Carbon capture research centre on verge of shutting down

REGINA — A Saskatchewan organization that developed what was hailed as the first guidelines in the world for safe carbon capture and storage is on the verge of shutting down.Funding is running out for the Regina-based International Performance Assessment Centre for Geologic Storage of CO2, known as IPAC-CO2.And Premier Brad Wall said Tuesday that it could be “wound up.”“They’ve done some great work,” Wall said at the legislature. “We wanted to lead in terms of the standards of CO2 storage and because of the work that’s been done, we have those standards today.”“There might be some wind-up dollars required. I think we’ll look at that in terms of the budget, but I don’t think there’s a need to continue because the work’s been completed,” he added.IPAC-CO2 was created in 2008 when the province and Royal Dutch Shell each put up $5-million over a five-year period.Carbon capture and storage involves gathering CO2 from power plants and refineries and injecting it deep into porous rock. The goal is to prevent the gas from entering the atmosphere and contributing to climate change.Jurisdictions such as Saskatchewan that rely heavily on coal-fired power plants need carbon capture and storage to work. But the technology has been panned as unproven and critics say not enough is known about the consequences.Last November, the centre released guidelines on the best way to store carbon dioxide underground so it doesn’t get back out.IPAC also investigated claims from a Saskatchewan couple that CO2 from an oil company’s carbon capture operation was leaking on their family farm near Weyburn. The centre determined that the company was not the source of gas found on Cameron and Jane Kerr’s farm.But the organization has been under scrutiny over concerns surrounding a contract for IT services that wasn’t tendered.When it was starting up, the centre, under acting managing director Malcolm Wilson, got into a sole-sourced IT deal with Climate Ventures Inc.A forensic investigation by Myers Norris Penny found there was a conflict of interest because two people, including Wilson, held seats on both the IPAC and Climate Ventures Inc. boards. A news release from the Opposition New Democrats said the company got $2.9 million over a year and a half for computer hardware, software and IT services that were worth considerably less. read more

Netflix still piling up viewers — and big programming bills

Netflix still piling up viewers — and big programming bills SAN FRANCISCO – Netflix is pulling in new viewers and award nominations in droves, but the online video service still faces a long-term problem: Its acclaimed programming line-up is costing far more money than what subscribers pay for it.That hasn’t been a big issue so far, thanks to investors’ willingness to accept scant profits in exchange for robust subscriber growth.Netflix delivered on that front again Monday, announcing that it added 5.2 million subscribers in the second quarter covering April to June. That’s the largest increase ever during the period, which has always been the company’s slowest time of year.Wall Street rewarded Netflix by driving up its stock by more than 10 per cent to $178.30 in extended trading, putting the shares on track to hit a new high in Tuesday’s regular trading.INTERNATIONAL COSTSThe Los Gatos, California, company now has 104 million subscribers worldwide. For the first time in its history, most of those subscribers (slightly more than 52 million) are outside the U.S.That milestone could further complicate Netflix’s cost issues, since the company will need to keep creating more shows that appeal to the unique interests of viewers in countries such as Japan, India and Indonesia.“It is going to be imperative for them to have more locally produced content,” says CFRA Research analyst Tuna Amobi. “They can’t afford to pursue a ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy.”As part of its efforts to boost its profits, Netflix is becoming more aggressive about dumping shows that aren’t drawing enough viewers to justify their costs. In the second quarter, Netflix jettisoned both the high-concept science fiction show “Sense 8” and the musical drama “The Get Down.”In a Monday letter to shareholders, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings made it clear that the company plans to exert more discipline in the future. So far, Netflix has renewed 93 per cent of its original series, much higher than the historical rate of traditional TV networks.“They are becoming more like any other Hollywood studio and paying more attention to the economics of their shows,” Amobi said.PROGRAMMING COUPSThe subscriber growth further validates Netflix’s decision to expand into original programming five years ago. Two of its longest running shows — “House of Cards” and “Orange Is The New Black” — recently launched their latest seasons.Those two series, along with new hits like “Master of None” and “13 Reasons Why,” helped Netflix easily surpass the average 1.8 million subscribers it has added in the second quarter over the past five years.This fall, new seasons of two other hits, “Stranger Things” and “The Crown,” are due. Those two series accounted for about a third of the 91 Emmy nominations that 27 different Netflix programs received last week — more than any other TV network except its role model, HBO, which landed 111 nominations.CASH BURNBut the success hasn’t come cheaply.Netflix is locked into contracts requiring it to pay more than $13 billion for programming during the next three years, a burden that has forced the company to borrow to pay its bills.After burning through $1.7 billion in cash last year, Netflix expects that figure to rise to as much as $2.5 billion this year. It’s continuing to invest in more original programming amid increasing competition from the likes of Amazon, Hulu and YouTube.“We have a long way to go to please more and more members,” Hastings said Monday during review of Netflix’s second-quarter results.Netflix expects to be spending more money than it brings in for several more years. It posted a more detailed explanation about its negative cash flow to give investors a better grasp of its programming expenses.Hastings on Monday described the negative cash flow as “an indication of tremendous success,” reasoning that Netflix wouldn’t be able to finance new programming if it wasn’t attracting so many new subscribers.Netflix is still profitable under corporate accounting rules, although its earnings remain puny by Wall Street standards. It earned $66 million on revenue of $2.8 billion in revenue during its latest quarter.Netflix could make more money by raising its prices closer to the $15 per month that HBO charges for its streaming service, but the company has said no increases are planned in the near future. Netflix’s U.S. rates currently range from $8 to $12 per month. by Michael Liedtke, The Associated Press Posted Jul 17, 2017 3:11 pm MDT Last Updated Jul 17, 2017 at 7:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email The Netflix logo is displayed on an iPhone in Philadelphia, Monday, July 17, 2017. Netflix’s shows are pulling in new viewers and award nominations in droves, but the online video service is burning cash at a furious pace to support production. Netflix, Inc. reports financial results, Monday, July 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) read more