A speech by Peter Lougheed, former Premier of Alberta at the banquet celebrating the Fifth Anniversary of the founding of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.
Atlantic Canada stands poised on the brink of significant oil and gas-based development – an energy giant in the making. But the industry here is still in its infancy, and the decisions we make today will profoundly shape the industry that will emerge. Resource rich places such as Louisiana, Holland, Mexico and Venezuela show all too eloquently that petroleum wealth is no guarantee of success. Where might we look for guidance on how to make the most of this region’s energy potential?
50 years ago, Alberta was a relatively poor province, dependent on federal support, with no indigenous oil and gas expertise, little infrastructure or workforce skilled in the industry’s needs. Those circumstances are similar to those prevailing in Atlantic Canada today.
In his speech, Mr. Lougheed discusses how Alberta has managed over those 50 years, through trial and error and good management, to create the conditions in which the industry has not only thrived, but taken root. Calgary is now a global centre for O&G expertise, not just a minor regional producer. He gives his account of how Alberta got it right, including his assessment of what was done wrong (and how it was corrected) along the way.
Mr. Lougheed devotes particular attention to the public policy, legal and regulatory framework needed to encourage investment by an industry that faces huge risks and earns its returns over decades producing a commodity whose price is highly volatile. Finally, he speaks to the competitive position of the East Coast oil and gas industry and the steps that might be taken to improve it.
Hon. Peter Lougheed, PC, QC, is a well-known figure to all Canadians. He was Premier of Alberta from 1971 to 1985, when the oil and gas industry underwent unprecedented development and the Heritage Trust Fund was created. He was also Premier during the time of Ottawa’s controversial National Energy Policy and the patriation of the Constitution. He is now Chancellor of Queen’s University and sits on many corporate boards, including three that he chairs. He is Counsel to the Calgary law firm of Bennett Jones.