Mario Lévesque

‘Quebec is open for business’

Mario Lévesque has one word for oil and gas companies looking for new development opportunities. Quebec.

Mario Lévesque has one word for oil and gas companies looking for new development opportunities.


The president of the Oil and Gas Services Association of Quebec thinks there’s a promising future for hydrocarbon production in his province, and he’s urging energy companies in Alberta to take advantage.

“There are two messages: Quebec is open for business, and I want a channel of communication and I want people from Alberta to see us as a partner.”

Lévesque and about a dozen business leaders and municipal officials from Quebec are in Alberta to learn about the industry. On Tuesday, they spent time at Canyon Technical Services’ field office in Burnt Lake Business Park.

Françoise Bertrand, president and CEO of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Quebec, is part of the delegation.

“She’s probably the most powerful and influential woman in Quebec,” said Lévesque. “Françoise can call the prime minister — she’s that kind of person.”

Lévesque said Bertrand and many others in Quebec want to see a strong oil and gas industry in their province.

“We need to develop our natural resources because Quebec is in a bad situation regarding debt,” he said. “There are a bunch of people in Quebec, me included, who are not proud to receive transfer payments.”

Lévesque is encouraged by his province’s new Liberal government, which announced two months ago that it would conduct environmental studies as a first step toward tapping into Quebec’s oil and gas reserves. There are also plans to drill a number of stratigraphic wells on Anticosti Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to obtain core samples.

“Actually, there are three wells planned to be fracked next spring on Anticosti Island,” said Lévesque.

In 2011, Quebec’s then Parti Québécois government imposed a moratorium on fracking in the province, pending environmental studies.

“For investors, it was kind of harsh,” said Lévesque of the impact on energy companies.

He noted that a recent survey by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Quebec found that 72 per of Quebecers support oil development. But it has to be done safely, he added, and that’s where Alberta can provide guidance.

An oilpatch veteran himself, Lévesque considers Alberta’s regulation of its oil and gas industry to be among the best in the world. His current delegation is gaining insights into that regulatory regime.

“We need to have good regulation in Quebec too.”

The group is also gaining insights into the energy sector that should help them speak out about oil and gas development in their home province, said Lévesque.

“Those people believe in the development and want to become advocates for us in Quebec.”

That support is important, he said, because others — including members of the Quebec media — are vocally opposed to hydrocarbon development.

“You just need one person in the media who is against something to influence a lot of people and make them believe that it’s bigger than it is really.”

The benefits of a thriving oil and gas industry to Quebec would be huge, said Lévesque. He estimates 25,000 to 30,000 jobs in short term, plus the resulting royalties.

Lévesque said a number of energy companies have remained in Quebec, but he hopes to see more.

“Now is the time to look at Quebec again as a place to do business.”

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Aaron Goodvin sings at Westerner Days

Aaron Goodvin performed at Westerner Days Wednesday.… Continue reading

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Central Alberta

There’s a severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Red Deer and the… Continue reading

WATCH: Sun shines on Red Deer’s Westerner Days parade

George Young has been a Westerner Days parade marshal for about 28… Continue reading

Central Alberta receives funding for regional emergency training

Alberta Municipal Affairs announces $160,000 for training on top of $40,000 previously received

WATCH: Global FMX at Westerner Days

There are three freestyle motocross shows a day at Westerner Park this week

Study links air pollution to drop in national park visitors

DENVER — Visitors appear to be steering clear of some U.S. national… Continue reading

Banff’s bathroom bears returned to the park after 15 months of rehab in Ontari

Three cubs found abandoned in a washroom along the Trans-Canada Highway in… Continue reading

Canada could get caught in cross-fire of U.S. uranium investigation

Canada could get caught in the crossfire after the U.S. Department of… Continue reading

Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has unveiled his pre-election cabinet, shuffling… Continue reading

Canada’s premiers meet Indigenous groups, although three major groups decline

BOUCTOUCHE, N.B. — Canada’s premiers are meeting with Indigenous organizations in New… Continue reading

An updated list of federal cabinet ministers following Wednesday’s shuffle

OTTAWA — An updated list of federal cabinet ministers following Wednesday’s shuffle,… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month