Husky Energy is getting $41.5 million from the Newfoundland and Labrador government to keep the idled West White Rose offshore oil project going, particularly to “protect the option of re-starting” in the next year — although there is no guarantee that will happen.The announcement came Thursday morning in a news conference that involved Premier Andrew Furey, provincial Energy Minister Andrew Parsons, federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan and Husky senior vice-president Jonathan Brown. The money is coming from the government’s Oil and Gas Industry Recovery Fund, and is the first project to get financial help from that source.The $41.5 million is half the total project cost. Husky Energy will be kicking in the other half. Furey said the work related to the project will happen in 2021, and it will mean 331 jobs. Specifically, there will be 169 positions in project management and engineering, and 162 tradespersons at the Port of Argentia and a fabrication facility in Marystown.The money keeps the project — one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s biggest offshore operations — alive for now.> The signal you’ve received from Husky today is that they’re planning to move forward. – Andrew FureyIt’s known as “warm suspension,” and it’s only an option, not a certainty, that the project will fully re-start.”Everyone wants a crystal ball, but of course we don’t have one and we don’t have that certainty,” Furey told reporters following the conference.”But I think the signal you’ve received from Husky today is that they’re planning to move forward. They recognize the value of this project.”‘One heck of a Christmas surprise’: O’ReganO’Regan called the announcement “one heck of a Christmas surprise for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and their families.”He said the announcement was not merely a “government handout” but instead called it a “strategic investment” in the offshore oil industry, which was thrown into turmoil this spring when the COVID-19 pandemic caused oil prices to plummet. “We believe in our workers, we believe in this industry and we believe in its future,” O’Regan added. O’Regan acknowledged there will not be an entirely smooth road in the coming months. “Spring is coming and the vaccines are coming, but we have a hard winter ahead,” he said.A ‘first step back in the right direction,’ says Husky VPBrown, Husky’s senior vice-president for the Atlantic region, said the announcement will put the project in a better position for a 2022 restart, allowing project capability and skilled workers in the province to be retained.”This is the first step back in the right direction for the White Rose project,” Brown said. “But one of many steps still ahead.”Brown said the announcement is positive news in what has been a “year of tough decisions” on the project, which has suspended construction until 2021.He said work in Marystown will continue on projects like life boats, helipads and a flare tower, while the maintenance and preservation program will continue in Argentia.Opposition, NDP looking for guaranteesFollowing the press conference, NDP Leader Alison Coffin voiced concern over the project’s continued precariousness, citing the agreement’s reliance on unnamed “conditions.””We’ve been given no idea of what those conditions are,” she told reporters Thursday.”Do we have to put even more money into this? Are the conditions that the price of oil has to go up?…We have no guarantees.”PC Leader Ches Crosbie echoed a similar sentiment, saying Furey “should be moving heaven and earth” to restart the project. He also questioned the number of new jobs to come from the announcement.”What we’re hearing is that the 331 jobs that they’re claiming, more than half of those … are already in existence,” he said. “So the actual number of jobs created by all that money is not what they’re claiming it’s going to be.”Coffin said the money could have been better spent diversifying the economy, opening more work opportunities for those who may not be able to re-enter the oil and gas sector.”I think there are better ways to spend this money, to ensure that the workers who need to go back to work have employment,” she said.Latest development in a roller coaster ride for workers, projectThat Oil and Gas Industry Recovery Fund was announced Sept. 25, with the federal government allocating $320 million for the N.L. government to support direct and indirect employment. Furey appointed a task force with the same name, chaired by Bill Fanning and Karen Winsor, who were also on hand for Thursday’s announcement. The announcement is the latest development in a saga that started in April, when Husky announced it was stopping construction on the project, as the global pandemic battered oil markets. Hundreds of workers were laid off.At the time, the project was nearly 60 per cent complete.In October, Husky said construction was cancelled for 2021 as well.That news came just days after Cenovus Energy announced it would buy Husky Energy in a deal worth nearly $4 billion. In a statement, Cenovus said regarding Husky’s operations in the province “the WWR [West White Rose] project is key to extending the life of the White Rose field. As we have said before, all options are on the table and accelerating abandonment remains a possibility.”When asked about Cenovus walking away from the project once the merger is complete, Brown said it’s too early to know. He said his team is committed to continuing the West White Rose project.”I think that really understates the level of commitment that we’ve already shown to the project,” he said. “The responsibility everyone feels to completing the project and the effort … don’t underestimate the importance of that.”He said a review of Husky’s East Coast operations that the corporation had announced in September are also still ongoing.”We have to create a path forward,” Brown said.”Yes, I’d love to have a decision tomorrow, but I’d also like … the economy to stabilize, the oil prices to improve, because they’ll provide a better basis for that decision.”Take that decision too early, it might not be the one you want.”Husky has been asking both the federal and provincial governments for money to save West White Rose, but both governments have rejected the company’s pitch to buy a stake in the project.Newfoundland and Labrador, through its Crown corporation Nalcor Energy, already owns a five per cent stake in the project.Read more stories from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
13 new North Atlantic right whale calves recorded this season – CBC.ca
Thirteen North Atlantic whale calves have been spotted off the coast of the southern United States — more than the number born in a single winter since 2016.
