Past Conference Proceedings

The following CERI conference proceedings are available for $350.00 (CDN).


CERI 2016 petrochemical conference
aligning industry and government
june 5-7, 2016


For well over a century Canada’s electric power sector has made profound contributions to the country’s economy and to raise the quality of life of Canadians. Starting as a distributed group of investor-owned isolated grids, the electricity system has evolved into a complex physical and human network, integrating power generating and transmission infrastructure, electricity end users, public and private enterprises, and utility regulators. The electricity industry has evolved in a conservative and controlled manner to minimize costs and to ensure reliability. Major changes to the way the electricity system is built and operated has happened in decadal intervals. The Canadian electricity sector is now approaching one of those junctures. Many electricity assets are approaching their end of life and must be replaced to satisfy the growing demand. Concerns about environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and land use impacts have exerted pressure on the way electricity is generated and transported. On the other hand, recent technological developments in electricity generation, transmission, distribution, and storage have provided us options to transform the electricity sector, minimizing its environmental impacts and increasing access. However, such transformation is complicated by the capital stock of electricity infrastructure, uncertainty in future fuel prices and environmental regulations, and public perceptions of different technologies. This CERI conference aims to provide a forum of key industry players, public policy makers, and the general public to explore challenges and opportunities that the Canadian electricity sector is facing over the next three decades.


MARCH 14-15, 2016

“The Gambler" was a song recorded by American country music artist Kenny Rogers and although the song dates back to 1978 some of the words may have meaning for today’s energy industry: “Know when to walk away, know when to run”. It may sound harsh but the reality is that the producers (The Gambler) that work in the Canadian oil and gas industry hold the money (hydrocarbon energy) but none of the cards. In this analogy, the cards represent access to existing markets, access to new markets, social license, carbon pricing, and investment dollars. The other players at the table include proponents of renewable energy sources (wind, solar, nuclear), the Indigenous communities, environmental groups and governments (federal and provincial).

For gas, hope for a winning hand comes from LNG exports from the Gulf of Mexico, US exports of natural gas to Mexico, LNG exports from the west or east coasts of Canada, new gas-fired power generation, and cogeneration.

For oil, one pipeline, any pipeline, repeat any pipeline going to tide water may produce a winning hand.

The oil and gas industry in Canada is experiencing a challenging business environment, and the future is still murky. This year’s price forecasts range from $20 to $80 per barrel for oil, and $2 to $3 per mcf for natural gas. Uncertainty regarding pipelines remains.  And the joker in the deck is new carbon pricing and royalty policies and how the industry will adapt.

What does it take to have an adult, fact-based, conversation about the future of energy? If the time is not now to heed the words from Don Schlitz’s song then it is coming at us quickly.

CERI 2015 Petrochemical Conference
Positive About Canada, BUT,
Really Positive About the Gulf of Mexico
June 7-9, 2015


Since the mid-1970s the term “The Alberta Advantage” has been used to describe the development of the petrochemical business in Alberta. Gas valued feedstock prices coupled with strong government support has led to the development of an industry that continues to be a significant contributor to the Alberta economy. From the hundreds of field plant operations situated across the province to the strategic positioning of straddle plants on the major export pipelines, to the NGL liquids gathering pipelines and fractionators situated in Fort Saskatchewan, all have contributed to today’s vibrant industry. Recent history has seen the development of new deep cut field facilities, the Vantage pipeline connector to bring additional ethane molecules into Alberta, and new investments at Joffre and Fort Saskatchewan. However, recent history has also seen proposals to develop export terminals on the west coast of Washington State to move Canadian propane and butane molecules to foreign markets and the potential to sell LNG in a hot form (leaving NGL components in the export LNG stream). Current ethane pricing and state tax incentives are favouring Gulf of Mexico projects which is reflected in investment dollars flowing towards Louisiana and Texas. LNG projects on the BC coast will be the relief natural gas producers need to incent new drilling and may contribute to an expansion of the liquids business in Alberta. But will this be enough to signal a resurgence of the Alberta Advantage?


CERI 2015 Oil Conference
Markets and Messages:  We Need this Discussion
March 2-3, 2015

CERI hosted its 2015 Crude Oil Conference “Markets and Messages: We Need This Discussion” on April 20 and 21, 2015 at the Fairmont Palliser in Calgary.

It has been said that the “Oil industry is a bubble surrounded by reality”. Harsh maybe, but the fact remains that in Western Canada, oil and oil sands companies are focused on doubling production (4 million barrels per day) within the next 10 years while choosing not to focus on the underlying issues of First Nations, the younger generation, the environmental lobby and the languishing lack of trust by the public at large. All of these elements can be summed up as the simple reason why new pipelines to existing US and new global markets are not advancing. More than jobs, GDP growth, taxes and prosperity, a significant portion of the public wants to support the industry but the media images of tailings ponds, GHG emissions, transportation accidents and blockades to industrial sites makes acceptance impossible. In an Ipsos Reid survey commissioned by the Canada West Foundation that examined the attitudes of western Canadians towards the region’s main resource industries – farming, forestry, mining and energy – the energy industry showed up as the least trustworthy. This might be the last opportunity for the industry to get in front of these and other issues or face the prospect that market access will never be realized. We are at the point where Messages meet Markets!

