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Pipeline Association Shuts Down after Losing ‘Critical Mass’ of Members

Alberta’s energy minister is accusing her former pipeline industry colleagues of being “really short-sighted” after the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) announced it will shut down by the end of the year.

CEPA’s demise “underscores the seismic shift under way in the energy sector,” the Globe and Mail reports. “Fossil fuel companies are pivoting to renewables or incorporating other green technologies into their operations as investors increasingly focus on environmental, social, and governance issues.”

And as pipeline companies try to latch onto the trend, their shared lobbying voice in Ottawa is about to disappear.

As recently as 2016, CEPA had a dozen members, and in 2020, the companies in its orbit delivered 4.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.3 billion barrels of crude oil, the Globe says. But after Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. stepped away about two years ago, followed by Pembina Pipeline and TC Energy earlier this year, the association’s board decided to wind things down.

“The big guys represented a critical mass,” said CEPA President and CEO Chris Bloomer. “When you have that, you’re speaking for the whole industry, and that really means something. When you lose that constituency, it’s tough.” With its remaining members diversifying into hydrogen, renewable natural gas, biofuels, and carbon capture and storage pipeline, he said the industry would see continuing momentum.

But apparently not at the moment. Even as the fossil industry celebrated completion of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline last week, “no companies are looking to build any other major new pipeline transmission systems in Canada,” the Globe says.

That conclusion didn’t land well with Alberta Energy Minister and former CEPA and Enbridge executive Sonya Savage.

“It’s really short-sighted for these companies to have let the industry association fold because you know we’re going to need it again,” Savage told the Calgary Herald. “You see the attacks and the opposition to major new pipeline projects. Well, that opposition is now targeting existing pipelines…Who is going to be advocating for the industry-wide perspective on that?”

“My indication from the companies is they want to do it on their own,” Bloomer responded. “And companies like TC and Enbridge, they have the capacity to do that…but the larger companies are changing, too, and their focus is different and that needs to be recognized.”

Herald columnist Chris Varcoe agrees big pipeline companies “certainly have the ability to hire lobbyists and experts to ensure their voices are heard in Ottawa.”

3 Comments (Open | Close)

3 Comments To "Pipeline Association Shuts Down after Losing ‘Critical Mass’ of Members"

#1 Comment By John Dunn On October 8, 2021 @ 10:56 AM

Solar farms, wind farms, storage. Subsidies or loans to homeowners and businesses for roof top solar and storage. Solar and wind now better and cheaper than all other forms of energy. We must start this transition immediately even yesterday. Stop with the pessimism.. we are facing an environmental, existential catastrophe. The planet’s future is at stake.

#2 Comment By BRENDAN HARTY On October 24, 2021 @ 1:27 PM

Wait untill you are out of fuel at the furnace and there are shortages at the grocery store. Sadly this will not happen overnite and our generation may never totally rely on Solar and wind as we all are not 3 blocks from a store. rude awakenings coming people. Our foolish government has given away billions to absolutely nothing and who do you think will finance the expensive components for recharging batteries and take the place of oil and gas.? There is no free rides coming as it all comes at a price tag and we are broke. Wake up.

#3 Comment By Mitchell Beer On October 24, 2021 @ 10:48 PM

Thanks, Brendan. I don’t think anyone is expecting a free ride…except, oh wait, wasn’t that Cenovus CEO Alex Pourbaix demanding $52.5 billion in taxpayer subsidies through 2050, against the desperate hope of commercializing industrial carbon capture technologies that haven’t worked properly in the 30 years they’ve already been under development, and will only cover 20% of the Alberta industry’s carbon footprint if they can ever deliver at scale?

On the other side of the ledger, you have energy efficiency technologies that create massive numbers of jobs with the potential to wipe out energy poverty, while rooftop solar in Australia has been clocking in as low as 1¢ per megawatt-hour — that’s megawatt, not kilowatt — over the last couple of months. I’d say that kind of pricing leaves lots of scope for increasingly affordable batteries, grid management systems, and soon green hydrogen to make up for intermittency.

And all the evidence shows that the grocery shortages will be a result of crop losses due to climate change. It’s already starting to happen. There’s still time to turn back the tide, but not if we keep listening to the fossil lobby and handing them $11 million per minute in subsidies world-wide, every minute of every day of the year.

Except for the Australia item, which is still on our upcoming story lineup, all of these data points are drawn from information available on our site. I would encourage you to take a dive into the archive and come back with any questions that come up for you.

But you make a *really* important point, I think — that no one wants to have to worry about where their energy is coming from, about the prospect of freezing in the dark. And no one should have to live with food shortages — including the communities and countries that are starving right now. Why don’t we start from that common ground, shall we, and take a clear-eyed look at which energy path will actually get us there?