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December 20, 2023

Canada's Oil Market Leaders May Wait Until After Elections to Make Emissions Changes

Canadian oil and gas producers, particularly smaller-sized companies, are adopting a cautious approach, delaying significant investments and production cuts to comply with the federal framework aimed at reducing emissions by 2030.

The producers are reportedly adopting a "wait and see" strategy to assess the political landscape and the survival of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals in the 2025 election.

The Trudeau government faces opposition from the Conservatives, who are leading in the polls and are against the emissions cap proposed by the Liberals.

Pat Oliver of Bonterra Energy stated that if compliance requires substantial capital investment, companies are evaluating the government's survival and the legislation's chances of persistence before committing to major expenditures.

Other small producers, including Yangarra Resources, echo similar sentiments, aligning their decisions with the political landscape.

In recent developments, Canada's federal government introduced a draft framework aimed at capping pollution from the oil and gas sector to achieve emission reductions by 2030.

The proposed framework suggests capping 2030 emissions between 35% to 38% below 2019 levels, allowing flexibility for compliance with emissions up to 20% to 23% below 2019 levels.

However, the emissions cap proposal faced strong criticism from the industry and Alberta, a prominent oil-producing province. Critics argue that the proposal effectively limits oil and gas production, impacting jobs, government revenues, and the energy supply essential for citizens.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) expressed concerns about the potential economic repercussions of the proposed emissions cap, especially amid existing affordability challenges and record budget deficits.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith and Environment and Protected Areas Minister Rebecca Schulz jointly criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault, accusing them of risking significant investments, devaluing retirement investments, and jeopardizing jobs in the oil and gas sector.

The joint statement highlighted the potential adverse impact on Alberta's and Canada's economies and core social programs if the emissions cap proposal is implemented.

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