Industry Groups Say Collaboration With Smith Government Key To Addressing Issues, Challenges

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Premier Danielle Smith. File photo.

While there’s familiarity between Alberta’s oil and gas sector and re-elected Premier Danielle Smith and her government, a collaborative effort between industry, the province and other jurisdictions remains essential to address pertinent issues and challenges going forward, says Tristan Goodman, president and CEO of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (EPAC).

“Obviously, congratulations are in order and we look forward to working with the Smith government. I think there’s sort of three things we’re generally focused on, broadly speaking. One is competitiveness. So that’s fiscal as well as within the regulatory space,” he told the Bulletin.

“Another is market access. And that’s related to really trying to ensure there is sufficient pipe and there’s fair access to existing pipelines. And then of course we’re also very interested in seeing a collaborative approach with other jurisdictions such as British Columbia to make sure LNG can get constructed,” Goodman added.

“And then finally in those sort of three, the next one would be improved regulatory timelines, as well as making sure that things are working properly in the regulatory space in Alberta.”

During her victory speech on Monday night, Smith took aim at potential action from Ottawa on the province’s energy industry.

Goodman is hopeful that the often contentious relationship between the two governments can be improved and become more constructive, especially in light of climate targets and the oil and gas sector’s ongoing efforts to reduce emissions.

“Clearly, that relationship is going to be important to ensure clean technology can be implemented quickly. Our members are going through significant reductions in GHG emissions today. Further support on that is needed,” he said.

“And two prime examples really relate to CCUS implementation. That includes access for producers for pore space, which has been a problem. And it would also include some incentives where the federal government has stepped back,” Goodman added.

Setting the stage for widespread electrification is also a priority, Goodman added.

“Electrification is quite critical, but it’s quite costly. So it’s a matter of how can we make sure electrification is moving forward to reduce GHG emissions but done in a way that is not only to make sure it’s efficient, but that government is putting in place an ability to create access points where there have been some challenges with larger utilities for the oil and gas industry,” he said.

“Actually, there’s been a lot of challenges. The larger utilities, whether it’s ATCO or whether it’s groups into British Columbia, are also pretty critical.”

Goodman said EPAC will continue to dialogue with provincial officials in an effort for both parties to communicate concerns and challenges in hopes of achieving collaborative solutions.

“We’ve obviously had a broad conversation across a very large diversity of membership to make sure were focused on top priorities. And we’ll be ensuring that’s communicated into government,” he said.

“Of course like any government, we look forward to sitting down and hearing what their concerns are and also making sure that the opportunities that we’re bringing to the table are clearly put forward. It should be a fairly collaborative relationship.

“So we expect that to continue. We’ve appreciated the support that has been received from the Smith government in the past and we heard her messages on the campaign trail. And we believe that’s constructive for the energy business that sort of has several aspects that are both opportunities, but also headwinds to resolve.”

Meanwhile, Kendall Dilling, president of Pathways Alliance, said the group “congratulates Premier Smith and the United Conservative Party” on forming Alberta’s next government.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the province to strengthen our position as the world’s preferred supplier of responsibly produced oil. Executing on a realistic and achievable plan to meaningfully reduce CO2 emissions by 2030 and achieve a goal of net zero emissions from operations by 2050 requires close co-ordination with the provincial and federal governments,” he said in a statement.

“We look forward to continued discussion and collaboration as we work towards effective regulations and co-financing agreements to achieve our ambitious emission reduction plan while enhancing Canada’s ability to compete globally to meet energy security needs for decades to come.”

Lisa Baiton, president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), also looks forward to working with Smith and her team.

“The upstream oil and natural gas industry is an integral part of the Alberta and Canadian economies. CAPP looks forward to fostering a collaborative relationship with the Alberta government to achieve the objectives of sustainably producing Alberta’s natural resources, creating and sustaining jobs, and enabling the innovation and technologies that will continue to drive down emissions from our sector,” she said in a statement.

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