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Oil booms are a thing of the past say some analysts

Last Updated Apr 10, 2019 at 7:34 am MST

An oil sands facility is reflected in a tailings pond near Fort McMurray, Alta., on July 10, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

EDMONTON – Politicians in Alberta’s election campaign are promising to get the economy running on all its fossil fuel-powered cylinders.

But some top energy thinkers warn there’s no pedal any premier can stomp on to make that engine rev like it used to.

Mark Jaccard, a Simon Fraser University energy economist, says governments can’t change underlying economic shifts working against the oilsands.

He says Albertans should accept a stable industry and forget the bitumen-fuelled booms of the past.

Vaclav Smil from the University of Manitoba says the worldwide move to renewable energy will take generations, but he says high growth rates for fossil fuels may be gone.

Meanwhile, Andrew Grant of the London-based Institute Carbon Tracker says renewable energy is still small, but its ever-larger share of new investment is squeezing out other energy sources.

“That’s made companies much more reluctant to invest in capital in projects that require very, very high capital outlay, very high costs, takes years and years to pay back. That really encapsulates the oilsands and they’ve certainly been in one of those eras where investment has really fallen.”

Grant adds that companies are reluctant to invest capital in projects that require high capital outlay and take years and years to pay back.

However, Analyst with GasBuddy Dan McTeague says if Alberta had pipelines in place this wouldn’t be an argument.

“There will be changes, there will be greater move towards renewables but fossil fuel is an integral part, whether we like it or not, of how our economy and how our society functions and properly managed, as it is in Alberta, unlike most jurisdictions that produce oil.”

McTeague goes on to say that it’s unrealistic to think that oil will just go away


With files from The Canadian Press