Husky says the $320-million package for the oil and gas industry will do nothing to get the West White Rose project going for the next construction season in 2021.
2,000 jobs are at stake, making it the largest single project for offshore Newfoundland and Labrador. Company VP Jonathan Brown says the company was looking for an equity stake in the project that Husky believes would reap benefits for the province. He says if the ask is too big, then they’re willing to discuss other options.
The province has been clear, indicating we do not have the fiscal capacity to become an equity partner in West White Rose, but federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan says they are talking with Husky.
He told reporters yesterday that he had spoken with Husky’s Rob Peabody, indicating that Ottawa wants to make White Rose, and West White Rose work.
Meanwhile, Newfoundland and Labrador has established an oil and gas recovery task force to decide on how best to spend the money. Premier Andrew Fury says that funding will have no strings attached.
The formal agreement will be signed on Monday, according to the Premier.
Noia and CAPP say Impact of Money Will be Seen in Details
Industry stakeholders are cautiously optimistic, as how the money will be spent has yet to be determined.
CEO of Noia, Charlene Johnson, says she won’t know the difference the money will make until more detail is provided. She says strategic investments must be made in order to stretch the money as far as possible.
Paul Barnes of CAPP echoes that sentiment. He says how the money is used is key to how much the industry will prosper, but he is hopeful good will come out of it.
Political Parties Unimpressed with Announcement
Opposition leader Ches Crosbie, however, was not impressed with yesterday’s announcement. He says because the task force has 90 days to decide how to use the money, it won’t put people to work anytime soon. He says the 20,000 affected families across the province should be angry.
Federal Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole is accusing the Liberals of ‘leaving behind’ workers in yesterday’s announcement.
He says it contained no specifics, timelines, or details on supports that the industry has been asking for. O’Toole says their slow response has already cost too many jobs.
Meanwhile, the NDP member of parliament for St. John’s East says the announcement missed a few key points.
Jack Harris says while the funding is comparable to aid offered in Western Canada earlier this year, it is unclear how it will help affected oil and gas workers in this province.
Harris says he was also shocked to hear the $320-million is not new money, but instead comes from dividends on the federal government’s Hibernia share.
Harris says more could have been done.
Source: VOCM | This text was excerpted from the media outlet cited on September 26, 2020 and is provided to Noia members for information purposes only. Any opinion expressed therein is neither attributable to nor endorsed by Noia.