Head of Newfoundland & Labrador Oil & Gas Industries Association demands answers in letter to leaders of five major parties
The biggest oil and gas lobby group in Newfoundland & Labrador has written to the leaders of all Canada’s main political parties ahead of net month’s snap election asking how they will support the offshore sector if they form the next government.
The east Canadian province has been hit hard by Covid-19 and the accelerating energy transition and has had to rely on substantial funding from Ottawa to keep offshore activities going and prevent a haemorrhaging of jobs.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called an election two weeks ago, hoping that voters in the 20 September poll will give his Liberal party a parliamentary majority after two years of being reliant on other parties to pass legislation.
Charlene Johnson, chief executive of the Newfoundland & Labrador Oil & Gas Industries Association (NOIA), said in her missive that while optimism for the future of the offshore industry “remains strong,” the recovery period “may be long and tumultuous and negatively impact hard working Canadians involved in the sector.”
She posed questions on legislation, net zero targets, industry recovery and regulatory issues to the leaders of the Liberal, New Democratic, Conservative, Greens and Quebecois Bloc parties.
Johnson’s initial questions focused on the Atlantic Accord, a foundation document for the Newfoundland & Labrador offshore sector that recognises the province’s right to jointly manage and receive benefits from offshore resources as if they are located onshore and ensures the province is the main beneficiary of offshore activities.
She asked the leaders how they would ensure the principle of joint management and legislative rights are not only upheld but strengthened.
Johnson also questioned if the parties would be willing to support a new process whereby exploration licences are not awarded to the highest bidder, but rather to players making the best local content, diversity and inclusion offers.
Her second batch of questions related to carbon emissions, with both Ottawa and St John’s committed to achieve net zero by 2050.
She asked how the four political parties will support the industry to develop innovative solutions to further lower emissions while ensuring the province’s offshore resources are not stranded.
A third issue on NOIA’s agenda focused on what action a future government will take to attract investment to Canada’s offshore oil and gas sector and revive upstream activities.
Johnson’s letter asked the parties if they would support programmes that encourage investment in the province’s offshore oil and gas sector and what measures they would take to grow Newfoundland & Labrador’s upstream supply chain.
On the issue of making sure the province’s is attractive to oil and gas companies in a time of scarce E&P dollars, she asked how each party would improve a “cumbersome” and “confusing” regulatory (and legislative) regime that is essentially “closed to international investment?”
Johnson closes out her letter by stating: “As we partake in the energy evolution and use the financial resources and skills expertise accumulated from the offshore oil and gas industry to move forward that process, support for the offshore is more critical than ever. The long-term success of Newfoundland & Labrador and… Canada depends upon it.”
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