Saskatchewan Party: Energy industry contributed over $445,000 to party from 2003-06, majority of donors in Alberta; Premier Wall cozying up to CAPP
The energy industry has been good to the Saskatchewan Party. In the four-year period from 2003-2006 the party received over $445,000 in contributions from 114 corporations and organizations. Approximately 76 of those are located in
The figures were drawn from the Saskatchewan Party’s annual registered fiscal period return filed with Elections Saskatchewan and include only those corporations that contributed in excess of $250.00.
The top three contributors are Calgary-based: EnCana Corporation – $65,638.14, Nexen Inc. – $40,722.57 and Enterra Energy Corp. (Enterra Energy Trust) – $26,500.00.
Cameco Corporation, which ranked fourth with $20,524.02, represents the only
The remaining six include:
TransCanada PipeLines Limited,Why does the Saskatchewan Party collect so much money from
, $20,199.43 Calgary, AB
Sherritt International Corporation,
, $15,000.00 Toronto, ON
Upton Resources Inc. (StarPoint Energy Ltd.),
, $12,743.20 Calgary, AB
, $11,103.54 Calgary, AB
Talisman Energy Inc.,
, $11,000.00 Calgary, AB
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP),
, $10,445.12 Calgary, AB
According to Reg Downs, Premier Brad Wall’s chief of staff, it’s “because
“A lot of these companies are run by guys who have left the province,”
“They are interested in having a government interested in growing the economy.”
On June 7, 2004, five B.C. cabinet ministers, along with five mayors and 40 companies from the province’s oil and gas-rich northeast region were in Calgary to drum up business for the B.C. oilpatch service sector with a trade show, luncheon and a series of private meetings.
In B.C. woos Calgary oilpatch: Area hoping to lure business to energy- rich northeast (Calgary Herald, June 7, 2004) Geoffrey Scotton reported that B.C. was working closely with major energy industry lobby groups, including the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC), the Canadian Association of Geophysical Contractors (CAGC), the Small Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (SEPAC) and the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC).
Greg Stringham, vice-president of markets and regulatory affairs at CAPP said the B.C. government has been doing all the right things to cultivate their energy sector through reduced or eliminated taxes, increasing road spending and other measures.
“They have listened very carefully to what we have asked for and we’re satisfied almost everything we’ve said needs to be done to become competitive, they’ve moved ahead on,” said Stringham.
On Sept. 23-24, 2004, just two days after releasing his economic paper The Promise of Saskatchewan in
In Wall defends
The NDP government has made strides in restructuring the royalty structure to encourage investment in the province, said Wall, but the energy sector still has a list of what it believes are barriers to growth in Saskatchewan. Those include the province’s capital tax and body of regulations.
Of course they have a list, don’t they always?
The Calgary Herald editorial board added its two-cents urging Wall to “be brave” in his next platform, ensure a “light regulatory burden, moderate tax levels” and “privatize crown corporations.” [
In his economic paper Wall identified oil, gas and energy production as his number one target sector for growth.
“While the government has made progress in terms of royalty rate restructuring to stimulate activity in the oil and gas sector, other irritants such as red tape, permitting processes, the PST, the corporate tax, income tax and the capital tax are deterrents to further investment.”
Fifth on Wall’s list of targets is mining which he says “is the third largest industry in the province, following oil and natural gas, and agriculture.”
“As in other industries, we need to address barriers to further economic growth. These barriers include the resource surcharge, corporate income taxes and the capital tax. We need to make clear that the role of government is not only to regulate, but to assist companies in navigating the maze of government.”
In the same document Wall unveiled the new economic development agency called
At the Feb. 2005, Saskatchewan Party annual convention in
Delegates also resolved that “a Saskatchewan Party government will set the goal of making Saskatchewan the energy heart of North America within ten years by assessing the potential for further development of power generation from wind, clean coal, natural gas, nuclear, biomass, coal bed methane, ethanol, solar, oil sands, co-generation, hydrogen fuel cell technology and any other power source that may be viable in Saskatchewan for provincial consumption and/or export.”
(The Saskatchewan Party government introduced legislation on Dec. 17, 2007, to establish
Speaking at the annual
“We need to be at the table as perhaps the most resource-rich member of Confederation when B.C. and
“Imagine the power of the new West if it included
At the time Wall’s support for TILMA was absolute and unconditional. He complained bitterly and chastised the NDP government at every turn for not being part of the closed-door discussions with BC-Alberta and for not signing the agreement in April 2006, which occurred without public or legislative debate.
