There was no error in granting partial summary judgment on more
than $5 million dollars in gas facility invoices, the Alberta Court
of Appeal held in SemCAMS ULC v Blaze Energy Ltd, 2016 ABCA
113, despite the gas producer's objections that a trial
was needed to determine the amounts owing. While the producer is
free to pursue an audit of the disputed amounts and a counterclaim
for any adjustments, it faces a current liability for the amounts
The Court held that the lower court's decision was founded
on a reasonable interpretation of the relevant agreements that was
supported by considerations of business efficacy. The relevant
agreements used the "pay first, dispute later" structure
common in the oil and gas industry. As we noted in our post
discussing the summary judgment decision (see: Operator Granted Summary Judgment Against Producer for Disputed
Invoice Amounts), the lower court accepted that in light of
the operator's need to ensure a steady cash flow, it was not
unreasonable for the parties to allocate the risk of inaccurate
monthly invoices to the producer, subject to contractual audit
The Court of Appeal also held that the Chambers Judge was
entitled to rely on evidence from an employee of the operator whose
role regarding the specific receivables was somewhat indirect.
Although the employee was responsible for production allocation and
booking gas processing and transportation fees, he was not involved
in preparing invoices and could not, for example, explain the
volume of gas to which the invoices related. The Court of Appeal
confirmed that the employee was nevertheless sufficiently well
informed and qualified to provide reliable and material evidence
concerning the quantum of the operator's claim. This aspect of
the decision is consistent with longstanding Alberta case law that
a corporate representative does not need not be personally involved
in the transactions regarding which he or she provides evidence on
a summary judgment application, as well as recent decisions that
streamline the process for relying on summary procedures (see: Myth of Trial No Longer Governs: Alberta Embraces New Summary
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Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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