Canadian oil & gas company in Lake Erie, Spain and Tunisia

Brent Patterson on the Council of Canadians blog

A Canadian oil and gas company is involved in a controversial offshore gas storage facility in Spain, has oil and gas interests in the Mediterranean Sea, and reportedly holds shares in more than 900,000 gross acres of Lake Erie for natural gas extraction.

Gas map.

The company
An October 25, 2013 Dundee Energy Limited media release states, “Dundee Energy Limited is a Canadian-based oil and natural gas company with a mandate to create long-term value for its shareholders through the exploration, development, production and marketing of oil and natural gas, and through other high impact energy projects. Dundee Energy holds interests, both directly and indirectly, in the largest accumulation of producing oil and gas assets in Ontario, in the development of an offshore underground natural gas storage facility in Spain and, through a preferred share investment, in certain exploration and evaluation programs for oil and natural gas offshore Tunisia.”

Spain/ Bay of Valencia
A September 2013 EurActiv article reports, “Located off the east coast of Spain (around the Bay of Valencia), the Castor natural gas storage facility is expected to cover 30% of Spain’s daily gas consumption. It is being developed by ACS Group and Dundee Energy Ltd. The promoter is the Spanish Ministry of Industry. …The EIB (European Investment Bank) will provide a total of €500 million for the project and will also purchase €300 million worth of bonds as an anchor investor.”

We further learn from Euronews in an October 2013 article that, “The Castor plant is using an old oil field’s depleted underwater reservoir in a project designed to create a liquified gas reserve equivalent to 30% of Spain’s needs. But it is close to the Vandellos nuclear power plant, and several towns and villages.” It has prompted concerns from “anxious residents on Spain’s east coast around the Bay of Valencia” because “the (Spanish) government admitted there was a link between two weeks during which the region has been shaken by 300 minor earthquakes, and an offshore gas storage scheme.”

Agence France-Presse quotes our allies at the Madrid-based environmental group Ecologists in Action and their statement on this, “There is no doubt over the link between the injection of gas in the reservoir of the Castor project and the earthquakes.”

Ontario/ Lake Erie
The Dundee Energy Limited website states, “Dundee Energy Limited’s (formerly Eurogas Corporation) $129 million acquisition in spring 2010 of Ontario assets producing light crude oil and natural gas with high-netbacks and long reserve life advances the Company’s strategy to grow through the development of long-life, low-risk assets.”

While the extent of their oil and gas activities in Ontario is hard to discern, their October 25, 2013 media release says, “As part of its offshore program, the Corporation completed its extensive pipeline replacement and relocation project. This project included dredging of the Port Burwell harbour, which will improve production efficiencies throughout Lake Erie.” A Dundee Energy Ltd. web-page says, “DELP holds a 65% W.I. in 904,036 gross acres offshore-Lake Erie from which only natural gas is produced. The location of DELP’s natural gas assets provides market flexibility given their proximity to the Dawn natural gas storage hub.”

We noted in an August 2010 campaign blog, “The United States has banned offshore oil and gas drilling in the Great Lakes, but while Canada prohibits offshore oil drilling in the Great Lakes, it does allow on-shore drilling for oil under the Great Lakes as well as offshore gas drilling. …The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources estimates that there are about 156 million barrels of oil and 1 trillion cubic feet of gas on the Canadian side of Lake Erie. The US Geological Survey has estimated that there are 430 million barrels of recoverable petroleum liquids and 5.2 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas on the US side of the Great Lakes.”

The Stop Fracking Ontario website goes further and cites a not-functioning Eurogas web-link and claims that as of May 2011 the company saw a “Potential opportunity for shale gas exploration/testing”. Their website also provides the attached map that “shows at least some of the Ontario lake and land assets of Eurogas corporation”.

We’ll continue to look into this and follow the company’s activities particularly in relation to our concerns about protecting the Great Lakes, stopping fracking, solidarity with our allies in Spain, and implications related to the Canada-European Union free trade agreement.

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