Canada sees the oil and gas industry as crucial to its economy and economic recovery after the pandemic, and the federal government is working on getting funds through to the industry, which hasn’t seen any financial help from the loan programs, Federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan said.
“The bottom line is the country is not going to recover unless the oil and gas sector recovers,” Calgary Herald columnist Chris Varcoe quoted O’Regan as saying on Monday on an online seminar with Calgary-based ARC Energy Research Institute.
“This is the biggest industry in the country. It’s our biggest export, so there is a lot on the line for everybody,” the minister said.
Canada’s federal government has set up programs to support businesses, including in the oil and gas industry, with relief financing to help them overcome the crash in oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic. Canada’s oil firms, however, were still struggling early this month to understand what it takes to qualify for a federal government program. Meanwhile, industry representatives said they were unaware of any firm that could access financing under those programs.
Top executives at many Canadian oil firms are still waiting for specifics regarding the program for loans while their companies review eligibility criteria. Some managers believe that the federal government’s intentions are good, but the details are still unclear. Others feel deceived and question whether the federal government is sincerely intent on helping the oil industry.
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The federal government still has work to do to get funding programs to Canadian oil and gas producers, O’Regan said at the Monday seminar.
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) announced last week a new program aimed at helping medium-sized businesses with cash flow needs as a result of COVID-19, including in the oil and gas sector. Under the program, businesses eligible to receive loans must have been financially stable and viable prior to the current economic environment and must have been negatively impacted, directly or indirectly, by COVID-19 and/or the recent decline in oil and gas prices.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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