Mr. Fraser: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Lack of market access has led to a crisis for our energy industry, and low prices are hurting our provincial revenue. The steps the Premier announced yesterday are necessary, and I want to thank the Premier and all the members of this Assembly for listening to our call for curtailment. It’s a reminder of what we can accomplish when we focus on Alberta first with an Alberta-made solution. To the Premier: how soon will we begin to see the effect of curtailment on resource prices?

The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Energy.

Ms McCuaig-Boyd: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to echo the Premier’s thanks to both the opposition party and the third party for their input on this most important decision. As was mentioned, we’ve been fighting all along for a pipeline, which is going to be the long-term solution. You know, we’re taking steps to upgrade our product, more value-added, in Alberta, which is, again, a long-term solution. In the medium term, as was discussed, it is crude by rail and railcars. Certainly, the moves that we made yesterday are going to help the differential in the short term.

Mr. Fraser: The timeline of when we will see results is important because every day at current prices costs us $80 million. It’s also important because it shows the need to approach problems proactively. Premier, in the March fiscal plan you identified that supply would exceed our oil takeaway capacity in 2018 and that this would have a negative impact on oil prices. To the Premier: if your government knew about this impending crisis, why are we playing catch-up now, and why weren’t plans developed when this first appeared on the horizon?

The Speaker: The hon. minister.

Ms McCuaig-Boyd: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would say that we have been working on a number of solutions. Certainly, the solution that was announced yesterday is not our first go-to. We struck a committee to look at the natural gas sector, crude by rail. We have engaged immensely with industry on all of these. I have to say that yesterday was a very serious move. We didn’t take it lightly, but we are taking it because we know that leadership matters, and we need to fight for Albertans.

The Speaker: Second supplemental.

Mr. Fraser: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A call for curtailment came as a result of consultation that our own caucus undertook with the energy industry. I understand that the opposition party eventually consulted with the industry and came to the same conclusion. In a briefing ministry officials also stated that they’d consulted with industry last summer and that that informed yesterday’s decision to curtail production. Clearly, curtailment was the best short-term solution for dealing with depressed prices. Respectfully, Premier, at $80 million a day, was it worth waiting for Brian Topp to tell you what you and everyone else already knew?

The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Energy.

Ms McCuaig-Boyd: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. When we first engaged in talks with industry about other options, we weren’t at the $80-million-a-day figure. It was much lower. As with anything, there was disparity in what some of the options were, so we struck the committee not that long ago to see if we could bridge some of those opposite sides. Again I want to reiterate that this is a serious decision we took yesterday. It’s not one we would take lightly, and it wasn’t our first go-to to jump into.

 


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