8bil or RM11.8bil) in income and create 1000’s of jobs in Newfoundland. — Bloomberg


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