UCP government to spend $58M on 20 private natural gas projects

More than a quarter of those projects are out of province.

Earlier this week, the Alberta government announced that they’ll be providing $58 million through Emissions Reduction Alberta to fund 20 private innovation projects in the natural gas sector.

Last autumn, the ERA launched the Natural Gas Challenge, inviting technology developers to share project concepts for innovation in the sector. They received 117 submissions.

Here are the 20 projects that were approved for government funding:

MultiSensor Canada Inc.

Company location: Alberta

Permanent installation and demonstration of an infrared camera at 100 well sites to provide continuous leak detection and quantification for tank emissions and facility monitoring.

ERA commitment: $1,600,000

Qube Technologies

Company location: Alberta

Deployment of an industrial device designed to collect large quantities of data to use artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to better quantify, locate, and classify emissions.

ERA commitment: $4,000,000

University of Calgary

Company location: Alberta

Full-scale, field pilot of a new vehicle-based technology designed for equipment-level emissions screening to support effective regulatory leak detection and repair.

ERA commitment: $1,600,000

Canadian Natural Resources Limited

Company location: Alberta

Pilot project of both aerial screening technology and ground-based detection at conventional oil and gas facilities to validate technology performance and inform a broader Alternative Fugitive Emissions Management Program (FEMP).

ERA commitment: $930,000

Canadian Natural Resources donated nearly $125,000 to political parties, candidates, and constituency associations between 2004 and 2015. Parties included the PC Party, Wildrose, and the Liberals. Candidates have included such names as Derek Fildebrandt and Jeff Callaway. Constituency associations included Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater, various Calgary ridings, and Grande Prairie-Wapiti.

As well, between 2004 and 2015, CNRL’s CEO, N. Murray Edwards donated over $68,000 to the PC party, including various candidates, constituency associations, and election campaigns. Tim McKay, CNRL’s president, also donated to political parties, including over $8,000 to the Wildrose and PC parties and nearly $4,000 to the nomination campaign for Tanya Fir, who currently sits as the minister of economic development, trade, and tourism.

Challenger Technical Services

Company location: Alberta

Development, testing, and validation of a multicomponent downhole injection system that uses epoxy resins to rapidly seal leaking oil and gas wells and eliminate surface casing vent flow.

ERA commitment: $1,000,000

Petroleum Technology Alliance

Company location: Alberta

Applied research, prototype design and development, and field pilot testing of an electrically-driven valve actuator that is more compact, powerful, and lower maintenance than alternative pneumatic options.

ERA commitment: $550,000

Kinitics Automation Limited

Company location: British Columbia

Testing a novel electric actuator at 15 well sites in Alberta to validate the technology as a cost effective, technically viable alternative to eliminate venting from established pneumatic devices.

ERA commitment: $550,000

Westgen Technologies Inc

Company location: Alberta

Demonstration of a solar-hybrid power generation system for remote well sites to provide reliable electricity to prevent gas venting from pneumatic devices in a cost-effective manner.

ERA commitment: $1,300,000

Modern Wellbore Solutions

Company location: Alberta

Full-scale deployment of a multilateral junction tool assembly that will allow natural gas operators to drill, complete, and operate multi-branched wells for unconventional reservoirs. The technology reduces emissions by enabling lateral junctions rather than requiring separate wells.

ERA commitment: $3,500,000

Kyle Klam, the managing director for Modern Wellbore, donated $1,100 to the United Conservative Party in 2018.

Tourmaline Oil Corp.

Company location: Alberta

Pilot demonstration of a plug and play, mobile power generation system for drilling rigs that uses smart energy to automatically start and stop generators to match the power demand of the rig.

ERA commitment: $3,200,000

Mike Rose, the president and CEO of Tourmaline, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to various political action committees. He donated $50,000 to Alberta Advantage Fund in each 2017 and 2018, as well as $20,000 to Alberta Proud and $50,000 to Shaping Alberta’s Future, both in 2019. All 3 PACs were organized to help form and support the UCP leading up to and during the 2019 provincial election.

Rose’s spouse, Sue Riddell Rose—who happens to be the president and CEO of Perpetual Energy—donated $10,000 to Jim Prentice’s PC leadership campaign in 2014. She also donated $1,000 to the PC party in 2014 and $30,000 in 2015.

