Was the premier’s UAE trip worthwhile?

I hope that Premier Ed Stelmach’s participation in the World Energy Future Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) will benefit Albertans.

Dear editor;

I hope that Premier Ed Stelmach’s participation in the World Energy Future Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) will benefit Albertans. When he met with the UAE energy minister, hopefully he learned how the UAE has managed to keep a much larger portion of its oil and gas wealth than has Alberta. After meeting with representatives of the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, he should now realize the advantage of having a state-owned company involved in all major oil and gas exploration and production projects. He can now pass-on this wisdom to his newly appointed Energy Minister working on the competitiveness review.

Before sitting in the Petroleum Club with the executives of the oil and gas industry, energy minister Ron Liepert should meet with his counterparts in BC and Saskatchewan, explaining and negotiating as follows.

The oil and gas companies are using the lower royalties in their provinces to blackmail Alberta to lower its royalty rates. Alberta is seeking to level the playing field between Alberta and its adjacent provinces. This could be done by Alberta lowering its royalty rates to those of BC and Saskatchewan or lower. Or BC and Saskatchewan could increase their rates to match Alberta’s. Both cases would result in a shift of some drilling activity from BC and Saskatchewan to Alberta. In the first case, Albertans would lose and the oil and gas companies would gain. In the second case, the citizens of all three provinces would win.

Len Skowronski

Calgary