CALGARY, Alberta, May 15 (UPI) -- The oil and gas industry in Canada said it was ready to work with the incoming provincial government in Alberta to strengthen a sector hurt by low oil prices.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers announced it would form an industry group to work alongside Alberta Premier-elect Rachel Notley to advance their interests in the oil-rich province and all of Canada.
The Canadian National Energy Board said it was monitoring crude oil prices as U.S. oil production gains push markets toward the supply side. Low energy prices means less spending on exploration and production and Kevin Brin, director of the Canadian oil sands division at consultant firm IHS, said in a February interview a potential slowdown in Canada was a reflection of projects yet to be brought on stream.
CAPP said it expects industry spending to drop by more than $20 billion. So far, the group said more than 20,000 people have lost their jobs as a result of the slowdown.
"To grow the oil and gas industry -- creating more jobs and increasing public revenues to improve our quality of life -- we must continue to keep Alberta and all of Canada attractive for oil and gas investment," CAPP President Tim McMillan said in a statement.
Alberta Premier Jim Prentice in March said the provincial government was looking at a $7 billion revenue shortfall for next year. With nearly all of Canada's oil exports focused on an overflowing U.S. market, CAPP said better connectivity to the world was needed for sustainability.
"The best way to protect jobs and investment is through improved market access -- building new pipeline, rail and marine transportation infrastructure -- while maintaining a strong fiscal regime that allows the industry to compete in the global market," he said.
While the Keystone XL pipeline has generated the most media attention, other projects like TransCanada's Energy East project for the eastern market and Northern Gateway, led by pipeline company Enbridge, could expand market access beyond North America.
In terms of Northern Gateway, Notley said in a recent interview with the Calgary Herald backing the project is "not the right decision."