Over the past few months, PSAC has been meeting with and has had several discussions with the federal and provincial governments about a well decommissioning proposal to put oil and gas services companies and their employees back to work in Alberta. We believe the proposal is a win-win-win for everyone involved — workers, the environment and the government — and it has been well received by both the provincial and federal governments.
While we cannot guarantee anything, we are hopeful the $500 million in infrastructure funding we are asking for will be provided by one or both levels of government so our member companies and their employees can benefit from having some ongoing work during this tough economic downturn. We will be watching the news carefully today to see what the Government of Alberta’s budget announcement contains.
While many of you are aware that we put first put the proposal forward in February, we have changed our thinking somewhat as our discussions with industry and government partners progressed. The new, improved version of the proposal — “Well Decommissioning Infrastructure Proposal to Stimulate Employment in the Oil and Gas Services Sector and Increase Environmental Performance” —was resubmitted to the Government of Alberta in early April.
The new proposal includes recommendations for decommissioning and reclamation work around:
Our budget submission urged immediate action on PSAC’s well decommissioning proposal because as you know, we are losing tens of thousands of workers from the oil and gas services sector and along with them, the intellectual capital and expertise we need when the economy turns around. We also explained to the provincial and federal governments that after almost two years of depressed commodity prices, the very survival of oil and gas services companies in Alberta is at stake.
The oil and gas services sector provides jobs, pays millions of dollars in taxes, and exports innovative products and services. These companies will be essential to ensure recovery when commodity prices improve. What the provincial and federal governments have to realize is that there is no economic diversification strategy that can replace what the oil and gas sector brings to Canada today in terms of thousands of well-paying jobs, healthy businesses, billions of dollars in taxes and spin-off economic benefits to businesses and charities in rural economies. Helping to put the oil and gas services sector back to work today will bring all of these benefits and help to build an economic base from which to transition to a future with cleaner development of our natural resources.