Western Canada Energy and Politics Roundup
By Randy Kerr, Executive Vice President HBW Resources Canada
Below is a summary of key industry and political developments in Western Canada that could affect energy development activities. The summary is authored by Randy Kerr, the Executive Vice President of HBW Resources Canada. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Randy at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope this information is useful to you and that you have a great week.
A mixed development in LNG this week with the announcement that Shell Canada was taking a larger stake (up from 40 to 50%). I say it’s mixed because the Asian partners are reducing their stake. Right now, it is unclear whether they are reducing their shares because of a lack of confidence or other reasons. They could be worried about BC’s ability to manage changes to the fiscal package in order to make the projects economic (they are not today) or simply about the environmental and aboriginal concerns.
On the positive side, LNG Canada has announced their customers. This is a first for any of the dozen proposed projects and is thought to be one of the major hurdles to getting construction moving. All of the offtake has been accounted for so this is exciting in itself.
Also, the BC NDP has chosen a new leader. Previous leader Adrian Dix resigned after losing the 2013 election. John Horgan was acclaimed this weekend as no one else stepped forward to challenge him in an election. My impression of John Horgan is that he is a fairly reasonable MLA, he has been receptive towards LNG. But analysts are wary, as he may have a habit of trying to look reasonable while still playing to the anti-development side of the NDP.
Update on the leadership race is that it looks like we will see at least four candidates –
- Ken Hughes is the only candidate that has declared his intention to seek the leadership. Ken was first elected in 2012 and was former Premier Redford’s Energy Minister and Municipal Affairs Minister. He was an MP under PM Mulroney from 1988-93 and started an insurance business and chaired Alberta Health Services as they merged all the regional boards several years ago.
- Jim Prentice has had a spokesman talking to the media about his coming entry into the race. In addition, he told me last week that he was eager to get the Leader’s Dinner over with so that he can “get on with it”. Jim had agreed to chair the dinner last fall prior to the gov’t changes but has been very active in getting sales up for this Thursday’s dinner. Jim, of course, was an MP under PM Stephen Harper and served as Minister of Indian and Northern Development, Industry and Environment. He is the clear front-runner so far, but that has not always been a good thing within the Alberta PC Party.
- It also looks like Ric McIver will join the race. Ric was a Calgary city councilor for several years, lost a race for Mayor in 2010 and became an MLA in 2012. He has served as Infrastructure and Transportation Minister since then.
- Thomas Lukaszuk may be the only northern entry. He is currently the Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour but has also served in a number of different portfolios, including Deputy Premier for Redford. He was first elected in 2001.
Please let me know if you are interested in any more leadership info but I will continue to keep you updated periodically.
This week, Premier David Hancock took the step of apologizing for the mistakes of the Alison Redford era. “We took Albertans and your support for granted and acted in a way that’s contrary to our values,” Hancock said at the party’s annual Edmonton Leader’s dinner.
Saskatchewan has been fairly quiet of late as Premier Wall continues to run a stable regime. This week, he had his annual Leader’s dinner in Saskatoon which was very well attended. The Regina dinner is also an excellent event if you are interested, and takes place at the end of May. Premier Wall is easily the best political speaker in the country right now.
Wall was very vocal after the latest delay in Keystone XL from President Obama stating “Saskatchewan grain, potash, and other commodities suffer every day the Keystone XL pipeline is not being built,” Wall said. “The United States needs to quit wavering and make a decision based on the facts, which support the construction of Keystone. These politically motivated decisions are hurting the Saskatchewan economy, the U.S. economy and our ability to develop new markets and support North America energy sustainability.”
As usual, please let me know of any questions or comments.
Hope you had a good weekend.