Infrastructure approval process
Industry leaders want a clear, stable process for the approval of infrastructure projects like pipelines. Once a regulator has passed judgment on a project, based on well-defined procedures, due process and community consultation, how should the government stay involved to help make sure the project moves ahead?
The process needs set time limits and should focus on the economic and environmental impacts of the project. A recent study from the C.D. Howe Institute shows it can take up to 11 years for pipeline approvals in Canada. Issues like climate change need to be addressed through broader public policy, not the project approval process.
Certain pipelines were approved through the regulatory process before being stalled by legal issues and opposition from environmental and some First Nations groups. Industry is asking this process be clear and laid out up front to avoid these legal issues.
Relations with potential export partners
Three-quarters of Canadian chief executive officers (CEOs) are concerned about the effect geopolitical uncertainty will have on their organization’s growth prospects. As a result, a role exists for provincial and federal governments in developing relations with potential export partners, particularly with state-owned energy companies that can finance large-scale export and import facilities.
Competitive taxation regimes
Provincial and federal governments need to keep fiscal and taxation regimes competitive with other energy-producing regions to attract investment. This includes federal taxes, provincial taxes and royalties, and municipal property and local taxes.
Jan Stuart, global energy economist at Cornerstone Macro, says there’s an opportunity for Canada to make sure it plays an important role in the long-term oil and gas market. “The short answer is: Stay toward the lower end of the cost curve and please don’t have royalty/tax surprises. Canada’s upstream business climate is hard to beat. That should win out over time.”
Increased domestic use
A plan to increase domestic use of Canadian energy resources is needed. This includes using more Canadian oil in Canadian refineries and natural gas for power and heating, particularly on the East Coast.
A carbon tax strategy
Industry supports a strategy to reduce greenhouse gases that doesn’t disadvantage Canadian exports. Carbon policies must be built around certainty and stability. Without these, large projects can’t proceed as planned.