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Is Alberta's energy industry doomed? An interview with Minister Sonya Savage

Last Updated Apr 9, 2021 at 9:42 am MDT

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Between setbacks and forecasts, Alberta’s energy sector seems to be on a rocky path, but the province’s energy minister says otherwise.

“I’m very optimistic for the future of oil and gas, both in the short term and long term.”

In an exclusive interview with 660 NEWS, Energy Minister Sonya Savage said despite some hiccups, the future of Alberta’s energy sector is brighter than some are making it out to be.

“The global demand for energy is growing and there might be more renewables and alternative energies coming into the mix, but for the next few decades at least, the world is going to continue to use oil and gas,” Savage explained.

Regarding a TD Economics report which showed Canada could lose up to 450,000 energy sector jobs over the next thirty years, Savage said it’s “Very much a downtown Toronto Bay Street view of oil and gas and it doesn’t reflect at all what we’re seeing on the ground in Alberta.”

“Every credible forecast for global energy use shows a prominent future for oil and gas,” she added. “If we can be the best at it, if we can produce it with the highest environmental standards, if we can get our emissions down (then) we can be the supplier of choice.”

Despite Keystone XL being nixed by the Biden Administration and countless legal challenges against other pipelines, Savage said that Alberta is in a good place when it comes to pipeline capacity.

She pointed out the progress on Enbridge’s Line Three and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

“We’re seeing progress on pipelines,” Savage said. “The last twelve years of pipelines expects them to be challenged at every possible opportunity. Every possible regulatory legal challenge will be launched, it’s just expected, but right now we’re in a good place for pipeline capacity to move our product.”

The UCP government recently came under fire after its revocation of the 1976 coal policy, which protected the Rockies and Eastern Slopes from open-pit coal mining.

Savage said the government’s intention was not to open those areas to open-pit coal mining, and that’s why they launched a committee to figure out a modern coal policy Albertans would be happy with.

“We heard very strongly from Albertans that they are very concerned with opening up areas of the Eastern Slope to coal surface mining, I would be very concerned, and I share those views and concerns.”

Savage also defended her government’s attack against the Netflix animated film “Bigfoot Family”. She justified the need for Alberta’s energy war room and explained it’s critical to push back against false narratives.

“Not everybody is going to agree with every tactic of the Canadian Energy Sector, and I don’t either, but we have to find a way to counter the misinformation and the targeting of our energy sector, and the false narratives that are created,” Savage explained. “Because when you don’t, you end up with the false narrative labelling oil sands as dirty oil and as tar sands.”