Alberta government admits its policies are hurting investment

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean

Sonya Savage, Alberta’s Minister of Energy held a press conference Friday morning to announce new drilling of conventional oil wells will not be subject to curtailment.

“We’ve been told hundreds of new wells could be drilled if it wasn’t for curtailment,” the Minister said. No kidding.

If anyone was shocked to hear that business could do what business does, that is, create more opportunities to make money if not for a governmental policy strictly prohibiting them from doing so, it’s time to forfeit your “pro-free-enterprise” card.

“Existing conventional production (including oil sands) still falls under the curtailment policy,” she added, as if deciding to implement the local cable provider’s marketing program of showering new customers in gifts while shafting the old ones.

The government is unsure of how many jobs may be created or how many wells will be drilled but estimated 145-200 jobs would be created per new well. If we want to play this game, it is estimated that tech companies would create thousands of jobs in the province if only they’d invest here. Touche.

Savage blamed the NDP for “scaring away investment” at the same time. “They burned it to the ground and scorched the earth,” she said, “we’re doing everything we can to change that and encourage investment.”

‘Everything we can’? By extending a policy that prohibits the sale of products? Welcome to government – now it’s your record that matters, folks.

Controversially, the Energy Minister claimed the NDP failed to get “social licence” while simultaneously promoting Ezra Levant’s ‘ethical oil’ argument that has only managed to achieve “social licence” with people who promoted the industry in the first place. Take your wins where you can, I suppose.

The curtailment on current production is scheduled to remain in place until the end of 2020. Savage said lifting curtailment for new projects wouldn’t affect the transportation glut because it would take around eight to ten months before the wells would be functioning for production.

Since there’s no reason to believe the government will keep its word on ending curtailment, perhaps it might be a good plan for new customers after all.

This post is equal parts fact, snark and opinion.

Deirdre is a reporter, pundit, podcaster, and full-wit political observer raising four independent thinkers in rural Alberta.   

contact: dmaclean@countersign.ca, hello@politicalrnd.ca

Twitter: @Mitchell_AB for all the commentary; @thisweekinAB for posts; @politicalRnD to guess “who tweeted that”?

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