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Alberta minister says patience running short for federal energy industry aid

Last Updated Apr 7, 2020 at 11:25 am MDT

Minister of Energy Sonya Savage listens while Premier Jason Kenney responds to the federal approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline in Edmonton, Alberta, on Tuesday June 18, 2019. Savage says patience in her province is running thin for a promised aid package from the federal government for the oil and gas sector.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Amber Bracken

Alberta’s energy minister says patience in her province is wearing thin for a promised aid package from the federal government for the oil and gas sector.

Sonya Savage, speaking at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers conference, says the industry doesn’t want a bailout, it just needs help to cope with short-term liquidity problems caused by steeply lower oil prices that have reduced investment plans and activity levels.

The annual conference, held in Toronto for the past few years, is being presented as an online conference for the first time this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is also blamed for reducing global demand for oil.

Low oil prices are also linked to a glut of supply as Saudi Arabia and Russia abandon their previous production curtailment agreement. Savage says she will participate by phone in an OPEC-plus meeting about the issue on Thursday.

Despite the current price environment, CAPP CEO Tim McMillan says there’s a great deal of optimism in the industry because three key export pipelines — the Trans Mountain expansion, the Line 3 replacement and Keystone XL — are under construction.

Last week, Calgary-based TC Energy Corp. announced it would start construction on its long-delayed US$8-billion Keystone XL Pipeline, backed by about US$1.1 billion in direct investment by the Alberta government, along with a provincial loan guarantee.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 7, 2020.

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The Canadian Press