While Canada’s oil industry is preparing for conflict with a new government in British Columbia that has said it will use “every tool available” to stop construction of the federally-approved Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion across its borders, natural gas producers in the province are confident that their operations will remain business as usual.
BC NDP leader John Horgan inched Christy Clark’s Liberals out of power following the May provincial election by forming a coalition with Green Party leader Andrew Weaver.
Horgan’s platform said that LNG is a significant opportunity for BC but criticized Clark’s “broken LNG promises.”
“As it stands right now in B.C., nothing’s changed, so we’ve had no change to our spending plans,” Mike Rose, CEO of Tourmaline Oil Corp., told this week’s TD Securities Calgary Energy Conference.
Tourmaline currently produces up to 55,000 boe/d from the B.C. side of the Montney play, and has a gas plant expansion underway to increase that to 65,000 boe/d.
“The research we’ve done on the current NDP leader in B.C. is that he is definitely pro-jobs and definitely pro-LNG from everything we’ve heard. Whether that changes because of the Green element in his coalition, we don’t know right now but we think it’s very unlikely.”
Rose added, however, that the B.C. Montney is one of its three core areas and the company is ready to “move capital around” if it needs to. Tourmaline is planning to spend $1.35 billion this year on oil and gas development across northern B.C. and Alberta.
A key difference between industry’s relationships with politicians in B.C. compared to in Alberta is that companies have been working for years on engaging with the different political parties, ARC Resources CEO Myron Stadnyk told the TD conference.
“Mr. Horgan who will be premier in a month, for example, was touring our fields four years ago during the last election,” Stadnyk said, adding that the BC NDP party has connections to oil and gas development, having had a hand in forming the BC Oil and Gas Commission and bringing in the province’s oil royalty system in 1999/2000.
“Mr. Horgan understands our industry…A few days ago Fort St. John radio interviewed [him], and he had very positive comments about our industry and supporting the Peace River district where we are a big employer. We look forward to continuing to invest in both Alberta and BC.”
ARC has a $665 million capital program planned for 2017 that focuses on its Montney assets, the majority of which are in Northeast B.C.