Drilling for consent?

Exxon Mobil Corp. - the largest and one of the most powerful companies in the world - appears to have offered to help the provincial government lift the federal moratorium on offshore oil and gas development, Public Eye has exclusively learned. On February 2, Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Rich Neufeld met with Exxon Mobil executives while attending a convention in Houston, Texas. During that meeting, the executives told the minister their company "has new (offshore) technologies that are environmentally friendly." And they asked how Exxon Mobil can "help move the moratorium and public opinion." This, according to a government report prepared by the ministry of energy, mines and petroleum resources and obtained via a freedom of information request.

The ministry declined an opportunity to elaborate on what went on at that meeting. For their part, Exxon Mobil media advisor Susan Reeves stated in an email, "The offshore moratorium issue will be appropriately dealt with by the provincial government." She then added, the company "has a longstanding public record of supporting policy efforts that provide greater access to resources worldwide, including non-traditional or frontier resources." And it's that record that has offshore drilling opponents concerned.

Speaking with Public Eye, Living Oceans Society executive director Jennifer Lash said, "Obviously, we'd be hoping that Minister Neufeld would listen to the people of British Columbia and not to a company like Exxon Mobil when it comes to understanding what's in the best interests of British Columbia. And we also would be greatly concerned if the provincial government is going to start working in collaboration with Exxon Mobil to try to reach out to the public and try to do some sort of propaganda campaign to try and convince people from B.C. that offshore oil and gas drilling is safe when we know it's not

"I don't think it's up to Exxon to try and convince the people of B.C. of anything," continued Ms. Lash. "The people of B.C. are very smart on these issues. They know what they want. And I think it's actually quite presumptuous of Exxon to try and move public opinion. We don't need a company like that to come in and tell us what to do...And one would hope (Neufeld) would just tell a company like Exxon that they're not welcome here to come and sway public opinion - that that's not necessary." The following is the relevant section of the aforementioned report.

***

NAPE REPORT

February 3, 2007
The 2007 NAPE Team consisted of:
Corporate Meetings & Events Team (CMET):
Minister Neufeld
Natalie Poole-Moffat
Doug Caul
Derek Brown
Ellen Frisch

Both/Logistics Team (BLT):
Vic Levson, RGDB
Fil Ferri, RGDB
Chris Adams, RGDB
Brenda Miller, MCRB

Exxon-Mobil

J.R. Massey, VP Canada/South America (Production)
William T. Drennan, VP, Americas (Exploration)
Milton Chaves, Advisor - Americas, International Government Relations
Chris Welberry, Public Affairs Advisor (Production)
(Natalie Poole-Moffat did not attend this session.)

W. Drennan provided an overview of Exxon-Mobil's operations; Exploration, Development and Operations. E-M is spending increasing money on exploration in Canada with Athabaska acquisitions.

Off-shore:
* What is status of off-shore? E-M has new technologies that are environmentally friendly. How can E-M help move the moratorium and public opinion?
* MEMPR provided overview of status: Working on new science and technology program, understanding others' regulations and moving toward developing our own. BC has been working with Eastern provinces. Our goal is to have one level of government review. Key challenges are lack of public knowledge and organized environmental groups. E-M (Drennan) felt the 2006 dialogue with First Nations and Communities were positive. MEMPR noted the need to keep an 'alumni' from past trips and continue to positive information sharing work.

On-shore:
* E-M continues its exploration, but not in BC. Their infrastructure works best with deep and technology based well drilling (re-entry). BC's shallow gas plays are not economical for E-M's infrastructure and they will leave that type of business to the smaller players.

10 Comments

I seem to remember the Liberals going down to Houston in the past as well... but isn't that about brining new investment into BC's oil and gas sector?

Plus, haven't the Liberals always said they support lifting the moratorium? I'm pretty sure that's not terribly new or exciting news. A little stale in fact. As for Exxon trying to "move" public opinion for their own benefit... that's called advertising. And every single company this side of China does it. And they ALL try and influence government policy. That's what government relations and lobbyists are for. Why would it be surprising that a oil and gas company would want to drill for more oil and gas, especially given the West's desire to reduce dependency on the mideast?

Yawn.

Gosh I wonder if Exxon will be trying to convince the Governors of a few west coast states anytime soon. Neufelt seems to believe companies would flock offshore if only they could. To date non seem that interested. Let's not forget the name Exxon Valdeze and the mess it made. Same company .

Remember that Campbell told the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong in November that he was interested in supporting offshore oil development, after sufficiant scientific exploration. This Exxon meeting seems to be a logical next-step in the process of developing B.C. into an energy powerhouse!

"Let's not forget the name Exxon Valdeze and the mess it made. Same company ."

Captain was drunk at the time of the grounding
of the Exxon Valdez.

Aside from ownership of the vessel and the employee Exxon as a corporation did not cause the
spill.

Great series of posts today Mr. Holman.

Must see reading for all of B.C.

Thanks.

.

Great enterprise reporting Sean - this is important stuff and those posters who don't get it should give their heads a shake.

One of the largest multinational oil corporations in the world wants to "help" the BC Liberal government get rid of the moratorium on offshore oil and gas development? And we only now hear about it through an FOI request?

This government is secretive and is cooking multi-billion dollar deals that will affect our future forever without giving the public a clue what it's doing!

"This government is secretive and is cooking multi-billion dollar deals that will affect our future forever without giving the public a clue what it's doing! "

Jsut like the NDP did with those deals for union friends, Bill? Think back to the Inland Island Highway labour agreement, and then there was the
FastCats, which was another make labour project for the NDP friends.

Seems that the NDP was more secretive than the BC Liberals.

Jsut like the NDP did with those deals for union friends, Bill? Think back to the Inland Island Highway labour agreement, and then there was the
FastCats, which was another make labour project for the NDP friends.

As you well know, Red Dogg your facts are wrong on both counts. The Island Highway construction agreements, which sponsored training for women and aboriginals, were never secret. The BC Ferry management did not report to government on a timely basis concerning the cost overuns on the Pacificat project, but once the Board and the Minister learned of these overuns they were made public. You should be questioning BC Ferries management on that one.

Island Highway agreement, Fast ferries: Both announced publicly and debated in the house. Whatever you think about them, secret they weren't.

Living Oceans Society executive director Jennifer Lash said, "we also would be greatly concerned if the provincial government is going to start working in collaboration with Exxon Mobil to try to reach out to the public and try to do some sort of propaganda campaign"

Somehow she thinks her and her fellow enviro lobbyists have an exclusive right to propaganda campaigns

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