ATCO Gas and Pipelines Ltd.

Company location: Alberta

Pilot project to test hydrogen blending in ATCO’s Fort Saskatchewan natural gas distribution system. The project will source and test equipment and determine applicability of existing codes, standards, and legislation.

ERA commitment: $2,800,000

First-of-its-kind commercial demonstration to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) to be sold and used within the province in Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fleet vehicles and commercial applications.

ERA commitment: $7,900,000

Since 2004, ATCO and its subsidiaries have made nearly 3 dozen political donations, totalling over $85,000. The donations were primarily targeted to the PC part, but included the Liberals and the Wildrose.

ATCO’s president and CEO, Nancy Southern, donated nearly $30,000 to the PC party between 2008 and 2016. She also donated $21,262.75 to Jason Kenney’s PC leadership campaign in 2017.

Her mother, Margaret, was also a prolific donor, having donated over $32,000 to the PC party and the UCP between 2007 and 2020. She donated $490 to Prentice’s 2014 PC leadership campaign, $8,500 to Kenney’s 2017 PC leadership campaign, $1,000 to Brian Jean’s 2017 UCP leadership bid and $2,500 to Kenney’s 2017 UCP leadership bid. Finally, she donated $10,000 in 2019 to the Alberta Victory Fund PAC, which was set up to support the UCP, as well as $5,000 to the Alberta Advantage Fund and $10,000 to the AAFund, which appears to be the same thing, both in 2017.

Ekona Power Inc.

Company location: British Columbia

Prototyping a new approach to converting natural gas to hydrogen and a solid carbon by-product representing a new pathway to produce zero-emissions hydrogen, electricity, and other products by decarbonizing natural gas.

ERA commitment: $5,000,000

Standing Wave Reformers Inc.

Company location: Florida

Design optimization, system integration, pilot demonstration, techno-economic analysis, and advancement of commercial deployment plans for a technology system to decarbonize natural gas.

ERA commitment: $3,000,000

Standing Wave’s co-founder, president, and CEO, Kathleen O’Neil, donated nearly $6,000 to the Alberta Liberal party between 2006 and 2012.

Sustainitech Inc.

Company location: Alberta

Design, construction, and operation for a first-of-kind commercial deployment of a modular farming system that combines automation, hydroponics, adsorption cooling, and advanced lighting to grow crops.

ERA commitment: $5,000,000

Enersion Inc.

Company location: Ontario

Technology that uses natural gas to generate electricity, cooling, and heating in an integrated package for multiple applications, including industrial, agricultural, commercial, and residential sectors

ERA commitment: $1,800,000

Stone Mountain Technologies, Inc.

Company location: Tennessee

Design and prototyping of technology that uses natural gas to drive a heat pump cycle. Unlike electrically-driven heat pumps, the technology is ideal for cold climates.

ERA commitment: $990,000

Anax Power

Company location: New Jersey

Installation and operation of technology that provides clean, distributed electricity from the pressure and flow of natural gas without combustion.

ERA commitment: $2,400,000

Innovative Fuel Systems

Company location: Alberta

Commercial validation of technology that allows heavy duty truck engines to displace up to 50 per cent of their diesel with cleaner burning natural gas.

ERA commitment: $1,200,000

The project will explore opportunities to upgrade landfill gas (LFG) at Clover Bar Landfill and inject it into Alberta’s natural gas system as renewable natural gas (RNG). Stakeholders in the Clover Bar Landfill, the City of Edmonton and Capital Power, are exploring these possible opportunities.

ERA commitment: $10,000,000

Leland Oberst, the company’s president and CEO, donated nearly $9,000 to the PC party between 2004 and 2015. There was an additional $2,200 made in his spouse’s name between 2007 and 2009.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

One reply on “UCP government to spend $58M on 20 private natural gas projects”

The only company that seemed to receive funds that was for anything outside of petroleum and held any kind of interest to me as actually beneficial to society from a sustainable perspective was, totally unironically, Sustainitech.
A quick creep of their webpage shows promising agricultural technology and research based on an environmentally friendly model.
How did this slip by the notice of Kenney’s warroom?
Was Matt Wolf out drinking his [edited] ass into his normal state of alcoholic stupefication?

Worth a gander.

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