It should be noted that the oil and gas industry support TILMA.
CAPP and several of its member companies participated in the B.C. government’s Gas Exploration and Production Labour Needs Survey in June 2006. Among the 18 companies sent a survey were EnCana Corporation, Nexen Inc., Talisman Energy Inc., Suncor Energy Inc., Devon Canada Corporation, Anadarko Canada Corporation and Husky Energy Inc. All have contributed to the Saskatchewan Party.
The resulting report, Labour Market Needs in
The study drew upon work that was done by the B.C. Oil and Gas Education and Training Consortium which include senior-level representatives from a number of groups including the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, Petroleum Services Association of Canada and the Small Explorers and Producers Association of Canada. (All these organizations were sent
The final report found moderate support for harmonization of regulations and standards, where possible, across jurisdictions and Ministries, oil and gas industry-related policies and programs.
“This issue came up more in the interviews than the industry survey, particularly in the context of labour standards and occupational standards and mobility. Most interviewees lauded the TILMA agreement,” the report notes.
On March 15, 2007, Wall spoke at a $300 a plate Saskatchewan Party fundraising dinner in
In Wall rakes in support at Alta. dinner:
“Raising money for any political party outside of the province is reasonable because, of course,
Alberta Progressive Conservative MLA Dave Rodney urged people attending his own
Wall said there are no links between
The Calgary Lougheed MLA said he and other Albertans support the
On May 9, 2007, the Saskatchewan Party fundraising leader’s dinner in
“It was very positive. This was only the second one we’ve ever done here, whereas we’ve been in
Wall said there should not be concerns about
“We obviously want to welcome
The oil and gas industry will most certainly be looking for a return on its investment. The question is what has Wall promised them?
On September 18, 2007, the Government of Alberta publicly released the final report of an expert panel asked to examine the province’s energy royalty and tax regime.
Entitled Our Fair Share, the 104-page report provides recommendations about how the government can modify the existing provincial royalty structure.
As part of the review, the panel hosted a series of five public meetings across the province and accepted over 300 submissions from
“Albertans do not receive their fair share from energy development. The royalty rates and formulas have not kept pace with changes in the resource base and world energy markets. Albertans own the resource. The onus is on their government to re-balance the royalty and tax systems so that a fair share is collected,” the executive summary states.
“The total government take (
The panel made a number of recommendations including:
– Increase the total government take by 20% (about two billion dollars per year at current price and production levels.)The initial reaction to the report from the usual suspects was one of disappointment.
– No “grandfathering”. All recommended provisions should apply equally to all participants, and at the same time. Grandfathering causes market distortions and inequities among participants, which should be avoided.
– A severance tax, applicable to all oil sands projects, should be introduced.
– That the government of
implement means to gather and assess the workings of all aspects of revenue policy and collection associated with energy resources in the province. This must be done on behalf of the citizens of Alberta , and its findings must be made public and have the highest degree of credibility. It must not be a confidential exercise internal to the government. Alberta
– That a truly independent, un-conflicted, world-renowned and highly experienced advisor be hired to consult widely, consider relevant international practices and then develop a permanent “bitumen valuation methodology” (BVM).
“It’s way bigger than we thought -- it is a wholesale change to the entire royalty system,” said Greg Stringham, vice-president with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
“It’s going to be interesting what the big investors do because capital always goes where the highest return on the money is,” said Heather Douglas, president of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.
Gary Leach, executive director of the Small Explorers and Producers Association of Canada, said the group was still trying to interpret the potential impact on companies, but was concerned about overall increase in royalties.
“This comes at a time I can tell you a majority of companies in the junior sector are reporting losses this year, and thousands of Albertans have lost their jobs in the upstream petroleum industry,” Leach said.
“The notion that this panel should recommend across the board increases in royalties I think flies in the face of some considerable evidence that the conventional sector is struggling.” [‘It’s way bigger than we thought,’ says CAPP; Recommended changes would see province gain an estimated $2B (Calgary Herald, Sept. 19, 2007)]
Jeffrey Simpson, The Globe and Mail’s national affairs columnist, said a “Family Compact” had developed between
“In exchange for campaign contributions and political support from the oil patch, the Conservatives offered the lowest royalty rates, supportive tax policies and enthusiastic rhetorical endorsement.”
