Energy Connections Canada First Annual Conference – Event Recap

ICYMI – Energy Connections Canada (ECC) recently wrapped up their first annual conference in Calgary, Alberta. This two day conference hosted a plethora of thought leaders from the energy industry on a multitude of topics, all pertaining to the future of energy.

The first day kicked off with a Keynote session hosted by the President & CEO of the Business Council of Canada, Goldy Hyder. Goldy spoke on federal and international emission goals, paths towards achieving these goals, and different roles Canada can play. He shared his perspective on how the Government of Canada is attempting to solve “global issues with localized solutions”. As “emissions don’t respect borders”, he believes an internationally collaborative approach is required to truly impact emission goals. He wrapped up his conversation by praising the Canadian energy sector for their continued commitment to providing reliable, affordable, and clean energy. 

The first panel discussion of the day centered around Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) development within Canada. It was moderated by Ziad Saad, the Board Chair of Energy Connections Canada, and included Lisa Baiton, CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), Graham Shanks, Director of Business Development at Enbridge, Scott Atha, Senior Manager for Pembina, and Dave Forestell, Vice President of External Relations Canada at TC Energy. The panel shared their perspectives on the benefits of expanding LNG ports on both Western and Eastern coasts, stating it would enable other countries to move away from their reliance on coal, towards cleaner energy alternatives.

This rotated into a panel discussion regarding recent regulation changes and the impacts they  have on our industry and economy. The panel was moderated by David Charlebois, Business Development & Marketing Manager at ILF Consultants, and consisted of Kate Rich, Assistant Deputy Minister of Policy in Alberta Environment and Protected Areas, Sonya Savage, with an extensive resume in energy including being a Senior Minister for four years in the Alberta Government who currently holds Senior Counsel with BLG, Sander Duncanson, Co-Chair of Osler’s Regulatory Indigenous and Environmental Practice. They spoke of the importance of regulations within industry, and where Canada Energy Regulator and/or Alberta Energy Regulator jurisdiction applies. The conversation continued with suggestions for removing redundancy in reporting requirements in hopes of streamlining project approval processes, creating reliability and removing ambiguity.

The next conversation had Tracy Sletto, CEO of the Canada Energy Regulator, and Laurie Pushor, President & CEO of Alberta Energy Regulator, at the front of the room. Moderator Gail Sharko, Director of Regulatory & External Affairs at Trans‐Northern Pipeline, led the conversation around the regulators priorities and opportunities they hope to realize in the coming years.

The final conversation for the first day centered on shipping CO2 and H2 molecules for emissions reduction and alternative energy sources. Brian Wagg,  Director of Business Development & Strategic Initiatives at C‐FER Technologies kicked off with a presentation on the importance of CO2 pipelines as well as key considerations with them as we stride towards developing Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration across the country. Rebecca Korolnek, a Senior Engineer at DNV Canada presented on their projections for hydrogen demand and uses over the next 30 years. Chris Hooper, CFO of Entropy, wrapped up the discussion by sharing their companies recent sequestration projects, as well as the lessons learned through their development.


Day two began with the Keynote session on “Lessons Learned from Trans Mountain Expansion” with Corey Goulet, Chief Major Project Officer at Trans Mountain, and moderated by Omar Saif, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Gibson Energy. The original Trans Mountain Pipeline, built in 1953, continues to operate safely today. The expansion project involves twinning this 1,150-kilometer pipeline between Strathcona County in Alberta and Burnaby in British Columbia, significantly increasing its capacity. The project has provided job opportunities to approximately 36,917 individuals, focusing on Indigenous, local, and regional hiring. Despite facing complex regulatory criteria and unforeseen constructability challenges, the project offers valuable lessons for the energy industry and government on successfully navigating large-scale projects in the future.

During the Three Minutes of Fame event moderated by Jim Parsons, Vice President of Oil and Gas at Spartan Controls, our President & CEO, Ishrat Oishee, delivered a presentation on the critical role of Canada’s Young Energy Infrastructure Professionals (YEIP). Ishrat delved into the core values that YEIP embodies and its significant impact on the energy industry. She emphasized YEIP’s dedication to ensuring access to energy for all, recognizing it as a fundamental pillar for fostering a robust economy. Ishrat underscored YEIP’s vision of an energy infrastructure that is reliable, interconnected, and sustainable, where economic prosperity harmonizes with environmental conservation. She emphasized the importance of incorporating young professionals into discussions surrounding growth, innovation, and sustainability, emphasizing that their inclusion is indispensable.

In the Communities of Practice Update session, Amanda Vigeant, Supervisor of Resilience & Performance Management at Pembina Pipeline, highlighted the importance of emergency management. Sterling Koch, Vice President of Legal & Land at Plains Midstream Canada, shared valuable insights into regulatory matters. Robert Waterhouse, Program Manager of Industry Development & Support at Energy Safety Canada, emphasized the significance of safety. Furthermore, Energy Safety Canada’s new initiative, “Protecting Young Workers,” equips young workers in the industry with tools and resources to make a positive impact in preventing severe injuries.

In the final panel discussion, Thought‐Leader Fireside Chat moderated by Evan Bahry, Executive Director at Energy Connections Canada, Stephen Buffalo, President and CEO of the Indian Resource Council, Tristan Goodman, President and CEO of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada, and Timothy Egan, President and CEO of the Canadian Gas Association shared perspectives on the key issues facing responsible resources such as energy transition, unfriendly policies and regulatory framework in Canada. From economic reconciliation to restoring investor confidence, this panel covered many topics. When discussing how Young Professionals should navigate the industry in the current climate, the panel emphasized the importance of their drive, commitment, and innovation in facing energy challenges of the coming decades.

Learn more about the event on ECC’s website.

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