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N.L. says no deal to Husky’s request for a ‘tremendous’ amount of money

Meanwhile, Placentia reeling from uncertainty over West White Rose future

Newfoundland and Labrador’s finance minister says there is no way the government can prop up an oil company threatening to pull the plug on a $2.2-billion project.

Siobhan Coady told reporters Thursday that Husky Energy has come looking for further investment in the West White Rose extension project, but the province is in no financial state to help out.

The province already owns a five per cent stake in the development and Coady said it’s given all it can.

“They’ve come looking for a tremendous investment in that project,” she said. “We just don’t have the financial capacity to be able to give them the large sum of money they’re looking for.”

Husky is also calling on the federal government to lend support. On Wednesday, federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan said he is “at the table with the province right now,” figuring out the next steps.

A senior VP with Husky said the company is asking for a similar arrangement to Ottawa’s deal with the Hibernia project in the 1990s. At that time, the federal government invested $431 million for an 8.5 per cent stake in the operation.

Placentia hanging hopes on future of project
A small town in Newfoundland is facing the reality of an economic collapse if Husky Energy pulls up stakes and shuts down a massive project.

Placentia is home to the Argentia industrial park, which in turn is home to the West White Rose extension project — a $2.2 billion project to build a concrete structure to sit on the ocean floor 350 kilometres offshore.

That’s been on hold since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project was launched into uncertainty on Wednesday when Husky announced it was reviewing all of its operations in Atlantic Canada.

“Is it a ploy? Is it a tactic? Nobody is really sure what’s happening but it’s not very good news,” said Placentia Mayor Bernie Power.

For his town, a Husky exit would mean high-paying jobs lost, a port left without a major project, and dozens of local businesses left with fewer paying customers.

Power said it also casts a shadow over people’s hopes that the pandemic would end and prosperity might continue.

“We were optimistic because Husky was going to start again in 2021. We were optimistic that 2021 was going to have a better start,” he said. “Now 2021 seems like it’s going to be a repeat of 2020.”

New port CEO in unenviable position
Five days into his new job, Scott Penney can barely believe his luck.

He is the new CEO of the Argentia Port Authority and facing the prospect of billions of dollars leaving town and hundreds of jobs drying up for good.

Penney is still processing the news, but has a little optimism.

“It’s a bit of a curveball but I think we’ll be OK,” he said.

Source: CBC | This text was excerpted from the media outlet cited on September 10, 2020 and is provided to Noia members for information purposes only. Any opinion expressed therein is neither attributable to nor endorsed by Noia.