“Even if the new proposals were adopted,
“It has bordered on the comical, therefore, to hear the florid rhetoric emanating from some quarters in the oil patch and its tin drummers in the local media. The report’s charts destroy these “arguments,” since the numbers illustrate that
Predictably the oil industry went on the offensive in a big way.
On Sept. 28, 2007, EnCana Corporation, the country’s largest petroleum producer, threatened to cut $1 billion from its 2008 capital investments in
“If the Royalty Panel’s recommendations are adopted in full...We will have no choice but to slow down our Alberta-based activity and move investments to other areas in
The statement went on to say that, “The proposed changes will have immediate and long-term impacts on working Albertans. The magnitude of the expected capital reductions is the tip of the iceberg. In the short term, these changes would mean extensive job losses across the industry. There will be fewer wells drilled, completed, pipelined, operated and serviced. There will be fewer hotel bookings, vehicle purchases, landowner lease payments, restaurant meals and lower property taxes in the areas where EnCana operates, and that is just about every corner of Alberta, from the smallest towns to the biggest cities. More importantly and over the long term, well-paying, permanent jobs will not materialize across
In Stelmach calls for calm amid royalty debate; EnCana makes $1B threat (Calgary Herald, Sept. 29, 2007) Lisa Schmidt reported that EnCana’s announcement was followed shortly by a condemnation of the report by the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors.
“If MLAs in
Calgary Herald city columnist Don Braid laid into the oil giant saying, “The main impression you get, reading the company’s statement, is of a terrific corporate swelled head.”
“EnCana paints an apocalyptic vision of devastation if the royalty report is implemented whole…We can imagine oil and gas executives trudging around in rags, while tumbleweeds roll past idle LRT cars converted to planters,” Braid said.
Braid went on to say that EnCana was “scaremongering” and that the company “would not exist without the
In 2006, Encana made the biggest profit in Canadian corporate history ($6.58 billion).
In the days that followed EnCana would be joined in the fight by CAPP, Crescent Point Energy Trust, Petro-Canada, Talisman Energy Inc. and Nexen Inc.
It was around this time that
Some dismissed this as a bluff, but CAPP didn’t.
“You get into 2008 and that’s where I think it’s likely you will see -- if
“The other thing too is that the other jurisdictions need to be marketing their fiscal regime and their resource opportunities to the companies and I think
Lyle Stewart, the Industry critic for the Saskatchewan Party, said the province should try to make itself even more attractive to the energy industry, pointing out that it has a provincial sales tax and resource royalty surcharge that aren’t in place in
Saskatchewan Party Premier Brad Wall would do just that a few months later in
On Oct. 12, 2007, opposition parties in
According to the Calgary Herald this “came the same day the chairman of the provincial royalty panel reiterated his call for government to accept the entire report, rather than “cherrypick” from it.”
Stelmach reportedly told business leaders on Oct. 11 at a private meeting in
“If you start taking things away, it has an impact on the total government take,” panel chairman Bill Hunter said on Oct. 12, repeating the call for Stelmach to accept his entire Our Fair Share report. “That’s why we told him, even before we released the report, not to cherrypick.”
He warned that if the province allows grandfathering, it creates an uneven playing field between existing and future projects, and would significantly deny Albertans the share they deserve.
Stelmach’s comments clearly indicate he’s “caving” to industry pressure, argued his political opponents.
“The Conservatives have sold us out on this issue,” NDP leader Brian Mason charged.
Mason said the Tory government doesn’t have “sufficient independence” from the oilpatch to do the right thing for all Albertans, noting the provincial Progressive Conservatives collected $580,000 from oil and gas companies in 2005 and 2006. He also assailed Stelmach – who’s repeatedly promised transparency and accountability -- for meeting behind closed doors with industry executives when the public anxiously awaits the government’s decision. [Stelmach bowing to energy industry heat: opposition (Calgary Herald, Oct. 13, 2007)]
On Oct. 25, 2007, Stelmach introduced the province’s new royalty framework. The new structure, which doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2009, is expected to deliver an additional $1.4 billion – 20 per cent more – in royalties in 2010, compared to current projections.
However, the province would collect about $464 million less than what the royalty review panel recommended.
Oilpatch firms declared the government’s framework the death of the winter drilling season, while opposition leaders and environmental groups said Stelmach caved under the relentless pressure from the province’s powerful oil and gas industry.
