Canada says its producers can boost exports of oil and natural gas to the United States this year, as part of an international effort to help the world move away from Russian energy after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
By the end of this year, Canadian producers will be positioned to export an extra 200,000 barrels a day of oil to the U.S., as well as natural gas equivalent to 100,000 barrels of oil, Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said during a conference call from Paris on Thursday after a meeting of the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The increase is intended to free up oil and gas supplies in the U.S. and elsewhere, so that those countries can in turn reroute fuel to the European Union, which relies on Russia for roughly one third of the oil it consumes, and 40 per cent of its natural gas.
The anticipated rise in Canada’s oil and gas exports would be relatively small, but Mr. Wilkinson said every bit counts in the effort to strengthen global supplies outside Russia. He estimated that the extra Canadian oil exports to the U.S. would represent an increase of five per cent over existing shipments.
Canada is limited in its ability to make big gains in oil and gas output owing to scarce new export pipeline capacity.
“It will take some time to fully move away from Russian oil and gas for some of these countries like Germany that are quite heavily dependent,” Mr. Wilkinson said. “Any additional amounts can help to start that process.”
Europe’s reliance on oil and gas supplies from Russia is a situation the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the IEA are pushing hard to reverse. Canada, the U.S. and the United Kingdom have already banned Russian oil products in the weeks since the start of the Ukraine invasion, but the European bloc’s need for Russian fuel for heat and power has made it reluctant to do the same.
“Canada stands in steadfast support of the Ukrainian people and our European friends and allies,” Mr. Wilkinson said. “We need to ensure that we are thinking about both energy security and climate change concurrently.”
Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. ENB-T said in a statement that while there are constraints in its pipeline export capacity, company officials have been talking to government representatives about ways to alleviate the energy crisis.
“Enbridge is pleased the government of Canada is taking steps to advance global energy security and the transition to a net-zero emissions economy,” the company said.
Environmental groups criticized global efforts to bolster oil and gas supplies outside Russia. “Corporate interests are cynically seizing on this moment to push forward an agenda to entrench fossil fuel dominance for decades to come,” said Food & Water Watch, a Washington-based non-governmental organization.
Canada’s export capacity is not limited only by a lack of pipelines. The country’s first major liquefied natural gas terminal capable of exporting the fuel in tankers, Shell PLC-led LNG Canada, is still under construction. The $18-billion terminal in Kitimat, B.C. will ship liquefied natural gas to Asia. It won’t open until 2025 at the earliest.
A practical roadmap for achieving independence from Russian fuels has been the subject of “intense back-and-forth” in recent weeks, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters this week.
The U.S. and the European Commission are expected to release more details on an energy security plan soon, but Mr. Sullivan said replacing Russian exports is not simply a matter of diverting liquefied natural gas in the short term. Rather, it will involve structural changes aimed at creating more flexibility for different policy choices in Europe. It will also mean increasing U.S. liquefied natural gas supplies to the continent over the coming months and years.
IEA executive director Fatih Birol said all member countries came to the organization’s summit this week armed with plans, policies and various other tools to reduce reliance on Russian oil and gas.
“They were different policies, different measures, different timelines, but one single target – reducing, radically, Russian oil and gas imports,” he said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said following a G7 summit in Brussels on Thursday that, despite Canada’s role in helping wean Europe off Russian oil and gas, the federal government remains committed to hitting net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“Indeed, the partnerships we’re looking at building with the European Union – on issues of hydrogen, on issues touching renewables – are very promising in terms of getting the world not just off Russian oil and gas, but decarbonizing our energy economy entirely,” he told reporters.
Mr. Trudeau said in a joint statement with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that officials will meet this week to discuss enhancing energy-related co-operation and eliminating the European bloc’s dependence on Russian energy.
“A dedicated working group on green transition and LNG is being created to develop a concrete action plan on these matters,” the statement said.
