The federal government’s $1.6-billion lifeline to Alberta’s oil and gas industry is being thrown in the wrong direction and isn’t enough to help struggling companies, say industry insiders after the funding announcement on Tuesday.
“It’s really looking at the wrong problem,” said Tristan Goodman, president of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada, which represents small and mid-sized oil and gas companies.
“The problem actually is the market access issue. The problem isn’t that our industry has problems getting its hands on capital, getting its hands on investment. The issue
Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi was in Edmonton on Tuesday to announce a suite of commercial loans to be made available to companies to develop or buy new technologies, address working capital needs, or explore new markets.
The money is available immediately, but Goodman said companies would have to go through the funding parameters to see if it could be of benefit to them.
“The issue is how this money can be utilized, and it’s a bit unclear if producers can actually use this money or will want to use this money,” he said.
“I think there may be some uptake on this, but my gut is that it’s going to be limited. What the industry is really looking for is not for loans or grants or handouts. It’s looking to do its business in a normal manner and be able to move forward.”
Moving Canadian oil
Goodman said his members would have liked to have seen money put toward the purchase of rail cars to move oil and gas to tidewater.
In an interview with CBC news, Sohi said the federal government won’t decide whether to help Alberta with rail capacity until the end of