Podcasts are an engaging alternative to the reams and reams of social media we can endlessly scroll through. They provide an entertaining alternative to visual media. In fact, studies show that the brain is more active while listening to podcasts than when watching television.
The name Narratios comes from the Latin word for storytelling. It also pays homage to our company name, which is also Latin. Pieridae is the name for a very large, almost cosmopolitan, family of butterflies. It came to be our company name while we were looking into a project that would have been in Nigeria, the country with the most butterfly species in the world.
According to Edison Research, the number of Americans who listen to a podcast each week has grown 100% over the past four years, and 67 million Americans listen to a podcast every month. In Canada, more than 13 million people have listened at some point this year. Podcasting is now a mainstream media channel. More than six-in-ten monthly podcast listeners (63%) say they have a favourite podcast, up from 56% a year ago.
Podcasts are more convenient than blog posts or other written-word vehicles: people can listen to podcasts while driving, working out, taking a walk or just doing chores around the house.
Making a Difference: Sundre's New Youth Centre a Hit With Local Teens
'The Den' is Bringing Many in the Community Together
Getting involved and investing in the communities where we work and live in is fundamental for us at Pieridae. It is important to strengthen our community bonds by giving back and helping out.
In our latest podcast, we profile a new youth centre Pieridae is supporting in Sundre called ‘The Den’. It is operated by the Greenwood Neighborhood Place Society, a non-profit focused on responding to community needs in the town and surrounding area.
The Den is a safe space for teens from junior high to high school to come after classes where they can hang out, participate in a variety of activities or get some schoolwork done.
We talk to The Den’s program director, Russ Klassen, about getting the youth centre up and running, and how much the community rallied around the facility to help it to begin operating. We also spoke to Monica Rosevear, a Pieridae employee at our Caroline Gas Plant, and her daughter Brooke, who frequents the youth centre and had a hand in its creation as well.
“A lot of teens and kids wanted somewhere to go after school. It's really improved things, especially for me, because it's just somewhere nice to hang out and there's games there that you can play. It's a pretty fun place to hang out with your friends,” says Brooke.
“With COVID, the kids really haven't had anywhere to go because most public places are not open. So, it's super nice to have a safe, supervised space for the kids to go after school and hang out with their friends,” adds Monica.
Listen to a preview below.
A Story of Dedication that Helped Keep Us Warm & Fed
We all experienced winter’s icy grip in December and into January in Alberta, with many towns and cities recording overnight lows pushing the mid to high minus 30’s. It wasn’t much better during the day, either, and that doesn’t take into account the snow and howling wind some areas saw!
While many of us celebrated the season with family and friends, field operators, the ‘silent heroes’ of the natural gas sector, worked long hours, sometimes in the middle of the night, pulling 26-28 hour shifts so that the natural gas would be there to cook our meals and heat our homes.
Our latest podcast and blog features two industry stalwarts: Charlie Ludewig and Ken Rouleau – 40-year veterans of their trade.
We talked to Charlie and Ken about the recent frigid weather snap, and what it takes in conditions many of us would not set foot outside in to ensure how they helped keep the Waterton Gas Plant running.
“We’ve run into that a number of times over the years,” says Ken. “Blowing snow and it’s very, very heavy. I followed a D7 Cat bulldozer down the road a few times. That's the only way you could get around in the canyons, there's too much snow for graders. If we get a three-foot snowfall, it's fine if a Cat is in front of you. But as soon as the wind whips up, everything can be plugged up solid. We've had outages for a couple days. Even some wells, we can't visit them for up to a week or so because of those conditions. And it does happen quite often.”
2021 was a year of ups and downs for the company.
Big wins included two successful turnarounds or planned maintenance shutdowns at two of our gas plants; the announcement of an innovative carbon capture, storage and clean power project; and renewed optimism toward higher, sustained commodity prices in 2022 and the start of a Foothills drilling program.
Challenges included an inability to reach a final investment decision for the Goldboro LNG Project, ongoing liquidity concerns and the cumulative impacts of COVID on the industry and Pieridae’s overall business plan.
CEO Alfred Sorensen discusses these areas in-depth both in his year-end blog and also as part of our ongoing Narratios podcast series.
“I am pleased the Strategic Review of the company continues to progress,” said Pieridae CEO Alfred Sorensen. We are reviewing bids that may lead to a sale of some or all of Pieridae’s assets or the company itself. The Board and senior management team are also analyzing a number of recapitalization opportunities to refinance our debt. Finally, ongoing conversations continue with our main lender to work to improve Pieridae’s balance sheet.
“I remain confident the right path will be found that will benefit our shareholders and provide the best outcome for our employees.”
Listen to a preview clip of the podcast below, and the full podcast link under that.
