February 10, 2011 at 10:23 pm #2384
Court rules against Suncor in request for extension
By Shaun Thomas – The Northern View
Updated: February 03, 2011 1:34 PM
The ongoing court case between Suncor Energy and Prince Rupert based Ridley Terminals took another turn on February 2, with the court ruling against a request from Suncor.
Documents filed by Suncor on February 1 requested that the current court order prohibiting Ridley Terminals from refusing shipments from Suncor until February 8, 2011 be extended until the disposition of this matter by arbitration or until such time as this Honourable Court deems just.
The next day the court denied the request and that denial means Ridley Terminals could legally start refusing shipments from Suncor that dont have an anti-freeze agent beginning on Tuesday. However, Suncor says getting an anti-freeze agent in place is a work in progress.
Suncor has made all reasonable efforts to identify and apply a suitable freeze-prevention agent to its petroleum coke and believes it is close to being able to apply such an agent to its product before it is shipped to RTI. Suncor still has to obtain RTIs acceptance of any agent Suncor intends to apply to its petroleum coke, reads the document.
Suncor says it takes seven days for shipments to get from its Alberta operations to Ridley Terminals, and the lack of certainty about whether or not RTI would accept orders shipped after February 1 without an anti-freezing agent creates a great deal of uncertainty and has a great impact on Suncor and its customers.
Suncor requires certainty for an extended period of time otherwise it will face irreparable harm. For example, if RTI refuses to accept deliveries of petroleum coke after the order expires on February 8, Suncor will not have enough petroleum coke stoed at RTI to fill a ship and this will lead to the type of irreparable harm upon which the Court granted the initial order, reads the document.
Further, the agreement obligates Suncor to ship all of its petroleum coke for export to RTI. If Suncor is to comply with its contractual obligations, Suncor continues to be unable to deliver its petroleum coke to another location (assuming for the moment that the numerous logistical issues surrounding an alternate port can be overcome) and thus mitigate any losses or damage that it will suffer. This will create a domino effect and may curtail operations at the Oil Sands if Suncor cannot ship its petroleum coke.”
February 10, 2011 at 10:30 pm #5279
Here is update on Suncor problems Ridley terminal & petcoke. It seems Ridley won on requiring Suncor use antifreeze agent to handle frozen petcoke? Guess other petcoke company would have be Husky Llyodminster fuel coke (or perhaps some fluid coke from Syncrude)?
Suncor & CNRL both had problems staying up with new cokers so think terminal might be more overloaded with coal trying to get exported at todays prices & as larger volume/more stable terminal product may be issue. I also thought the last Suncor coker expansion also had power CFB project that took large part new petcoke production make power/steam for SAGD process &/or converted some old gas fired boiler to use petcoke?
Argus Petcoke 2010 conf – Derek Allen ppt on Suncor Logistics for petcoke moving thru Ridley (went back & took quick look.) Shows Ridley has thaw sheds & rotary dumper at Ridley. Also showed that about ~2400 mtpd petcoke goes to boiler for Steam in Suncor SAGD process and about ~700 kmtpy gets exported via BC Terminal.
So. ……. as mentioned with issues Husky/CNRL/Suncor on petcoke prod this year sort points that Ridley is using antifreeze push back on Suncor tons go after higher paying coal or perhaps non-contract petcoke tons it seems to me.
February 10, 2011 at 10:45 pm #5278
The Ridley BS Suncor requirement for antifreeze agent for petcoke handling smelled like too much BS to me – I used buy/do logistics on raw coke from BP Toledo, Lima & barges into Venco (now Rain/CII) Moundsville Calciners and we had setup like Ridley with thaw shed & rotary dumper and didnt need antifreeze. <Too expensive & lots MSDS problems even with small amount dedust oils – trying do Antifreeze agent would be non-starter>.
So looking into what is happening with Coal thru Ridley Terminal turned up what I believe is real culprit = Ridley has committed to US coal companies using terminal ~40%Capacity move exports to Asian markets at time when expanded Canadian Coal is also trying get there. They need expansion but it wont be till +2012 so meantime they seem be pushing out smaller / probably lower value customers like Suncor with the antifreeze story.
Check out this news item where Ridley is catching it from both coal groups – see link & some excerts below:
Story link @ http://bctrialofbasi-virk.blogspot.com/ see mid to lower part of pages @ site.
The Legislature Raids
Feb 8, 2011 … After reporting regularly for more than three years through the pre-trial phase … the applicant may appeal, spend a lot of time, and spend money to be heard ….. However, according to the Ridley Terminal “profile” on the … Canada’s export coal, petroleum coke and wood pellet business”, and that …
..But let’s delve a little deeper here. Just who are the “coal shippers” that the crown corporation Ridley Terminals has signed these contracts with? It turns out that they are U.S. coal mining companies based in Wyoming and Montana. It also turns out that the contracts have allowed these U.S. companies to lock up 40% of Ridley Terminals shipping capacity
February 11, 2011 at 12:06 pm #5277
<Here is Ridley Terminal Coal Article for those having problems with link & requesting it – CRandall>
Ridley Terminals – Do We Live in Canada or some other country called ‘North America’?
By Peter Ewart
Opinion 250 – February 03, 2011
Ocean waters can be deceptive. On the surface, all appears to be calm. But beneath the sparkling waves lurk powerful currents and treacherous undertows. And so it is with nation states in today’s globalized economy.
Take for example, Ridley Terminals which is situated at the port of Prince Rupert on the Pacific Ocean, and is used to export coal and other resources to Asia and other parts of the world.
Recent announcements about the facility, which is a federal government crown corporation, appear to be all good news. For example, Ridley Terminals has recently signed new contracts with certain coal shippers which, according to the terminal’s chairperson, promises to “protect jobs” in northern BC, “increase tax revenues” and “enable miners in both northern BC and Northwest Alberta to open new mines or grow existing [ones].”
But let’s delve a little deeper here. Just who are the “coal shippers” that the crown corporation Ridley Terminals has signed these contracts with? It turns out that they are U.S. coal mining companies based in Wyoming and Montana. It also turns out that the contracts have allowed these U.S. companies to lock up 40% of Ridley Terminals shipping capacity.
Why is this a problem? Well, northeastern British Columbia is a major coal producing region. Companies like Teck Resources, Western Coal, and Grande Cache Coal, all have substantial operations in northeastern BC and rely on Ridley Terminals to ship their coal out in a timely manner to the ravenous Asian market.
According to these Canadian producers, handing over 40% of Ridley Terminal capacity to U.S. coal producers will clog up shipping for them and, in the long run, choke off Canadian mining investment. In that regard, First Coal Corp., which has plans to start a new coal mine in B.C., is already expressing concerns about its investment.
Teck CEO Don Lindsay has strongly criticized this decision, as has Pierre Gratton, of the Mining Association of BC. Gratton says that “What this effectively means is that a Canadian Crown corporation is putting the interests of U.S. production and U.S. jobs ahead of Canadian jobs, and that is a real concern for us and it should be for all Canadians” (Globe and Mail, Jan. 25, 2011).
On the CFIS 93.1 Meisner Show on Jan. 31, Blair Lekstrom, MLA for Peace River South, stated, in regards to this controversy, that northeastern BC must have first priority in terms of shipping coal out of Ridley Terminal.
In addition, the Ridley Terminals Users Group, which is made up of Teck and other Canadian coal producers, has called for a meeting with the federal government to discuss what it terms is Ridley Terminal’s “complete lack of faith in addressing the requirements of Canadian commodity producers.” As one possible solution, the coal producers want Ottawa to “fast track” terminal expansion to accommodate increased demand.
So just who is Ridley Terminals, a federal crown corporation, supposed to be serving? For its part, the Harper government in Ottawa has not clarified this issue in any meaningful way.
However, according to the Ridley Terminal “profile” on the Government of Canada website, “the terminal was built to provide an export point for vast reserves of metallurgical and thermal coal in northeastern British Columbia.” Note the emphasis on “northeastern British Columbia.”
