While stakeholders in the province’s oil and gas industry wait with bated breath to see what comes of some key pieces of federal legislation with potentially dire ramifications for Newfoundland and Labrador, a pair of industry associations are going on the offensive.
On the heels of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) launching its Keep NL Competitive campaign earlier this week, Noia used its 34th annual conference to launch Imagine the Potential, its own campaign.
“The fact that they're doing one at the same time we're doing one, that's indicative of the need to have these types of campaigns so that our decision-makers will listen,” says Noia CEO and president Charlene Johnson.
Adds CAPP Atlantic region manager Paul Barnes, “The more people talk about our industry and the challenges, and talk about the future here, the better, and hopefully outside the province, especially the federal government, will get that message.”
While both campaigns address concerns about the federal government’s proposed Impact Assessment Agency Act — designed to replace the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act — and the uncertainty about how it could affect the industry, they go about it in different ways.
Imagine the Potential is an awareness and education campaign to help the public and decision-makers understand the value of the province’s offshore oil and gas industry. It was inspired in no small part by J.D. Irving Ltd.’s Ships Start Here push, a response to the federal government’s shipbuilding procurement strategy in 2011.
That campaign not only demonstrated how Halifax and Nova Scotia would benefit from the company winning a contract, but how it benefits Canada as a whole.
With assistance — both in kind and financial — from Irving co-CEO Jim Irving and Atlantic Towing, Noia contracted Jupia Consultants’ David Campbell, former chief economist for the province of New Brunswick, to run a study based on the provincial government’s ambitious Advance 2030 plan to increase daily production to 650,000 barrels of oil per day.
Assuming that level of production is reached and using conservative oil price forecasts from the International Energy Agency, in 2033 there would be 56,000 full-time equivalent jobs, $4.6 billion in labour income, $3.5 billion worth of consumer spending, and $6.6 billion in royalties and taxes.
Those are just the numbers for one year in this province.
For Canada, every direct job in this province would result in 2.3 elsewhere in Canada, $1.6 billion in labour income, another $3.5 billion in tax revenues and $1.2 billion in consumer spending.
“When you're making these decisions, when you're slowing down industry, when you're showing that we're not really open for business — the sense that some investors get — just remember what the impact is financially in terms of jobs and royalties and taxes, not just to the people here, but to people all across Canada,” Johnson says.
Those numbers are just the tip of the head of the well, with Johnson promising more to come as they work to finalize the report, which will also serve as Noia’s submission on impact assessments.
CAPP’s effort is geared less toward the public and more toward governments, regulators, the industry’s supply and service community, and the broader business community, and addresses how the proposed legislative changes could hinder the global competitiveness of the offshore industry in this province.
“There are investors, especially those that are interested in the upcoming land sale, that are saying, 'Well, we don't how long it's going to take to get a project approved in Canada anymore. What carbon price may we be facing? What other costs or regulatory rules may we face? Maybe there's restrictions in the marine protected area?’
“All that is causing a lot of pause at the moment, a lot of concern over the uncertainty of it all for our members or our industry generally.”
It doesn’t help that things south of the border are becoming increasingly attractive. Capital spending in the United States increased 38 per cent in 2017, while investment in Canada’s oil and gas sector has declined 56 per cent over the last three years.
Stakeholders are hoping for concrete details on the federal legislation this fall and they’re hoping it will contain changes that reflect industry’s concerns.
“That will go a long way, especially allaying some of the concerns the new bidders may have on the land sale coming up in the fall,” Barnes says.
CAPP’s campaign can be found online at keepNLcompetitive.ca, while Noia’s is located at imaginethepotential.ca.