Oil, Gas and the Pressure of Protest: Dakota Access Pipeline

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - 4:10pm to 5:30pm

Rm.149(basement), Earth Sciences Building, University of Toronto, 5 Bancroft Ave., Toronto

MARTIN VEZÉR, Associate Analyst, Research Products, Sustainalytics

ABSTRACT: In April 2016, protests led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe began disrupting construction of the USD 3.8bn Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Citizens throughout the US and abroad, along with political leaders, non-governmental organizations and some regulators have requested that construction come to a halt and alternative routes be considered to address concerns about risks to land, water and sites of cultural significance. While Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company constructing Dakota Access, has reaffirmed its plan to forge ahead with construction, community relations issues have taken a financial and reputational toll on the company. Dakota Access is only the most recent of many cases in which community and regulatory scrutiny have led to pipeline construction difficulties in North America. This talk explores how community relations risks have become a material factor for the oil and gas storage and transportation industry, and assesses related risk mitigation capabilities of ten pipeline operators. 

BRIEF BIO: Martin Vezér is an Associate Analyst on the Thematic Research Team at Sustainalytics, a global sustainability research and analysis firm, serving investors and financial institutions with responsible investment solutions. Prior to joining Sustainalytics, Martin was a postdoctoral scholar in the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at Pennsylvania State University. Martin earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy of Science from the University of Western Ontario, his Master of Science degree in Philosophy of the Social Sciences from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and his Honours Bachelor of Arts degree from York University.