In the words of her mother, Thalia Aspeslet was a gypsy, happy to float from place to place in her early adult years, picking up jobs where she could.
Life was simple.
Becoming a single mother changed all that. Now, there were new responsibilities and new priorities.
She knew she wanted to pursue a post-secondary education but where would a young, Indigenous mother raised in remote Northern Alberta go? How would she achieve what was best for her, for her son and find the right path?
Through embracing her whole self and reconnecting with her Indigenous roots, Thalia gained the confidence to upgrade her education. That culminated in achieving her ultimate goal: a degree in Geophysics. But most importantly, Thalia’s path to reconnection allowed her to find contentment - both personally and professionally.
Her parents laid the foundation for success. Their early words of support ring true for Thalia today:
“No matter what, we will get through this together. We'll have our ups and downs, but at the end of the day, we love you. You can make mistakes in life, but no matter what, you can always come home..."
Listen to our latest podcast as Pieridae's Consultation & Regulatory Advisor Thalia Aspeslet speaks from the heart about her journey, a story that may help others find their path, allowing them to embrace their own, true self as well.
Here's a quick clip:
How do you complete a 30-day maintenance shutdown of a large-scale natural gas processing facility in the midst of a pandemic, staff working 13 hour shifts day and night, and managing high stress and pressure involving work that can be extremely dangerous?
You do it with a dedicated, crack team; a well-thought out plan months in the making and someone leading the charge with a broad depth of experience.
At Pieridae, this was done not just once but twice in 2021 as the company safely completed two of these turnarounds.
The latest happened in early fall at our Caroline Gas Complex. Site Superintendent Mark Weiss had oversight of the work. He says anytime you're taking a gas plant apart, there are so many hazards where everyone involved needs to have their mind on the task while looking out for one another. To pull that off over a one month timeframe and to do it safely, it's a lot of pressure. There's a lot of expectations and it is very demanding on everybody.
“The overarching point to remember is that everyone is focused on doing a good job. And when folks get tired, you can have conflicts, you can have personality clashes, but I think it's a matter of stepping back and realizing that everybody is trying to do the right thing,” says Mark.
Listen to our latest podcast where Mark will walk you through what it takes to pull a team of 250 employees and contractors together to deliver a large-scale project safely and on time.
Here's a teaser.
Experts feel we won’t achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050 unless we employ technologies such as Carbon Sequestration, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) on a large-scale.
CCS is the process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO₂) formed during power generation and industrial processes and storing it so that it is not emitted into the atmosphere.
At Pieridae we are advancing our Caroline Carbon Capture Power Complex. This large-scale CCS and blue power production complex will be located at our Caroline Gas Plant in Alberta.
The Complex will capture and store underground up to three million tonnes of CO2 annually from the gas processing facility, power production and third parties. That is the equivalent of taking more than 650,000 cars off the road each year or eliminating 4.4 billion kilowatt-hours of coal-fired power annually.
The underground depleted gas reservoir that will store the carbon has enough capacity to sequester up to 100 million tonnes of CO2 over three-plus decades.
This ‘made in Canada’ solution positions Pieridae to play a key role in helping to lower overall Canadian greenhouse gas emissions. By capturing and storing carbon on such a large scale, we move further down the strategic path of ensuring our company is net carbon negative.
Our Project Lead Engineer Hesanka Garusinghe explains why the project is unique compared to other CCS initiatives, how it will lower our overall environmental footprint and ultimately keep carbon in the ground while producing clean power for Albertans.
Price Shocks and Fuel Shortages are Currently Gripping the UK & Europe
Pieridae’s Senior Vice-President of Marketing and Business Development Thom Dawson has been in the energy trading game since the early 1990s, so he has seen a lot. During his first decade trading he has never experienced what we are seeing now: pandemics, oil going to minus $30 dollars a barrel, natural gas prices through the roof and gas stations running out of petrol in the UK.
Changes that used occur over a decade are now being compressed into months.
Thom says COVID has certainly played an overriding role. Companies have not been investing in finding and developing resources to cover off declining production. This just hasn’t happened the last two years. Layer in the focus on creating green economies with greener energy, and we have made our energy system that we were previously able to rely on much more fragile.
So, when we get the current supply and prices shocks, five years ago we could have dealt with this by turning up all the coal-fired plants but we don’t have them anymore. We may get through all of this as we embrace the energy transition to a lower carbon economy and net zero emissions by 2050, but in the meantime are making the energy systems much more volatile and this is having a direct impact on consumers as they experience firsthand these price and supply shocks.
In Pieridae’s inaugural podcast, Thom will explain how higher energy prices will have a ripple effect: we’ll pay more for our groceries, more to heat our homes and just more money out of pockets overall in economies across the globe.
Here's Thom explaining how, in our rush toward a greener economy, we have made our energy system quite fragile: