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‘Boom time’: Premier Kenney high on Alberta’s future

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said with potential projects that could come online it will be ‘boom time’ in Alberta within a couple of years.

Premier Kenney made the comments after speaking to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce Wednesday at the Westin Hotel.

“One of the coolest parts of my job is I get a direct window into a lot of the things that are, projects that are coming here but are not yet announced,” Premier Kenney told reporters.

“And they won’t all get done. But if even a third of the projects that we’re working on right now happen, it’s going to be a boom time in Alberta in the next couple of years.”

The Premier mentioned that eventually, the global economy will fully recover from the COVID hit. He said all of the projections he’s seen show commodity prices will be strong in the foreseeable future. That’s due to the lack of investment in exploration and production.

Both Calgary and Edmonton have declared climate emergencies. They’re looking at ways to wean themselves off a reliance on fossil fuels. Calgary’s declaration was made in November.

“I know when we talk about diversification and energy transition some people imagine that means we’re going to replace oil and gas sometime in the foreseeable future,” the Premier said.

“That’s not going to happen.”

Oil still King

While there’s been a big boost in Alberta’s film and TV economy, Premier Kenney said it’s a drop in the bucket compared to energy.

“We sell about… $100 billion of Alberta oil every year. Film and television, it’s great. That’s growing massively, but it’ll be a billion-dollar industry. So, 1 per cent of the value of the energy – just the oil that we sell, not including the gas.”

The premier also said that while Alberta is leading Canada with new renewable energy projects, nobody is buying our electricity.

“I think we need to realize that diversification and the transition to lower-emitting technologies, critically important. We’re putting the pedal to the metal on that. But we still need the industry that represents one in five jobs in Alberta,” he said.

Calgary Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, Deborah Yedlin said that the Premier talked about the generational opportunity for Alberta’s energy sector.  He talked about the hydrogen economy and carbon capture and storage.

“We are so well positioned on so many levels to realize the potential of that,” she said.

“So, I think there are a lot of things that he articulated, that I was pleased to hear about in terms of attracting talent here, and jobs.”

Yedlin said other sectors are growing – particularly tech; fintech, agritech, and cleantech. Alberta just needs the workforce to meet the growing demand for talent.

“We need to make sure that we don’t leave anybody behind and have the educational infrastructure in place to keep people engaged in the energy sector and to deal with this labour shortage,” she said.