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GUEST COLUMN: Growing N.L.’s offshore sector should be a a priority for candidates

The Hebron platform on Newfoundland and Labrador offshore is an example of how digitalization is disrupting how the offshore oil and gas sector conducts and manages operations.
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By Paul Barnes

As Newfoundlanders and Labradorians head to the polls on May 16, voters have many issues to consider as they mark their ballots. From health care to social programs to job creation, one thing to keep in mind on election day is the important role the oil and natural gas industry plays in the province’s economy.

Since 1997, the offshore oil and natural gas industry has paid more than $21 billion in royalties to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador; royalties that help fund social programs, health care and education. Not to mention the industry is also a source of employment for thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and a source of income for hundreds of local supply and service companies supporting the industry.

Growing the offshore oil and natural gas industry should be one of the top priorities for all provincial political parties.

Newfoundland and Labrador has tremendous potential for future oil and natural gas development. Realizing this potential, for the benefit of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, requires a clear commitment from governments to develop and maintain policies that consider competitiveness.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers’ (CAPP) vision is to make offshore Newfoundland and Labrador one of the world’s most attractive places for oil and natural gas investment.

During this election, CAPP is asking provincial political parties to be a champion for the industry and advocate for industry growth. In CAPP’s Newfoundland and Labrador Energy Platform, Oil and Natural Gas Priorities for a Prosperous Newfoundland and Labrador, available at www.VoteEnergyNL.ca, we outline specific actions and policies that should be considered by all political parties to foster growth in the offshore region.

There is a role for Canada, and Newfoundland and Labrador, to play in the global energy mix. The world needs oil and natural gas. The International Energy Agency expects total global energy demand will increase 27 per cent by 2040, of which oil and natural gas will comprise 53 per cent. Canadian energy is produced with world-leading environmental and social standards and can displace less-responsible sources of supply.

Our industry continues to improve its environmental performance, providing assurance to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that our natural resources will continue to be produced sustainably and responsibly.

The offshore sector supports effective and efficient environmental policies, and with the right policies in place we can be competitive, attract investment and still reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a province.

As candidates come to your door seeking your vote, consider asking them about energy policy and what they will do to ensure the benefits from the offshore continue for future generations.

A vote for energy is a vote for jobs, a vote for prosperity, and a vote for a sustainable future.

Paul Barnes is director, Atlantic Canada & Arctic, with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. He writes from St. John’s

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