Experts already predict the worst winter drilling season in many years
Experts are already predicting the worst winter drilling season in many years
Premier Ed must stand tall
By NEIL WAUGH
Now, more than, ever it's time for Ed Stelmach to stand tall and be firm - even though, in the early days of his premiership, he was portrayed as a procrastinator.
As a result, his political honeymoon was cut short.
Certainly the report by Stelmach's royalty review panel - that was provocatively named "Our Fair Share" - has touched off a firestorm of protest from the usual suspects.
Those are Calgary's multi-million-bucks-a-year oil company execs who are seeing their sweetheart relationship with the Alberta Tories headed for the divorce courts.
And they will soon have to start paying more.
As the royalty report stresses: "Albertans own the resource and the onus is on government to re-balance the royalty."
Albertans don't threaten
Some $2 billion more a year is the panel's recommendation that should be followed to the very letter.
One fellow who clearly doesn't want to pay his fair share is EnCana president and CEO Randy Eresman.
This past week he threatened to take his ball and bat and more out of Alberta to the tune of $1 billion a year if Stelmach doesn't back off.
At the same time he proclaimed: "We are Albertans and we care about the people of Alberta."
Well Albertans don't threaten to run away to Colorado and Wyoming or ship raw bitumen and good jobs down the pipeline to Borger, Texas, as EnCana is doing from its plants in the Athabasca tarsands. And Eresman has clearly forgotten that the integral part of his company was a creation of the Alberta government.
That's when former premier Peter Lougheed crammed some large silver spoons into the mouth of the Alberta Energy Company, then sent it on its way.
It was predictable from the minute the royalty review was made public that Mirage Resources would cancel the Phantom Project.
And this is exactly what Eresman did with his bluster.
EnCana isn't going anywhere. And the alleged billion-dollar pullback was clearly already in the works for reasons that have very little to do with the royalty review.
EnCana is a gas company.
The bloom has gone off the natural gas rose.
Experts are already predicting the worst winter drilling season in many years as companies shrink their exploration and development because of rock bottom gas prices.
Eresman is just trying to turn his own bottom line problems into a political stunt.
Stelmach was probably right not to take Eresman's bait.
His reasoned response was to "calm down and take a good breath."
But for a large number of Albertans the genie is already out of the bottle.
They now expect the Alberta Tories to act decisively by significantly increasing our fair share of the province's oil, gas and, especially, oilsands resources.
Ed Stelmach must stand tall, or suffer the political consequences
Does that mean when oil and gas prices head lower, the royalty rate will be decreased also? Let me answer that. NOT LIKELY. I am in the camp with the ECA CEO. This is nothing but another power grab by greedy local pols trying to cater to the people of Alberta's "wishes". The energy companies are already shelling out close to .50 cents on each dollar earned to taxes and royalties. Talk about killing the golden goose. That is exactly what Stelmach and his cronies are setting up Alberta for. I hope all of the oil and gas companies pull out. And fire all those damn politicians as well.