CALGARY — A study from a University of Alberta think-tank suggests the province should start back-tracking on cuts it has made to energy royalties.
The Parkland Institute says despite the recession, the oil and gas industry is making record profits and Albertans aren’t getting their fair share.
Spokesman Regan Boychuk says the provincial government’s failure to even meet its own minimum royalty targets has cost Albertans billions of dollars.
Boychuk estimates that in the last two years alone, the royalty cuts have cost the government $24 billion, almost three times the province’s consecutive budget deficits.
He says the government should have stuck to the royalty structure recommended by a review panel in 2007, and should not have listened to threats from companies that they would take their business elsewhere.
Energy Minister Ron Liepert says he disagrees with the study, saying the industry and investors want stability and predictability.
The oil and gas industry say the province’s cuts in the royalty take have made a difference since 2009.
Travis Davies with Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says the numbers speak for themselves — the number of wells in the province has risen from 95 to 250.
“That money was going elsewhere and Alberta is still challenged with its competitiveness,” he says.