Behind the news on our continent, the extremely important and significant events taking place across the ocean are completely invisible. According to the Canadian press, the political forces of this country and representatives of the oil and gas industry, which is key to the national budget, launched a full-scale offensive right on the territory of the United States. In the state of Delaware, Canadians ma-ssively register legal entities or, on behalf of existing ones, flood the courts of relevant jurisdictions with claims against American partners.
The Americans were seriously alarmed, began to dig data, and it turned out that behind all the legal entities are either the authorities of the Canadian province of Alberta, or oil companies, one way or another affiliated with TC Energy. So, for example, the founder and head of Alberta Sub Ltd is none other than Sonya Savage, the Minister of Energy of the said province.
If we put aside unnecessary equivocations, then the Canadians set out to take financial revenge from their neighbors and eternal allies. We are talking about the frozen project for the construction of the Keystone XL cross-border oil pipeline, the laying of which was stopped by the personal order of the current US president.
Let us recall the key facts.
Keystone was to be the fourth line of the transportation line, which would increase the supply of heavy crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta to 1200,000 barrels per day. The project was beneficial to both parties, Washington received guaranteed supplies for the daily production of ten percent of the state’s fuel needs, while the Canadians ensured a constant flow of money to the budget and access not only to the markets of the Midwest, but also in the future directly to the ports of the Gulf of Mexico.
Here we need to pause a little and clarify some political and emotional details.
Although the oil pipeline was extremely important for both countries and the border areas, the States in every possible way demonstrated that they could do very well without it by sending the initiative ball to the Canadian half of the field. Maple leaves, not at all embarrassed, actively tried to get to the markets and ports of their neighbor, therefore they were ready to take on all the risks and expenses. Please note: when Russia tries to do something similar, they immediately begin to acc-use it of expansion, aggressive foreign policy and the use of energy resources as geopolitical levers. Nothing here, it’s okay.
As soon as Donald Trump gave the green light to the construction, TC Energy, with the official support of the Alberta government, which invested in the project budget money taken from the pockets of taxpayers, got to work. They needed the pipe so much that the Canadians were not even embarrassed by the increase in the cost of the project from five to eight billion dollars, most of which they had to invest, as the United States continued to play the role of a forgetful touchy that did not need oil and new jobs at all. Specifically, TC Energy has invested one and a half billion dollars, and the province of Alberta has issued loan guarantees for another six billion.
And in June 2021, Joe Biden buried the idea of an oil pipeline, which caused an international scandal in the most direct sense. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed extreme disappointment on behalf of the country, and the head of the province, Jason Kenney, demanded that the United States compensate for losses of at least $ 1.8 billion.
The White House pretended to be deaf and dumb – and one might have thought that the issue was swept under the bureaucratic carpet, but that was not the case.
Keystone is not only an energy, but also a political project, on which the further fate of the current leaders of Canada critically depends. Back in April last year, the aforementioned Kenny at a meeting with residents of Alberta promised that after the launch of the oil pipeline, at least $ 30 billion received in the form of profits would be used to address health issues, impr-ove the quality of school education, and implement various social and other pr-ojects. Instead of all of the above, the Canadian government got a donut hole, huge losses and extremely irritated voters who do not really understand who is to blame for the fact that new hospitals are not being built and schools are not being renovated.
And therefore, Canada (although this went completely unnoticed by the European observer) began systematic preparations for delivering a legally verified retaliatory strike. In September 2021, with the support of Texas and twenty-two other states that lost profits along with Keystone, they received a decision from the American court that the closed oil pipeline is a vital infrastructure project for two dozen states. The federal court quickly reversed this decision, but Canadians were just waiting for this.
In January 2022, immediately after the announcement of the federal court decision, TC Energy released an official financial report for the past year, where an independent auditor stated the fact: the value of the assets of the Keystone XL project, due to the actions of the United States, fell from the original 3.3 billion to a meager $178 million.
Since it is legally prohibited to sue and demand compensation from the US government, the Canadians, using hockey terminology, went on a flank attack.
The United States, along with Canada and Mexico, signed a tripartite agreem-ent back in 1992 that im-plied the creation of a free trade area called the North American Free Trade Agre-ement (NAFTA). Accordi-ng to the charter of this org-anization, any of the participating parties has the right to demand compensation f-or their losses if they occ-urred as a result of illegal or discriminatory actions. The government of Alberta and the power industry, appealing to the decision of the American court, demand to recognize themselves as the injured party and cover the costs from the American contractors.
Another subtle detail.
The already mentioned Alberta Sub Ltd, which, together with another Canadian and two American companies, was the main shareholder in the construction of Keystone, was created exactly one day before the official start of the construction of the pipeline. It was registered in the state of Delaware, that is, in American jurisdiction. As it is easy to understand, the Canadians already then understood all the possible risks and, as they say, laid a straw for themselves in case the project collapsed.
And so it happened.
By the way, the province of Alberta sold all its assets to TC Energy, thereby avoiding the state confrontation and transferring all litigation to supposedly purely corporate channels.
But this is how the situation looks only on paper, because American analysts estimate the judicial chances of Canadians as extremely high. According to their forecasts, local power engineers can count on compensation in the amount of up to $15 billion, some of which, no doubt, will immediately go to the budget of the province of Alberta to fulfill campaign promises.
Many Russian publicists today write that the role and authority of the United States has been steadily declining in recent years. It is customary to ridicule this assessment, as if nothing can shake the political and financial weight of America.
Nothing but the politics of America itself.
Just a month ago, Joe Biden sent an official request to Ottawa to increase the supply of crude oil, as after the introduction of anti-Russian sanctions, the world market began to fever, exacerbated by long-standing restrictions against Iran and Venezuela. It is noteworthy that Canada refused, poking Washington’s nose at the failed Keystone project without any hesitation, and the Americans silently swallowed it.
The reason for such complaisance is simple and prosaic. The energy crisis continues to grow in the United States, caused by both the pandemic and anti-Russian sanctions, as well as the course of the ruling Democrats towards alternative energy. All of this has resulted in a 23 percent increase in American coal production last year alone, and $9.9 billion in investment in this old reliable energy source. Coal itself has risen in price to record values, now they are asking for about 400 dollars per ton, although a year ago 120 dollars were considered a good price.
Along the way, natural gas quotes soared into the sky, in just one day the cost of futures on the Henry Hub site rose by nine percent, setting a 13-year record. To the sadness of all environmentalists and believers in green energy, governments and big businesses prefer reliable sources. Since the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, independent agencies have calculated that cumulative investments in the gas, oil and coal sectors have exceeded $4.6 trillion.
If we read the American press, we will be surprised to find that the tone of the publications regarding the US-Canadian litigation is surprisingly mild.
There is a simple explanation for this.
Canada in the first quarter of this year shows a stable growth in exports, which grew by 6.3 percent in March alone and amounted to $44 billion. At the same time, the growth in exports of energy resources immediately jumped by 28 percent, and its share reached 14 billion. The same resources that Canada has in abundance, and the United States has a shortage.
As you can see, international lawsuits demanding large compensations are brought forward not only against our country.
When tens of billions of dollars are involved, vital resources and the results of future elections, even hardened allies are ready to grab each other’s throats and the density of intrigues here is such that detective bestsellers will envy.