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A shortage of pilots is making travel chaos in Canada even worse – CBC News
From pandemic-related travel restrictions to extreme weather events, Canada’s travel industry has navigated an unprecedented amount of uncertainty of late. And now, just as demand for travel has returned to its 2019 level, airlines are navigating their next patch of turbulence: a lack of qualified pilots.
According to Transport Canada, in a typical pre-pandemic year, roughly 1,100 pilot licences were issued. When complemented by foreign-trained pilots, that was generally more than enough to satisfy the needs of carriers as large as WestJet and Air Canada, all the way down to regional, charter and cargo airlines.
But as demand for flying collapsed in 2020, so did the number of new pilots getting their paperwork. Government data shows less than 500 licences were awarded in 2020, a figure that fell to less than 300 in 2021 and just 238 last year.
The department told CBC News in a statement that while labour shortages in the airline sector has been “identified as a priority area for action,” there are no current plans to loosen regulations. But the agency says it’s doing what it can to “increase the competitiveness of the Canadian flight training industry as well as improve the viability of aviation careers to address any shortages.”
Whatever changes do come will do little to help anyone in the short term, and travellers are already seeing the impact of the industry’s current labour crunch.
Staff shortages were a factor in charter airline Sunwing’s cancellation of 67 flights over the last two weeks of December, along with extreme weather.
Salaries for experienced pilots generally go up faster and higher at the major airlines than they do at most others, they are so typically able to have their pick among those available. That causes shortages just about everywhere else.
The head of the Air Transport Association of Canada says it’s a problem that had been brewing for many years, even before the pandemic.
“We haven’t had enough pilots for a long time, mostly at the regional level,” John McKenna said.
Long, expensive process
Getting a commercial licence is the last step in a multi-year process of becoming a pilot, a journey that can cost tens of thousands of dollars and take years.
In Canada, for many that journey ends with a dream job at either WestJet or Air Canada, but because of the expense and time commitment of training a new pilot, the major airlines often hire top staff from smaller carriers instead of methodically developing their own.
“Their fishing grounds is the regional carriers. And the regional carriers go down to the smaller carriers, air taxi groups … those levels have been hurting for many years,” McKenna said.
Canada’s two biggest airlines told CBC News in emailed statements that while there is indeed a higher than normal demand for pilots right now, both of them are managing to meet their needs.
“As a large global carrier operating the most modern, largest aircraft, we are a very desirable destination for talented pilots,” AIr Canada said. “As a result, we are able to attract pilots as required.”
“We have and continue to responsibly manage and plan our operations to meet the anticipated demand of our guests and are fully staffed across our network to support our operation,” WestJet said.
That’s not the case for everyone else. Small airlines often have so few pilots on staff that it doesn’t take the loss of very many to stop planes from flying.
In the fall, Sunwing applied to bring in more than 60 temporary foreign workers to meet demand for pilots, but that application was rejected, which exacerbated the chaos seen at the end of 2022. The airline has since cancelled almost all flights out of Saskatchewan and most out of Manitoba for the rest of the winter travel season.
Pandemic reduced numbers, too
It’s not just the big boys gobbling up all the qualified pilots, either. Many simply left the profession during the pandemic.
“Two years ago, to the day, literally almost every pilot [was] out of work,” says Dave Boston, a pilot with 25 years experience who’s also the man behind Edmonton-based aviation job board, Pilot Career Centre.
Faced with furloughs and layoffs at airlines big and small, many pilots tried to wait it out, but many simply moved on, he told CBC News in an interview.
“Many who had businesses or other interests, after maybe six months to a year, had to put food on the table, and they left the industry,” Boston said.
For the pilots who are left, headhunting is the new normal. He says he hears from desperate airlines every day, because they either can’t find the staff, or just lost yet another one. “It’s very common for pilots, unfortunately, to work there for six months [then] get a surprise interview that they don’t expect to get, and then they’re gone,” he said.
“It’s a real challenge right now.”
One person hoping to meet that challenge is Zona Savic, a soon-to-be graduate of one of Canada’s premier aviation schools, Seneca College in Peterborough, Ont.
