- Published: Sunday, 21 April 2019 09:14
For many, the final straw for the federal carbon tax coming into effect across the country was the support of Canada's largest energy producer. While Alberta's carbon tax that was in place well before the federal government's, the NDP government that put it in power has been replaced with a majority United Conservative Party taking power Tuesday afternoon. According to President of Apex Distribution Ken Wallewien, who spends a lot of time at the location here in Estevan as well as in Calgary, there is still a lot of work to be done besides an election.
"The sentiment out there was that the definitely needed a change in government, and of course that happened. What's that going to mean? In my opinion, the majority of the woes in the oil industry is experiencing is right now are not under the control of our provincial governments whether it be Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, or B.C. in western Canada. Most of the things that are wrong and need to be fixed all have to do with the federal government."
The company has been distributing products and services to a bunch of different organizations in the oilfield throughout western Canada for 20 years and has offices all over western Canada and a few in the States as well, but the current state of the oil business in Canada is not promising enough for expansion.
"The executives of these oil companies have been saying 'we don't feel comfortable investing right now because we don't know'. We all hear the price of oil, so that's West Texas Intermediate crude, and that's great, that's the number we all hear about, but the real number is what the differential is, and last fall starting through September, October, November, the differential got so bad on oil coming out of Hardisty in central Alberta, companies were basically giving their oil away."
He adds that at the same time, there was still a large difference in price between oil coming from Texas and Saskatchewan, but not near as bad. This means that the provincial government is able to help to a certain extent when it comes to preventing a deficit in prices as low as what Alberta experienced last year, but the federal government needs to work to fix the problem at hand.
"I think that oil companies are going to be more apt to spend money, raise their capital budgets now that there's been a change in government, but what's really going to fix the industry long term is pipelines, and of course that takes a lot of time. We're two-three years away from when we finally hit the green light or something like that can finally see oil going down it, but if there's optimism with the companies that are drilling wells and building facilities and spending money, it's going to help the service and supply industry which we're in."
The change in government in Canada's largest oil-producing province may see companies starting to spend money while things are still fairly cheap compared to where they were in an effort to get ahead of the ball, but it's still too early to tell.
"Ultimately it can only add value, it can only make things better with the change in government in Alberta, I'm just not sure how quick it's going to happen but it will change a different atmosphere or persona within the industry and we'll see how quickly that translates into more spend for service and supply which is the part of the industry we play in."