Canadian Energy Weekly Round-Up: April 13, 2020

Here are the top news stories covering Canada’s energy landscape:

An Open Letter to Canada from Energy Workers

Workers from 14 of Canada’s largest energy companies published an open letter to all Canadians seeking their support while the industry tackles challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as international production disagreements with OPEC+. Canada’s oil and natural gas sector, specifically in the drilling and well-servicing sector, employs some of the country’s most rural communities:

“Since 2014, well over 200,000 hard-working men and women have lost good jobs. In the drilling and well-servicing sector, we have lost 22 companies and nearly 600 rigs. These companies are the backbone of many Canadian rural communities. Each of their rigs provides direct and indirect employment for 175 people. The numbers are staggering and the impact is deep.”

The oil and natural gas sector is asking Canadians to support a proposal for payroll relief plan by the federal government and for the government to purchase accounts receivable; the aid will give the industry a chance to recover while it waits for major projects to be completed, such as the Keystone XL and Trans Mountain pipelines.

“Oil and gas is still Canada’s largest export. It creates jobs and prosperity for all Canadians. The oil and gas industry has created hundreds of billions of dollars in revenues for Ottawa and the rest of Canada. Now, we’re asking for a very small amount back.”

Supporting Canadian energy is a vital component to supporting the rest of the Canadian economy. Temporary relief to the industry has the potential to save thousands of jobs in rural communities across Canada.

President of the Montreal Economic Institute: Canadian Energy Is Essential to the Economy

Following a similar gesture from industry, President and CEO Of the Montreal Economic Institute Michel Kelley-Gagnon sent a to Canada’s Minister of Finance Bill Morneau asking for the federal government to support financial aid to the oil and natural gas sector. In his letter, Kelley-Gagnon cites the industry’s underpinning role in supporting the Canadian economy, stating that without the industry’s presence in rural areas, Aboriginal communities will be disproportionately affected:

“As you also know, oil and gas jobs are concentrated in the regions, and indeed increasingly benefit Aboriginal people living in Canada. For example, the average annual remuneration in 2016 for an Aboriginal worker was $51,500, but was $150,000 for an Aboriginal worker in oil and gas development, and around $200,000 a year for those with a job in the pipeline sector!”

In addition to supporting Canada’s First Nations, Kelley-Gagnon is asking for the government to rollback carbon taxes that are straining the industry of more capital:

“It is crucial to roll back the carbon tax increase and postpone it until a later date, as it makes the sector even less competitive. We must not add yet another problem to this perfect storm.”

Supporting the temporary cutback in taxes and financial aid for the industry will help keep Canada’s indigenous communities from losing well-paying jobs. These measures, if passed, could help protect rural Canadians from economic upset.

Canadian Economist: Single-use Plastics Are Crucial for Public Hygiene

Stemming from a surge in demand for personal hygiene and public safety, plastic-based packaging is playing a crucial role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic Canadian economist Ross McKitrick writes. While attempts to ban single-use plastic continue to underpin the plans of various provincial policy makers, products made from oil and natural gas feedstock are being used for protection by front-line healthcare workers.

“In an age when few people had ever been affected by a pandemic, such considerations [hygiene] receded in importance. Meanwhile stories of garbage filling the oceans led to fears that we are wrecking the planet with our throwaway plastic waste.”

Almost a quarter of Canadian oil goes towards making petro-chemical feedstock. Products made in-part by oil and natural gas, such as Personal Protection Equipment used by medical professionals, ensure a safe working environment and help flatten the curve of COVID-19 contraction.

“Meanwhile, for those who have lamented our use of plastic packaging over the years, it’s understandable, especially since the marketers sometimes make excessive use of the stuff. But the coronavirus shows that public hygiene was, and remains, an important priority, and we downplay it at our peril.”

While it is understood how these products play an essential role in saving Canadian lives and combating the COVID-19 pandemic, it should not be forgotten that these products in-part require feedstock from petrochemicals to help develop them.

For more Canadian energy news and setting the record straight on the day’s top stories about the oil and natural gas industry, visit Canadian Energy Network.

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