April 23, 2018

Government Introduces Bill to Safeguard Saskatchewan's Energy Interests

Today, Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre introduced Bill 126, The Energy Export Act, for first reading in the Saskatchewan Legislature.

The bill responds to the inaction by the federal government to assert its jurisdictional authority to ensure the Trans Mountain Expansion Project proceeds.  The bill will create the legislative framework necessary to optimize the value of Saskatchewan’s oil, gas, and refined petroleum products.  It establishes a permitting process for individuals or corporations seeking to export such products outside the province.

The new legislation will provide a means to advance Saskatchewan’s key economic interests, including jobs, investment, industry revenue and activity in the energy sector.  It is similar in intent to legislation recently introduced by the Government of Alberta.

“Our government will always stand up for Saskatchewan and defend the people and businesses that rely on our oil and gas industry,” Eyre said.  “Increasing pipeline access to tidewater would inject billions of dollars into Canada’s economy.  We are in this gridlock today because, in the 18 months since the federal government approved the Trans Mountain pipeline, it has failed to ensure that construction could proceed.  The federal government must ensure its constitutional authority is respected and that the Trans Mountain pipeline gets built.”

Eyre said the government considers Bill 126 a last resort that will be used only if the Trans Mountain pipeline continues to be stalled by provincial obstruction and federal inaction and if the Alberta government acts upon its similar legislation.

“The expansion of our national pipeline capacity is vital to the future of our energy sector and to thousands of Canadian jobs.  It must not be obstructed, either by a lack of federal leadership or by a provincial government that does not have the legal authority to impede a federally-approved project,” Eyre said.

Access to overseas markets is critical to getting the world price for Canadian crude oil - and to ending the current supply-demand imbalance that leads to significant discounting of Canadian crude oil in oversupplied North American markets.  Lack of access to tidewater costs Saskatchewan oil producers an estimated $2.6 billion and cost the province an estimated $210 million in taxes, royalties and other revenue last year.

Pipelines are acknowledged as the most efficient and the safest method of transporting large volumes of crude oil.  The Government of Saskatchewan is confident that federally-approved and properly-regulated pipelines can be constructed and operated in a manner that protects both the environment and public health and safety.

Saskatchewan is the second-largest oil producer in Canada.  The oil and gas industry accounts for approximately 15 per cent of the province’s gross domestic product, with a combined value of production estimated at $9.2 billion in 2017.

According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the oil and gas industry supports 500,000 jobs across Canada.