Premier Hancock stated, “We have never been a people who sit back and wait for someone else to solve our problems. We face challenges head on with innovation, with creativity and perhaps a little stubbornness and together we find a way forward.”


( -- June 12, 2014) CalgaryALBERTA -- The 2014 SPE Heavy Oil-Canada Conference in Calgary was a huge success.  Of particular note was the Keynote address by Alberta Premier Dave Hancock. He acknowledged the natural unparalleled beauty of Alberta and how the government is working hard to protect that beauty by responsible energy production.

Many Albertans and the companies who work in the energy sector are pioneers in energy innovations that help them overcome challenges that they face.

Premier Hancock mentioned the 'can do' attitude held by many Albertans. He highlighted one man in particular, Dr. Karl Clark, whose techniques led to the oil sands becoming a successful venture.  

He said, “We have never been a people who sit back and wait for someone else to solve our problems. We face challenges head on with innovation, with creativity and perhaps a little stubbornness and together we find a way forward.”

One of the biggest challenges facing the industry right now is that Alberta is a long way from the big markets. Pipelines are needed such as the Keystone XL and the Northern Gateway project which would give access to larger markets where Alberta could receive global prices. He mentioned Asia as one huge and growing market that could benefit all Canadians.

The premier also spoke of the 'bitumen bubble', saying “that’s the spread between the price we get for our product and world price. We need to get those world prices because we have those world costs on the investment side. Without market access we have the North American discount price and that has a huge impact on revenue for energy companies and the Alberta government which collects energy royalties on behalf of Albertans who own the resource.”

Physical infrastructure such as the pipelines could solve the shipping problem. Currently, rail is being utilized to move oil; the premier sees that as continuing to increase due to world demand for energy.  

Premier Hancock stated that Alberta does not mind the scrutiny of being in the world’s spotlight for environmental impact and energy production. He reminded listeners that Alberta is the first jurisdiction in North America to have a Ministry of the Environment. Alberta has strong environmental regulations and a strong regulatory process to protect the air, land and water in order to offer future generations the same quality of life Albertans experience today.

Premier Hancock challenged, “I dare you to find another jurisdiction in the world that produces oil as environmentally responsible as we do.”

Yet he did not leave it at that. He mentioned that Alberta is adopting new and better technologies and monitoring systems as science develops or improves these areas.

Citing an example of environmental responsibility, the Premier said, “We can demonstrate that our words about being environmentally responsible are backed by our actions, thanks to stringent regulations, legislation and collaboration to the industry. Our greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by 40 million tons.”

He spoke about how nearly 400 million dollars has been paid into a clean energy technology fund. To date, over 230 million of that already invested in nearly 90 clean energy projects.  He told how the province is investing even more in carbon capture and storage to reduce greenhouse gases further.

Speaking about California, where many have a negative attitude towards oil sands development, the premier said, “If people want to come from California and talk about our oil sands they should probably look at the heavy oil production in California and the regulations that are not applied there.”

Premier Hancock spoke of Alberta Innovates, a provincially funded research and innovation system, the sole purpose of which is to build a stronger culture of innovation across the province. not just in oil and gas. but also in other areas to help Alberta compete in the global technology marketplace.

The Premier concluded saying, “Innovation is the key to Alberta’s future in every area of our economy, and our community and its particularly true in the energy sector.”

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