The oft-debated Alberta government oil policy released Thursday echoes promises Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made to the province during a visit to Calgary last year to discuss their economic relationship.
In a four-year plan, the policy is divided into four segments called Green Card, Liquid Strip, Thunderbird and Triple T, according to the Canadian Press. The broader plan considers the province’s oil sector more productive.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said in a conference call with reporters Friday that her government is optimistic for the coming year and says the policies announced aren’t about downplaying expectations for oil recovery or the potential limits the Canadian oil industry could face in the near future.
The policy is mostly focused on lowering costs for oil companies by offering a discounted royalty on North American bitumen that would be offset by a higher price. The hybrid system is unique to Alberta and the projected net value of bitumen was not available.
This sort of blend “can happen here with the political will to see it through,” said Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips. “And that’s the purpose of this program. To make sure that that oil in the ground is truly recoverable and sustainable.”
The government estimates the oil strategy could increase oil recovery by a 10% to 15% depending on who uses it, either in carbon capture and storage or natural gas.
Trudeau pledged he would remove barriers to oil recovery when he visited Calgary.
“I understand why some of you are getting frustrated, people getting fed up that the federal government doesn’t seem to be listening. No longer will we settle for a one-size-fits-all approach to climate action,” Trudeau said to hundreds of members of the business community in Calgary last October.
The Prime Minister didn’t outline plans to lower the cost of bitumen. His energy minister, Peter Kent, stressed the tactic is similar to coal.
“Nobody is going to raise the price of bitumen to other Canadian gas or electricity prices,” Kent said.