The Competition Bureau is seeking to block Secure Energy Services Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Tervita Corporation to protect competition for customers of oil and gas waste services in Western Canada.
On June 29, 2021, the Bureau also filed an application with the Competition Tribunal for an order to prevent the companies from closing their proposed merger until the matter is heard by the Tribunal.
Secure and Tervita are the two largest suppliers, and in many areas, the only suppliers of oil and gas waste services in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) and vigorously compete with one another to win customers. The elimination of this rivalry through this proposed merger is likely to result in higher prices and a loss in the quality of service for customers.
Both companies operate facilities used to dispose of waste produced by oil and gas operations. These include industrial landfills, treatment recovery and disposal facilities (TRDs) and standalone water disposal wells. They also compete to provide other types of environmental services such as solids control, demolition & decommissioning, and equipment rentals.
The Bureau’s review concluded that the proposed merger is likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition with respect to services provided at waste disposal facilities in the WCSB. The merger is also likely to prevent competition for landfill services in Northeastern British Columbia, and to lessen competition for environmental services through Secure’s ability to charge its environmental services competitors higher prices.
The higher costs likely to be imposed as a result of the proposed merger, will harm oil and gas producers at a time when this important industry is struggling. Strong enforcement of competition law is key to ensuring competitive markets over the long term as the economy recovers.
The Bureau’s application will be available shortly on the Competition Tribunal’s website.
“The Competition Bureau is taking this action to prevent customers of oil and gas waste services from paying higher prices and experiencing reduced service. Rigorous enforcement of Canada’s competition laws will support Canada’s economic recovery and benefit Canadians as a whole.”
Commissioner of Competition
The WCSB, which spans southwestern Manitoba, southern Saskatchewan, Alberta, northeastern British Columbia and the southwest corner of the Northwest Territories, contains one of the world’s largest reserves of petroleum and natural gas.
Secure, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, owns and operates 18 TRDs, 6 industrial landfills (as well as one it does not own but operates under contract), and 15 water disposal wells in the WCSB.
Tervita, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, owns and operates 44 TRDs, 18 industrial landfills (as well as three it markets for and one it operates under contract), 3 cavern disposal facilities, and 8 standalone water disposal wells in the WCSB.
Post-transaction, Secure would have a dominant footprint across the WCSB and will only face limited competition from small regional or local competitors.