Alberta NDP government’s Minister of Energy Marg McCuaig-Boyd spoke to industry leaders and stakeholders at the annual Stampede Energy Open House at the McDougall Centre Wednesday. Alberta government photo.

Alberta NDP government touts growing employment, pipeline fight

Alberta’s Energy Minister, Marg McCuaig-Boyd, addressed oil industry stakeholders and industry leaders at the annual Stampede Week Energy Open House on Wednesday.

She said the province’s energy sector, driven by strong drilling activity and production increases, is growing and creating good-paying jobs for Alberta families.

McCuaig-Boyd says she and Premier Rachel Notley have been standing up for Alberta and working to get more pipelines built.

“Our made-in-Alberta plan has put us ahead of the curve as a sustainable energy producer the world needs for the 21st century. It means new pipelines, more good jobs and building a cleaner, more diversified energy sector,” said McCuaig-Boyd.

She added there is more work to be done to get the pipelines built, “but I’m incredibly optimistic because we’re seeing more Albertans going to work and benefiting from the oil and gas resources we’re so blessed to have”.

“That’s making life better for everyday families.”

The Alberta government says it is currently studying the regulatory and permitting process to cut time required to review projects, making the Alberta oil and gas industry more competitive by saving hundreds of millions of dollars.

And in 2017, upstream energy sector employment in Alberta rose by three per cent.  This increase was driven a jump of 12 per cent in the production of crude bitumen, an 8 per cent rise in conventional oil production and a two per cent increase in natural gas output.

Drilling activity rose and new oil sands operations were brought online, which accounts for the increases in output.

McCuaig-Boyd says the number of jobs in Alberta is expected to grow throughout 2018 and into 2019 as the Alberta NDP government continues to implement the Renewable Energy Program in the electricity sector and accepts applications for three programs under the Energy Diversification Act.

These programs are expected to attract billions of dollars in private sector investment in petrochemicals, partial-upgrading and clean energy development.

The Alberta government is addressing issues facing the oil industry through the Keep Canada Working public advocacy program.  The goal of Keep Canada Working is to help educate Canadians about the importance of the energy sector to the country.  As well, it outlines the need for the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion program.

In a press release, the government of Alberta says “since the campaign began, it has reached millions of Canadians through multiple channels with online videos being viewed more than a million times”.

Boosting market access to the US and globally is a priority for the government, ensuring the oil and gas sector remains competitive.  The province is also working with industry to examine natural gas market access issues as well as how it can support increased rail transportation while pipeline construction is ongoing.