Opposition uncorks royalty rage

Alberta’s Official Opposition says the return on two large pop bottles is more than what oilsands companies are paying in royalties.

Alberta’s Official Opposition says the return on two large pop bottles is more than what oilsands companies are paying in royalties.

The Liberals are pointing at a recent earnings report from a major partner in Syncrude that shows royalties on a barrel of bitumen have dropped to 48 cents from $14.57 a year ago.

Energy Minister Mel Knight says the low royalties reflect the huge drop in oil prices since last summer.

Knight says keeping royalties low when prices fall helps protect oilsands-related jobs and companies will pay much more when prices are higher.

But Liberal energy critic Kevin Taft, who is calling for changes to the new royalty structure, says Albertans deserve a much larger payment even when prices are low.

Premier Ed Stelmach is accusing the Liberals of wanting to shut down the oilsands until prices improve.

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