Premiers will work to support oil and gas industry

Premier Scott Moe of Saskatchewan hosted newly-elected Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show, with both leaders expressing their strong support for the oil industry.

The Oil Show had around 4,000 people pass through the gates, said Oil Show chair Del Mondor. “This was down slightly from 2017 but still a number that we are very pleased with.Once again the oil show did not disappoint. Weyburn was buzzing with activity. The weather was great. With Premier Moe and Premier Kenney coming it added to just how special this year was.”

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He noted that the two keynote speakers added a lot to the quality of the show this year. “Rex Murphy and Vivian Krause were excellent with their own message of frustration that we all feel,” said Mondor. “Our sponsors and board members all stepped up to provide a great time and helped with making this year very successful.  We hope to see everyone back in 2021.”

The two premiers took part in a question-and-answer period emceed by Mondor, where they talked about the issues facing the industry in their respective provinces.

Premier Moe and Premier Kenney first stepped up to the podium, where they signed the MOU to harmonize the regulations governing the movement of service rigs between the two provinces.

According to a news release, regulatory changes for service rigs will remove unnecessary red tape without compromising safety. Service rigs will continue to follow stringent and appropriate safety standards, including valid permits for transport and operation, as well as established Occupational Health and Safety requirements.Some commercial trucking requirements are not suitable for service rig equipment that spends 95 per cent of its time at a worksite and only five per cent of its time on the road.

Asked what each province can do to respond to the current economic situation for the oil industry, Premier Moe said in his view there are a number of things that can be done, and suggested that Canada has caused some of their own problems with the policies and taxes that are in place.

He pointed out the United States has been doing very well economically with only 3.6 per cent unemployment right now, and far less environmental regulations which hasn’t lessened the amount of oil that they are selling back to Canada.

Moe said it’s important that the province work together with Alberta and with the industry itself to address impediments such as trade restrictions and regulations.

Premier Kenney said his plan is for Alberta to have the lowest corporate taxes in Canada by 2022, “unless Saskatchewan tries to catch up with us.”

Their plans include reducing red tape in government to make for a friendlier business environment, he added.

“A lot of producers are struggling in rural and urban Alberta,” said Premier Kenney.

Mondor asked the premiers what they think will happen with the upcoming decision on the TransMountain Pipeline decision by the federal government.

“I would expect nothing short of approval,” said Premier Moe. “Although there won’t be Saskatchewan energy, it’s good for the health and wealth of the industry. It’s important that happens, not just for the energy industry, but for our product to move back and forth.”

“I’m fully confident too it will be approved,” said Premier Kenney, pointing out that for too long the oil industry in Alberta and Saskatchewan have been landlocked, and there is evidence that this is due to a concerted effort by certain U.S.-based interests. He referred to information that keynote speaker Vivian Krause later expanded on in her presentation the same day to the Oil Show.