Premier Rachel Notley has appointed three envoys to major energy companies to try to find a solution to the low price for Alberta oil. The premier announced on November 20th that University of Calgary School of Public Policy executive Robert Skinner, Brian Topp and deputy minister of energy Coleen Volk will be tasked with working with major players in the oil and gas industry to find a solution to a price gap she calls “A real and present danger to the Canadian economy.”
Bonnyville-Cold Lake United Conservative Party MLA Scott Cyr says he sees the move as a sign of a crumbling trust between the NDP cabinet.
“It looks like our premier has lost faith in both her energy minister and her environment and parks minister. That’s the only reasonable explanation I can come up with.”
At press time Western Canadian Select is trading at just over $17 a barrel. American products like West Texas Intermediate and Brent Crude both trade at around $50 and $59 per barrel respectively. Cyr says the current gridlock in getting pipelines approved is a huge player in prices falling so low.
“The fact is, we’re going to continue to see this glut [if new pipelines aren’t approved]. We can’t get our oil out fast enough with rail. The problem with rail is it’s competing with our farmers and ranchers, getting their product out as well.”
Last Thursday Premier Notley pitched the idea of the province buying rail cars to help alleviate shipment of crude across the country.