In still another part of the federal government website, the “mandate” of the terminal is also described. According to this “mandate”, the purpose of the terminal is “[to play] an important role in supporting Canada’s export coal, petroleum coke and wood pellet business”, and that the terminal’s “focus” is to “help Canadian shippers compete more effectively in the international market by minimizing transportation costs.” Note the reference to “Canada” and “Canadians”.
It all seems pretty clear. That is until we examine recent statements by the CEO of Ridley Terminals, George Dorsey. Just for some background here. George Dorsey is the CEO of Edgewood Holdings, a private equity and advisory firm, that was awarded a contract in 2008 to manage the operations of Ridley Terminals. Dorsey is originally from the U.S. and Edgewood Holdings itself is based in the state of Vermont. Both Dorsey and Edgewood Holdings have had extensive business dealings with a variety of North American coal, energy, mining, and other resource interests.
Why was Dorsey and his American-based company, given the position of managing a Canadian crown corporation, which has a highly strategic location for the national interest of Canada? That is a whole other question unto itself.
Let’s just look at what, according to George Dorsey, is the purpose of Ridley Terminals. Arch Coal, which is one of the U.S. companies that has locked up 40% of the terminal capacity, issued a press release on January 18 just after the deal was reached. In this press release, Dorsey is quoted as saying that “[Ridley Terminal’s] vision is to provide value to its parent company and expand its role as a leading trade gateway between North American and world markets.”
Note that Dorsey is not saying “northeastern BC” markets, as the federal government Ridley Terminal website does, but rather “North American” markets. And so it is that BC and Canada disappear beneath the waves of what is now termed “North America”.
Interestingly enough, Ridley Terminals has praised the role of CN Rail in “advancing the discussion” to cinch the deal with the American coal producers. CN Rail, of course, thanks to privatization at the federal level, is now primarily a U.S. controlled company and has an obvious vested interest in shipping American coal over its thousands of miles of tracks to the port of Prince Rupert.
Thus we have a U.S. firm, Edgewood Holdings, put in charge of a highly strategic Canadian crown corporation, and then arranging, with the help of a U.S. rail company, a deal that gives 40% terminal capacity to a group of U.S. coal companies at the expense of Canadian coal producers. Sweet deal, indeed.
All of this, of course, is further complicated by the fact that a number of the Canadian-based coal companies are themselves multinationals, with operations in the U.S. and other countries, and in that regard, also have conflicting loyalties. One of the charges levelled against these companies is that they have been receiving subsidized rates from the terminal.
But that issue aside, the question must be asked: Where is the BC and Canadian public interest in this recent shipping deal that appears to give huge advantage to American coal interests over BC-based coal mining operations? In this “brave new world” of globalization, it appears that the public interest of the people of BC and of Canada are in grave danger of being lost in the treacherous currents of inter-monopoly competition and multinational deal-making. In this regard, the issue is not to line up with one or other of the competing monopoly interests but rather with what is the public interest.
Some business analysts are suggesting that Ridley Terminals should be completely privatized, and there are rumblings that the Harper government may go this route eventually, whether it be handing over the facility to a consortium of coal producers or to some other kind of private corporate interests. This would be a huge mistake. We have already seen the problems associated with selling off publicly-owned national and provincial railways to a foreign monopoly such as CN Rail.
As a result of these rail privatizations, serious contradictions have arisen between CN Rail and its Canadian-based forestry, grain and coal suppliers. In effect, key sections of the Canadian economy are now subject to the whims and sectional interests of a foreign rail monopoly, which has the power to favour or punish suppliers, and expand or whither economic growth.
Privatizing Ridley Terminals would be a disaster for British Columbian and Canadian national interests. The opposite should take place. A strategic facility like the terminal should be made completely public, run by Canadians, and in the interest of the people of northeastern BC and other regions of Canada.
In case George Dorsey and Prime Minister Harper missed it, our country is Canada, not “North America”.
Peter Ewart is a writer and columnist based in Prince George, British Columbia. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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