“There is genuine and very real concern,” said Pierre Alvarez, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
NDP Leader Brian Mason said Stelmach failed to “stand up for Albertans” by not fully adopting the royalty report.
“We think Ed Stelmach blinked,” Mason said.
Officials with the Pembina Institute, an
“It looks like industry has had a strong influence on what the government has come up with,” said Jaisel Vadgama, a policy analyst with the institute. “What the panel put forward is the minimum that Albertans should be accepting.” [Stelmach under fire; Industry and opposition criticize province’s new $1.4B royalty hike (Calgary Herald, Oct. 26, 2007)]
The question in
Just when Alberta seems to be waking to the fact that it’s the people of the province that own the resources and is moving to ensure they are receiving their fair share from energy resource development, Saskatchewan appears determined to move in the other direction and give oil companies whatever they want.
On Nov. 9, 2007, two days after the provincial election, Premier-designate Brad Wall said that the new government is considering a review of oil and gas royalties. But Wall is thinking about lowering, not raising, royalty rates, as his counterpart in
“I guess if the royalty rates in other provinces could be described as six feet tall, we’d like to be about five-foot, eleven (inches),”' Wall told CTV. [Views differ on
In Avoiding a royalty pain (Leader-Post, Nov. 17, 2007) Bruce Johnstone, the Leader-Post’s financial editor, said Wall has stated several times that reviewing oil and gas royalties will be one of the first jobs of
“Let’s make sure our royalties and our regulatory regime make us competitive, not just with conventional oil and gas, but non-conventional oil and gas (in Alberta),” Wall said during the election campaign. “And that’s a review we’d want to conduct immediately through
That’s the message Wall would soon take to
A Jan. 17, 2008, government news release announced that Premier Brad Wall and Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd would be in
“Wall will address a sold-out luncheon meeting of the CFA Society of Calgary (Chartered Financial Analysts) on Monday, January 21 and speak at a
The very next day Wall promptly torpedoed the credibility of his government’s
The Saskatchewan Party government is “simply not interested” in increasing royalties, Wall said. However, the new economic development agency being formed…may want to look at the royalty structures in place, Wall said.
“But the government will be clear that the only changes we will be interested in are those that make us more competitive, not less competitive, so we don’t see them going up,” the premier said. [Royalty hikes off the table: Wall (StarPhoenix, Jan. 18, 2008)]
Wall’s deference to the interests of the oil and gas industry couldn’t have been clearer. In his speech to the Calgary Petroleum Club on Jan. 21 Wall offered more of the same saying:
“The new government in theAs if that weren’t enough the Wall government then gave the Calgary-based oil and gas industry lobby group the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) the final word on the Premier’s two day junket to Alberta in a Jan. 23, 2008, government news release.
provinceof Saskatchewanwill not be increasing royalties in the . provinceof Saskatchewan
We have said that we want a review, and I wish there was another word, but that’s the best one.
We want to review both the royalty and the regulatory structures we have in place, not just by the way in oil and gas, but in regard to potash and other resources that we’re looking at.
’s sector team, which will involve industry by the way, to do this review for the purposes of trying to be more competitive. Enterprise Saskatchewan
We need to move in that other direction and here’s why: we have all this undeveloped potential. We’re behind a little bit, frankly, in developing the hydrocarbon assets of the
and some of the other resource opportunities that exist. provinceof Saskatchewan
So, we’ve got to have a sharper pencil. We’ve got to make sure we are turning around permits. We’ve got to make sure that our regulatory structure is as conducive to non-conventional assets like shale gas and shale oil as it might be to more conventional assets. That will be our focus.
That will be the direction that we give to
.” Enterprise Saskatchewan
CAPP President Pierre Alvarez called meetings with
“We were pleased Premier Wall and Minister Boyd were able to meet with us so early in their new mandate,” Alvarez said. “It’s clear that the Government of Saskatchewan is interested in the long-term growth and stability of the oil and gas industry in the province.”
