Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says the decision to back the Keystone XL pipeline shouldn’t be seen as a subsidy and all new pipelines are needed to meet growing oil and gas production.
“We are ourselves a shipper at the end of the day,” Notley said Thursday. “It’s not that, and again as I’ve said, we’ve got these three pipelines and we as a government are looking at the best way to work with each proponent to support them as effectively as we can.
On Wednesday, TransCanada confirmed it had commercial support for the pipeline, securing 500,000 barrels a day from producers for 20 years.
50,000 of those will come from the provincial government’s Crown corporation.
In response, competitor Enbridge told the Globe and Mail that TransCanada had previously announced it had enough commercial support months ago, so a taxpayer subsidy isn’t necessary.
Notley said they’ve been working closely with Enbridge – whose Line 3 pipeline began construction last summer – along with Kinder Morgan on the Trans Mountain pipeline.
But the Keystone support is a change from the NDP’s previous position, as it said during the 2015 election to focus on other projects since it didn’t appear it would get approval at the time by the United States.
When asked why she changed her mind, Notley said production is up and capacity is down.
“We do have a market in the States and if we can put that product on pipeline as opposed to on rail, that means more returns for Albertans,” she said. “The projected oil and gas production are going to require Kinder, they’re going to require Line 3, they’re going to require Keystone.”
As for the overall growth of the economy, Notley responded to Statistics Canada data that cited EI increases in November, specifically by a big jump of in Edmonton.
“We know that employment lags behind to some degree business, GDP growth and those kinds of things,” she said. “That being said, what we have seen is the province has created about 70,000 jobs in the last year, we are at the highest employment rate that we have been at since 2014.
“The indicators overall is that we are making progress on jobs, we’re about halfway there, we’ve got more to do.”