Royalty rivalry: Saskatchewan courts oil and gas investment in Alberta

If energy companies are skittish about investing in Alberta, they’re welcome to set up shop next door, Saskatchewan’s economy minister said Wednesday.

CALGARY — If energy companies are skittish about investing in Alberta, they’re welcome to set up shop next door, Saskatchewan’s economy minister said Wednesday.

Bill Boyd said he’s been watching the political debate in neighbouring Alberta over the newly elected NDP government’s plans to review oil and gas royalties.

Boyd said he’s been hearing “a fair bit of concern” from companies at the Global Petroleum Show, a massive exhibition in Calgary this week with some 50,000 attendees from around the world.

“During this period of time where there’s some degree of instability, I think they’re a little bit worried as to what may eventually transpire,” he said in an interview.

“A little bit more serious than that, though, is they are certainly pulling back in terms of investment. I don’t think new investment decisions are going to be made until that climate is known.”

Boyd is touting Saskatchewan as a stable and attractive place to invest during his Calgary visit.

“We’ve seen some companies move some of the capital that they were looking to allocate elsewhere to Saskatchewan. So that’s certainly good news for our province,” said Boyd.

“We met with a number of companies over the last little while and more coming up here today that are certainly interested in increasing their investments into our province.”

When Alberta last raised royalty rates following a review in 2007, many companies threatened to move their money elsewhere. But most of the changes were essentially undone a few years later when the Great Recession hit and crude prices cratered.

He said oil- and gas-producing provinces have always had to compete for investment.

“That’s nothing new there at all,” said Boyd.

“We just simply want to promote the things that we think are important to the industry and the industry seems to agree with us on them.”

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