In other words the oil and gas industry has
The following are those companies within the energy industry that contributed to the Saskatchewan Party from 2003–2006:
936173 Alberta Ltd. (Harvard Oil & Gas Inc.),
A & S Oilfield Operating Ltd.,
Aldon Oils Ltd.,
Allaro Resources Ltd.,
AltaGas Services Ltd. (AltaGas Income Trust),
Anadarko Canada Corporation,
Arsenal Energy Inc.,
Bellport Resources Ltd.,
Bonterra Energy Corp.,
Bulldog Energy Inc.,
Burlington Resources Canada Ltd. (ConocoPhillips),
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers,
Canadian Energy Pipeline Association,
Canadian Green Fuels Inc.,
Caprice Resources Ltd,
Centipede Energy Ltd., , $5,000.00
Centipede Holdings Ltd. (Harvard Energy),
Centipede Resources (Harvard Energy),
Churchill Energy Inc. ,
Cliff Nankivell Trucking Ltd.,
Cogema Resources Inc. (Areva/Cogema Resources),
Connacher Oil and Gas Limited,
Cree-Way Gas Ltd.,
D & G Lemon Fuel Sales, Swift Current, SK, $300.00
Diamond Energy Services Inc., Swift Current, SK, $1,872.86
Diamond Sage Well Services, Swift Current, SK, $1,532.05
Diamond Tree Resources Ltd. (Crocotta Energy Inc.),
D.L.M. Oilfield Supervision Ltd.,
EDCO Oil & Gas Ltd.,
Enbridge Pipelines Inc.,
Ensign Drilling Inc.,
Ensign Resource Service Group Inc. (Ensign Energy Services Inc.),
Entech Industries Ltd.,
Enterra Energy Corp. (Enterra Energy Trust),
Enterra Energy Trust,
Esprit Exploration Ltd. (Pengrowth Energy Trust),
Fillmore Petroleums Ltd. (MBC Ventures Inc.),
FirstEnergy Capital Corp.,
Frank R. Lee Investments Ltd.,
Ganze-Reece Operations Ltd. (Reece Energy Exploration Corp.),
Gasland Properties Ltd.,
Gold River Oil & Gas Ltd,
Greenslade Consulting Group Ltd.,
HTC Purenergy ,
Husky Energy Inc.,
Husky Oil Operations Ltd.,
Imperial Oil Limited,
Industrial Electric (Weyburn) Ltd.,
JED Oil Inc.,
Jerry Mainil Ltd.,
Jolliet Energy Resources Inc.,
Keystone Energy Inc.,
Kiora Resources Inc.,
K-Town Holdings Ltd.,
Laredo Well Services Ltd.,
Lex Minerals Inc.,
Lockwell Servicing Ltd.,
Long View Resources Corp.,
Los Altares Resources Ltd.,
Luscar Ltd., Boundary Dam Mine/Bienfait Mine,
Marjohn Minerals Ltd.,
Midwest General Contractors Ltd. (Midwest Management (1987) Ltd.),
NAL Resources Management Limited (NAL Oil & Gas Trust),
Navigo Energy Inc.,
Nexen Canada Ltd. (Nexen Inc.),
Novitas Energy Ltd.,
Parkland Industries LP (Parkland Income Fund),
Pengrowth Management Ltd. (Pengrowth Energy Trust),
Penn West Petroleum Ltd.,
Petroleum Industry Training Service (Enform),
Pilgrim Energy Inc.,
Prairie Mud & Chemical Services Ltd.,
Precision Drilling Corporation,
Provident Energy Trust,
Ravens Cross Energy Ltd.,
Reba Oil & Gas (
Rockwell Services Partnership,
Sabre Energy Ltd.,
Sherritt International Corporation,
Sierra Energy Inc.,
Silver Bay Resources Ltd.,
Small Explorers and Producers Association of
Spearing Service Ltd. (Mullen Group Income Fund), Oxbow, SK, $3,000.00
Stoney Enterprises Ltd.,
Stream-Flo Industries Ltd.,
Suncor Energy Inc.,
Talisman Energy Inc.,
Tournament Energy Ltd. (Chamaelo Exploration Ltd.),
TransCanada PipeLines Limited,
True Energy Inc.,
United Safety Ltd.,
Upton Resources Inc. (StarPoint Energy Ltd.),
UTS Energy Corporation,
Valleyview Petroleums Ltd.,
Venture Well Servicing Ltd.,
Viking Energy Royalty Trust (Harvest Energy Trust),
Viking Surplus Oilfield Equipment Ltd.,
Watson Land Services Ltd.,
WaveForm Energy Ltd. (Second Wave Petroleum Ltd.),
W D M Resources Ltd.,
Wedona Energy Inc.,
Western Lakota Energy Services Inc.,