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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Stelmach and Emerson Both Speaking at Oilsands National Buyer/Seller Forum

There is an amazing amount of activity in and around the oilsands these days. Deferred projects are back on the front burners, mergers are happening and foreign investment is looking aggressively for places to play. The impact of the oil sands development in Alberta, across the country and throughout North America and now infiltrating into Asia has been the focus of many project conversations and contract negotiations for at least a decade.


The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association have been sponsoring the National Buyers and Sellers Forum for a decade now too. It brings people into Edmonton from all over the world to look at how they can participate in the opportunities inherent in Alberta‘s oil sand development. To underscore the importance of future oilsands development Premier Stelmach and The Honourable David Emerson, Chair of the Premier’s Council for Economic Strategy are both speaking at a National Buyers and Sellers Forum dinner on March 23 in Edmonton.

The theme for this year’s NBSF is aptly entitled “The Maturing of the Oil Sands.” I like the theme because it has a few nuances around the concept of maturity. There is enough longitudinal experience with the oilsands, as well as recognition that it is more than economics but also an environmental and a social concern.

Consistent with the theme, Premier Stelmach will be speaking on his government’s priorities with particular attention to the new Competitiveness Act. David Emerson will be making the first public presentation on the progress of the Premier’s Council for Economic Strategy as it delves into the unique challenges and opportunities for the future wellbeing and prosperity of Alberta.

There is an estimated $1Trillion of economic value to be created by oil sands development in the next decade. Environmental responsibility and energy efficiency are rapidly emerging part of the corporate culture and consciousness in oil sands development. The recoverable oilsands, using current technology, and at current commodity prices is a $25Trillion asset.

This oilsands asset is owned by each and every Albertan and we each individually have a $4.5million stake in the potential of that resource. This is not just a get rich quick opportunity. But it is an enormous opportunity for individual Albertans to realize the benefits and burdens we have carry to ensure we can be proud and profit from its proper exploitation.

As the owner of the oilsands, every Albertan needs to become more aware, informed and engaged in the public policy discussions on it responsible and sustainable effective development. I am a big fan of oilsands development but see it as an integrated social, ecological, economic and political set of issues and opportunities. Government is our agent and proxy holder and it supposed to serve our best interests. Industry is our tenant and contracted to develop the resource for the benefit of investors, markets and the greater good. That will only happen if citizens are duly diligent, engaged and informed enough to insist that these goals are all served.

I will be doing a future blog post on the Premier’s remarks and Chairman Emerson’s comment too at the dinner to try and add to the light and reduce some of the heat around oilsands development. I hope this will help Albertans get tuned in, stay tuned in and make sure that government and industry are in tune with the hopes and aspirations of Albertans around proper development of our oilsands.

BTW if you are interested attending in the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association NBSF, you can register here.