The leaders of five national oil and natural gas industry associations say Albertans need to vote energy during the next provincial election.
At a press conference on January 30 in Calgary, the association presidents gathered to say the challenges facing their industry is putting the livelihoods of Albertans and their families at risk. While stressing a non-partisan approach, they want voters to think about energy and ask political leaders how they plan to encourage a growing and competitive oil and natural gas sector in the province.
“We have some challenges here,” said Tim McMillan president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). He highlighted declining capital investment and persistent unemployment problems in the province, adding, “We must get back on track.”
McMillan went on to describe CAPP’s recently released Alberta Energy Platform document.
“We put forward a vision of what we think is possible, and we put forward a series of recommendations that any government—whomever gets elected—could adopt to achieve this vision,” said McMillan of the platform which highlights priorities such as improved market access and the need for a competitive, efficient regulatory regime.
“If we get it right, we think we can double investment in Alberta.”
The joint press conference included McMillan, Gary Mar, president and CEO of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC), Mark Scholz, president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC), Tristan Goodman, president of Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (EPAC) and Chris Bloomer, president and CEO of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA).
The other industry leaders voiced their support for CAPP’s policy document, and echoed their concerns over the current crisis enveloping Alberta’s oil and natural gas industry.
Mark Scholz of CAODC in particular emphasized the profound impact of the current crisis on people and small businesses.
“Once-proud and sustainable Alberta businesses employing thousands of Canadians across the country have suffered prolonged hardship,” said Scholz. “Families are struggling, businesses are failing, and our future prosperity is very much on the line.”
Scholz recommended that Albertans “educate yourselves on the different energy policies of the candidates in your area, and support those with a commitment to long-term solutions that position Alberta and Canada as a global energy leader.”
PSAC’s Gary Mar stressed that Canada has “the most responsibly produced energy on Earth” and has an opportunity to supply energy the world needs that is produced with higher environmental and safety standards than its competitors.
“Canadian energy has a great story to tell. The reality is Canadians should be proud of what we do coast to coast,” said Mar.
“The reality is that the world needs more Alberta energy,” said Tristan Goodman of EPAC while also highlighting how Alberta’s oil and natural gas revenues provide economic benefits that support things like health care and education. “It’s the actual economic engine that’s driving us forward. And right now it is in crisis.”
Chris Bloomer of CEPA noted the troubles the industry has had getting its products to market. “Fundamentally, we have an issue that is of great concern to us. We need regulatory certainty and clarity,” said Bloomer.
The five industry leaders noted that their goal is to encourage conversations among Albertans about the important role energy will play in the upcoming provincial election, adding that the business of energy is the business of every government of Alberta regardless of its political persuasion.
“We know that all Albertans will be engaged in the next few months—having conversations on the doorstep, attending public forums and debates, and we have a role to help inform that discussion and what we think is possible for Alberta,” said McMillan. He also referenced the recent rallies and polls that show how concerned many Albertans have become about their energy industry.
“Albertans have been leading this conversation,” said McMillan. “We have a responsibility to contribute.”