Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 26, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Thursday, September 26, 1974 Lines forming in historic energy war Natural gas prices The increase in the price of Canadian natural gas to be exported to the United States is in line with new world prices, arrived at without the benefit of a cartel, and indicates a new value for a resource once thought to be a nuisance. Last September, Indonesia contracted to sell gas to a Los Angeles utility at 63 cents per thousand cuoic feet with an increase of two per cent a year in price. Now it is reportedly attempting to renegotiate the price to and tie it to crude oil prices. Algeria, which possesses some of the largest gas reserves in the world, at present supplies El Paso Natural Gas Company at 30.5 cents per thousand cubic feet but is rumored to be asking for future contracts. Iran recently persuaded the Soviets to pay 57 cents per thousand cubic feet, a raise from the 1972 price of 30.7 cents, which in turn was an increase over an earlier price of 18 cents. And Russia, which has a reputation for wily trade deals and which exports gas as well as importing it for geographical reasons (and which has 33 per cent of the world's confirmed reserves) is reported to be asking from Austria. This is five times as much as that country is now paying for Russian gas. It should be pointed out that all these are not necessarily comparable figures, since there is no indication whether they are well head or border prices or whether they include the liquification of the gas, as well may be the case for In- donesia and Algeria. But they do show that, in every source, the price of natural gas is ballooning. With this pressure on reserves of natural gas it is not surprising that Canada has raised the price. And the move apparently did not surprise some U.S. customers. The Montana Power Company, which gets 80 per cent of its natural gas from Canada, recently re- quested permission from the U.S. Federal Power Commission to pay dou- ble the present price in order to keep its supply assured, a sure indication that the utility expected the price to increase. Since the Montana Power Company is in- volved in the corporate structure of at least one of the gas companies operating in Southern Alberta this may not have been too painful. The next question is: Where does this place the general policy of restraint as a means of combatting inflation? Resource producing countries face a dilemma as they attempt to put a real and objective value on their non- revewable resources, because this step at this time will also intensify world wide inflation. New veterinary college Until a few years ago there was only one veterinary college in Canada, at Guelph. The four western provinces then agreed there should be one in the west. In the discussion over location, there was strong promotion of Lethbridge. The un- iversity had not yet been established, but the large number of agricultural research scientists in the area was con- sidered a good initial reservoir of teaching talent. The promotion got nowhere, mostly because it was assumed the college had to be attached to a well-established un- iversity, especially one strong in the life sciences. So the University of Saskatchewan at Saskatoon was selected as the site. Now both the need for veterinarians and the number of young people wishing to enter the profession have greatly out- stripped the facility at Saskatoon, and a new college should be established in the west. Would this be the time and the oppor- tunity to suggest Lethbridge as the location? Unenviable position Besides the governments of South Africa and Rhodesia there is another government that is profoundly affected by the changeover that is occurring in Mozambique. The Malawi government of Dr. Kamuzu Banda may be in a more dif- ficult position than either of the other two. For a decade Dr. Banda has outraged his African colleagues by his courtship of the two white minority regimes and his obstructionist tactics regarding the liberation movement in Mozambique. His arrests of Frelimo officials seeking refuge from the Portuguese in Mozambi- que and his refusal to allow Malawi to provide access for men and war materials seriously handicapped the liberation movement. Now Dr. Banda must change his at- titude and learn to live with the very peo- ple he treated so shabbily most of the time the guerrilla war was being waged. Malawi is a landlocked country that depends on Mozambique for trade routes. It may be that Frelimo officials will recognize that Dr. Banda has not really represented the sentiments of his people and will find a way to let Malawi live economically. But it is more likely that they will take a tough line as long as Dr. Banda remains president of Malawi. That could mean that a coup of some sort will sooner or later take place in Malawi as the pressures mount. The heads of state in Rhodesia and South Africa are in unenviable positions but they may be well off compared to Dr. Banda. ERIC NICOL Ford blew it "The quality of mercy is not strain'd. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven."