Sunday , 2 October 2022

Lakeland municipal leaders and UCP MLA’s comment on province’s oil curtailments that could hurt jobs

*Update at 3:47pm 

A spokesperson from the Minister of Energy’s Office issued the following statement.

“CNRL fought hard for this policy and we ultimately agreed it was in best interest of Albertans. Premier Rachel Notley took action to protect the value of the resources owned by all Albertans, and her leadership is instrumental in saving thousands of jobs across the sector.

“CNRL has benefited substantially from this temporary policy. We disagree with their characterization and it’s disappointing to see them threatening suppliers with job losses when they’re being treated the same as other producers. CNRL is being treated fairly and equitably under this policy, which they support, and the company will need to be accountable for their own regional business decisions.”

The Town of Bonnyville, City of Cold Lake, and M.D. of Bonnyville have released a joint statement regarding the ramifications of CNRL’s shut-in of the ECHO pipeline which is expected to hurt jobs in the area soon.

“While curtailment was requested by the oil industry, the latest proposed revisions are concerning,” said M.D. of Bonnyville Reeve Greg Sawchuk, in the press release.

“We want the Alberta government and Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd to revisit the revisions based on the economic impact this will have on our communities, and to ensure the curtailment is applied equitably across the industry, instead of placing the emphasis on certain operations.”

It was reported on Friday that Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNRL) would be shutting in its new ECHO pipeline and all operations associated with it due to a change in the province’s curtailment formula.

Up to 1000 people could be out of work starting on Friday, Feb. 1 if changes aren’t made to the curtailment formula.

“In order to convince the Energy Minister to revisit the formula, Sawchuk, Town of Bonnyville Mayor Gene Sobolewski and City of Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland are urging residents to voice their concerns by writing letters to Premier Rachel Notley and McCuaig-Boyd to return to the previous curtailment formula,” the press release says.

“We all understood the guiding principle to curtailment was to increase the market value of WCS and to protect jobs in Alberta,” said Sobolewski.

“In changing the curtailment formula for February, the government has now violated the principle of protecting jobs by devastating our region. I implore the Premier to intervene and leave the original formula unchanged,” Sobolewski said in the release.

Sobolewski went on to explain CNRL had voluntarily throttled back production prior to mandatory curtailment, and that hadn’t been factored into the new formula.

“I would also ask the Province to consider all factors in the equation to ensure that jobs in northeast Alberta are protected,” said Sobolewski.

The ECHO pipeline is located in the M.D. and transports cold flow/heavy crude from the region as well as Lloydminster and Elk Point.

The closing in of the pipeline would create a domino effect, negatively affecting the region’s economy, the press release says.

“CNRL employees live in the M.D., the City of Cold Lake and the Town of Bonnyville. Local oil servicing companies are also involved in the operation. The shut-in would mean substantial job losses across the board. The domino effect would continue on, affecting restaurants, retail establishments, tourism, etc.”

“If curtailment is not properly implemented it threatens to be another economic blow in a region already embattled by a prolonged downturn,” said Mayor of Cold Lake Craig Copeland.

“It is our hope that the government works closely with all industry partners to arrive at an equitable formula.”

UCP MLA’s Hanson and Cyr make statement

Dave Hanson, United Conservative MLA for Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills, and Scott Cyr, United Conservative MLA for Bonnyville-Cold Lake, have issued the following statement to the potential loss of work.

“This past week we learned that 500 to 1,000 Albertans may lose their jobs in our region as the result of a recent change by the NDP government to the oil curtailment formula.

They said they have not received any explanation for the changes oil curtailment.

“Nearly three weeks ago, our United Conservative Energy Critic Prasad Panda sent a letter to the NDP’s Energy Minister asking for updates on the curtailment plan, given continued uncertainty. The government has not bothered to reply, let alone offer a briefing,” the UCP statement says.

They said the UCP’s support for curtailment was meant as a temporary measure, but not as a “blank cheque.”

“The Alberta families and communities affected by this decision deserve answers.

“This situation is a direct consequence of the failure to build new pipelines in recent years, including the deliberate cancellation of multiple viable pipeline projects by the Trudeau Liberal government that the Alberta NDP government blindly trusted. It remains outrageous that Alberta was brought to the point where such a grave decision as curtailment even needed to be considered, let alone implemented,” the release said.


About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.