Canada’s federal government does not consider the Albertan oil industry a priority despite its central importance to the provincial economy, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said after Ottawa released its 2019 budget.
"They're recognizing that the investment levels are down, they're recognizing that prices are down and that unemployment is up, and yet they're not really taking any meaningful action to support our industry," the group’s vice-president of oilsands, Ben Brunnen, said as quoted by CBC.
"The reality is, when we see those indicators all facing down, from an oil and gas perspective, and no recognition from the government of a willingness to support our industry, it's a pretty strong message towards our industry that we're not a priority for this government, and that's disappointing," Brunnen added.
The budget includes funds for retraining initiatives that could help with Alberta’s high unemployment problem, but according to CAPP, this is not enough.
Alberta’s oil industry may not be a priority for Ottawa, but it certainly is a priority for everyone running in this year’s elections, scheduled for April 16. The Canadian Press reported this week that oil and gas investments and carbon tax were central topics on the campaign trail.
Incumbent Premier Rachel Notley has promised to increase local oil and gas processing capacity while her rival from the United Conservative party, Jason Kenney, focused on the carbon tax approved by the Notley government.
Notley’s plan aims to reduce the amount of crude oil Alberta exports, therefore reducing the need for transportation capacity including pipelines—nowhere in sight—and oil trains. It should bring in tens of billions of dollars in fresh investments.
Kenney, on the other hand, promised his first order of business would be to repeal the carbon tax that is “punishing” Albertans. This, he said, would save the province more than US$1billion (C$1.4 billion) every year “in one fell swoop.”
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.