The audience heard from very distinguished speakers, covering topics on the global crude supply and demand and where Canada fits into this picture with its high cost structure and lack of market assess to global markets outside of the US, but more importantly topics of environment and First Nations issues were brought up to the front and pondered upon by the speakers and the audience. Looming low crude prices and an overall economic downturn have raised the issue of competitiveness of Canadian projects against others around the world and cast doubt on the future of oil sands production growth.

Audience also heard from the federal and provincial regulators about the role Canadian National Energy Board (NEB) and the Alberta provincial energy regulator (AER) have when it comes to regulatory oversight and project approval process.

The speakers have all agreed that challenges facing Canadian oil industry are significant, but surmountable; the opportunity to grow lies in multi-attribute approach that allows for supply growth while tackling factors of high cost, efficiency, environmental footprint, relations with First Nations and other Aboriginal groups, market assess, and technology.


CERI 2015 Natural Gas Conference
LNG: Canada's Last Window of Opportunity
March 2-3, 2015

CERI hosted its 2015 Natural Gas Conference “LNG: Canada’s Last Window of Opportunity” on March 2 and 3, 2015. As the title may suggest, the theme of the conference was timely given a growing anxiety among natural gas producers in Western Canada that the opportunity to sell their natural gas to Asia is slipping away. The audience heard from very distinguished speakers, covering topics on future LNG supply (projects from Canada, US, Australia, Russia and Africa were discussed) and demand (mostly from Asian countries) and where Canadian proposed LNG supply might fit into the picture, as well as other uses of natural gas, among which are the oil sands industry, power generation and transportation sector, and natural gas prices, which became the focal point of the Executive Panel Discussion at the end of day 2, which clearly demonstrated that the market dynamics have shifted and the low gas prices are here to stay, at least in the next little while.

The continuing low gas price environment over the last few years, as a cause of shale gas revolution in the United States, had resulted in limited conventional gas drilling in Western Canada where the costs of gas-directed drilling are higher than those in some of gas plays in the US. Following the 2009 recession, as the global and North American economies struggled to recover, the North American natural gas industry awoke to a new reality. Gas demand was not recovering as anticipated and gas supply was rising when it was expected to decline. New drilling activity was being carried out by producers that, prior to 2009, had acquired large tracts of drillable lands in the emerging shale gas plays of the Marcellus, Eagle Ford, Haynesville and others.

Low cost shale gas became the price benchmark, displacing imported LNG into North America, resulting in a downward spiral for gas prices. Drilling activity had shifted from “dry” gas areas to those that have higher value-added liquids’ components, further contributing to a market price sinking below $2.50 before struggling to rise towards $3.50.  An unintended consequence of this ramp-up in US supply is the fact that Western Canadian gas exports to the New England, New York and Chicago markets will disappear followed by the Ontario and Quebec markets. Canada will effectively become a net pipeline importer of natural gas and significant gas resources in Western Canada could become stranded. The speakers have all agreed that now is the time to be pushing hard for Canadian LNG exports, from either coast, which, when coupled with increasing domestic demand, is the only way to increase gas production in Canada. However, the development of LNG facilities is not without its hurdles. The largest issue is cost. Canadian projects are greenfield, meaning they are being built from scratch. Whereas, in the US, multiple projects are conversions of existing LNG import terminals that already have ports built and pipelines attached. Another factor is oil prices. Since summer of 2014 oil prices declined by more than 50 percent since a year ago. Because international prices for LNG are linked to the price of oil, consequently, they have come down considerably since August of 2014. For example, the Japanese benchmark trading close to US$15 per million British thermal units (MBTUs) fell to under US$7/MBTU, which puts shipping LNG from Canada uneconomic for anyone right now. Only those with strong balance sheets, rightly skilled labour, secured supply and a committed customer will be able to go forward with their LNG plans.


CERI 2014 Petrochemical Conference
North American Petrochemical Industry:
"Ready, Willing and Able"
June 1-3, 2014

The North American oil and gas industry has emerged from a half decade of supply expansion with no end in sight. Oil drilling in conventional resources and shale/tight resources coupled with oil sands developments has halted years of decline and turned the supply side on to a growth pathway. In the United States the potential exists for 3 million new barrels per day of domestic shale oil coming online by 2022 while in Canada 250,000 new barrels of domestic light/heavy oil and 1.5 million barrels of oil sands production (per day) is forecasted to come online by 2022. On the gas side of the equation, the United States is expected to become a net exporter of natural gas by 2020 and both Canada and the US are viewing LNG exports as the next great business to drive economic growth. From increasing solution gas in the Bakken and other shale oil developments to drilling the liquids rich potential in the Montney and Duvernay shale gas resources, the question of NGL feedstock is all about growth. Is the Petrochemical industry ready, willing and able to grow for the future?