Canadian Energy Minister Speaks Out on Downturn

May 2016, Vol. 243, No. 5

Alberta has a glut of oil and natural gas hanging over the energy markets these days, but there’s another commodity piling up in the province, waiting to burst out: frustration.

According to the Calgary Herald, frustration was a prevailing theme for the province’s energy minister – and many industry players – at the recent Canadian Energy Research Institute’s 2016 Oil and Gas Symposium when the discussion turned to the need for new pipelines.

While the sector can’t escape the brutal reality of low oil and natural gas prices, economic issues are compounded by Alberta being stuck with natural resources that don’t fetch their maximum price due to infrastructure constraints.

Speaking at the symposium, Alberta Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd said she often encounters general frustration when talking to unemployed oilpatch workers across the province.

“They’re frustrated by their fellow Canadians [and the way] they’ve characterized this downturn and the effect it’s having on hard-working Albertans,” she said, later explaining many feel other Canadians don’t appreciate the energy sector. The issue on everyone’s mind, McCuaig-Boyd added, is building new pipelines to get Alberta oil to tidewater for export.

Without getting a project approved by regulators and built to the east or west coasts, producers and governments will continue to leave money on the table. It’s estimated the discount on Alberta’s oil due to market access restrictions means the province has forfeited over $6 billion in royalties since 2010.

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