While she had planned to go into engineering, she joined the Air Cadets while in high school, and was quickly bitten by the aviation bug.
“I just knew from the moment that I was in that plane, this is what I was going to do,” she told CBC News in an interview.
She’s on track to get her pilot’s licence soon, and while she may do additional training to become an instructor herself, she says it’s a load off her mind to know that she won’t have to worry about finding a job.
And even better for the industry, she has no qualms about working her way up at smaller carriers flying niche, remote routes.
” I just love the feeling of flying, so if that’s what I’m doing, I don’t really care if I’m in Paris, or in Nunavut,” she says. “Anything is good for me, as long as I get to experience that.”
Q4 economic growth slows to 1.6% as aggressive hikes bite – BNN Bloomberg
Canada’s economy geared down at the end of 2022, growing at about half the pace of the third quarter and setting the stage for a period of little to no growth.
Preliminary data suggest gross domestic product was flat in December as increases in retail, utilities and the public sector were offset by decreases in the wholesale, finance and oil and gas industries, Statistics Canada reported Tuesday in Ottawa. That followed a 0.1 per cent gain in November, which matched economist expectations in a Bloomberg survey, and a 0.1 per cent increase in October.
Overall, the monthly gains point to annualized growth in the fourth quarter of 1.6 per cent, according to an initial estimate from the statistics agency. Though it will likely be revised, it’s down sharply from a 2.9 per cent pace in the third quarter, 3.2 per cent during April to June, and 2.8 per cent in the first three months of last year.
The numbers show that higher interest rates, which have jumped 425 basis points since last March, are slowing economic activity and weighing on consumption. The lagged effects of the Bank of Canada’s aggressive tightening campaign are expected to drag growth to a halt this year, with economists seeing two quarters of shallow contraction in the first half of 2023.
That’s a key reason why Governor Tiff Macklem and his officials said this month they plan to hold the benchmark overnight lending rate at 4.5 per cent if growth and inflation evolve broadly in line with their outlook. While the 1.6 per cent growth in the final quarter is slightly stronger than policymakers forecast last week, signs of slowing demand are mounting.
“The economy hasn’t yet absorbed the impact of past rate hikes,” James Orlando, an economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank, said in a report to investors. “Even though today’s growth numbers are holding up well, the BoC can feel comfortable keeping its policy on cruise control a little while longer.”
In November, growth in services-producing industries was partially offset by a decline in the goods sectors, the statistics agency said. Interest-rate increases continued to dampen activity for real estate agents and brokers, residential building construction, and legal services which have been trending downward since spring.
Construction dropped 0.7 per cent, with new construction of single detached homes and home improvement leading the decline. Accommodation and food services contracted 1.4 per cent on lower activity in bars and restaurants. Retail trade decreased 0.6 per cent, with the food and beverage subsector falling to its lowest level since April 2018.
The central bank expected fourth-quarter growth of 1.3 per cent annualized, while economists in Bloomberg surveys predicted a gain of 0.9 per cent. Official data for December and the fourth quarter will be released Feb. 28.
Based on initial estimates, Canada’s economy expanded 3.8 per cent in 2022, broadly in line the Bank of Canada’s estimate for a 3.6 per cent growth.
“The overriding message is that the economy is just managing to keep its head above water, which squarely fits with the BoC’s view,” Doug Porter, chief economist at Bank of Montreal, said in a report to investors.
Nike sues Lululemon, says footwear infringes patents – CTV News
Nike sued Lululemon Athletica on Monday, saying that at least four of the Canadian athletic apparel company’s footwear products infringe its patents.
Nike in a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court said it has suffered economic harm and irreparable injury from Lululemon’s sale of its Blissfeel, Chargefeel Low, Chargefeel Mid and Strongfeel footwear.
Nike said its three patents at issue concern textile and other elements, including one addressing how the footwear will perform when force is applied.
The Beaverton, Oregon-based company is seeking unspecified damages.
Lululemon, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Christopher Cushing)
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