The calves, recorded only about halfway through the calving season, are reason for “guarded optimism” about the endangered whale’s population, a researcher says.
“In 2018 we didn’t have any calves born and we’ve had ten or less in most of the previous five years,” said Philip Hamilton, a research scientist with the Anderson Cabot Centre for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium. “So that’s very positive news.”
Calving season for North Atlantic right whales typically runs from the start of December to the end of March. So, it’s possible this could be the first year in a long time the population hits a supposed reproduction average.
Scientists expect 23 calves a year
Hamilton said that given the current state of the whale population, scientists would expect an average of around 23 calves a year. That hasn’t happened in years, likely because of the stress whales are experiencing finding enough food.
The North Atlantic right whale population have recently moved into unfamiliar and more hazardous waters in search of a dwindling food supply.
While there are some first-time mothers with calves this year, several of the mothers haven’t reproduced in a decade.
“On average a right whale should be able to give birth every three or four years, and some of the mothers that are giving birth this year have gone 10 or 11 years without calving,” said Hamilton. “So, there’s a backlog of whales that should be able to calve and it’s really encouraging that they are.”
‘We need to stop killing these animals’
Hamilton says he is optimistic about this year’s calving season, but says it’s important to put things into context.
“We really need to stop killing these animals,” said Hamilton. “We’ve had 32 deaths between 2017 … we know that we’re missing probably two-thirds of the deaths.”
Hamilton estimates that as many as 100 of the whales may have died in the last four years.
Necropsies determined that many of them were killed as a result of blunt trauma likely due to being struck by passing ships. Entanglement in fishing gear has been cited as a cause of deaths.
Both Canada and the United States have implemented restrictions to curb the number of North Atlantic right whale deaths in recent years.
“Clearly we’re not doing enough,” Hamilton said. “Not enough, when we have a population of around 350.”
Starlink satellite internet grants instant sign-up for eligible Canadians – Saskatoon StarPhoenix
Article content continued
In a CBC article, some Starlink subscribers have reported service speeds of up to 150Mbps.
The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) granted Starlink’s operator, SpaceX, a Basic International Telecommunications Service (BITS) license in October 2020. The license allows SpaceX to provide telecommunication services in Canada but does not allow it to operate as an internet service provider within the issuing nation.
SpaceX granted basic telecom license in Canada
Starlink says it aims to establish a global network by using a massive constellation of satellites. The satellites float at low earth orbit, which both cuts down on signal latency and can more easily return to earth once they’re decommissioned. But stargazers are worried that the massive amount of satellites could obscure the view of the night sky.
The company has expressed a keen interest in providing internet service to rural and underserved areas in Canada and the United States. It’s currently extending beta testing offers in Canada, U.S. and U.K.
Starlink says it has launched 955 satellites so far.
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Two more Interior residents died from COVID-19, for a total of 57 – Vernon News – Castanet.net
Yet another resident of Vernon’s Noric House care home has died from COVID-19, while another Interior resident has died in hospital.
The two new deaths bring the total COVID-19 deaths in the Interior to 57. Of these, 39 were residents of long-term care homes. Provincewide, the virus claimed the lives of 13 others in the past 24 hours.
“I know people are fatigued by the impact COVID-19 on our day-to-day lives. However, the ongoing challenges of this pandemic shows us we need to continue to be vigilant and compassionate,” said Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health. “We all need to do our part to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in our communities.”
The single death at Noric House comes after IH announced two residents died there Wednesday. To date, five residents of the care home have died from the virus.
There remains outbreaks declared at seven Interior care homes:
- Brocklehurst Gemstone in Kamloops – 17 residents (one new) and seven staff (two new), one death
- Sunnybank in Oliver – 26 residents and nine staff, two deaths
- Creekside Landing in Vernon – 20 residents and 15 staff (three new), one death
- Williams Lake Seniors Village – one resident and one staff
- Noric House in Vernon – 34 residents (two new) and 21 staff (two new), five deaths
- Heritage Square in Vernon – 47 residents and 20 staff (two new), seven deaths
- Heritage Retirement Residence in West Kelowna – 41 residents and five staff, three deaths
There remains 11 staff at Williams Lake’s Cariboo Memorial Hospital who’ve tested positive for the virus, while the outbreak connected to the Teck Mining operation remains contained to 17 Interior Health residents.
Meanwhile, a staff member at Vernon’s Carrington Place retirement residence recently tested positive for the virus, but an outbreak has not been declared there.
Interior Health said Thursday that the response to the COVID-19 outbreak at Oliver’s McKinney Place care home, where 17 residents died, is under a formal review. That outbreak, the worst in the Interior Health region, was declared over earlier this week.
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