Q: How would you describe your first five months on the job?
It’s been a tremendous learning experience. During this time, I’ve placed a priority on reaching out and speaking with members at all levels, from as many regions and companies as possible. In the process I’ve gained a pretty solid sense of the issues and concerns, priorities and aspirations of our diverse membership group. I don’t have answers for all of them — but working with our board, our executive team, member volunteers and the knowledgeable staff we have here at CAPP, I believe we have the right strategies and team in place to keep delivering on the things our members need.
Q: You’ve taken over during some challenging times for the industry. What is your perspective on the current climate and the importance of our industry to Canadians?
Yes, these are difficult times for our industry, especially given today’s low-price environment and ongoing issues related to market access. However, the current situation has affirmed my resolve to be exactly where I am. I joined CAPP because oil and gas is arguably the most important industry in our country, and we are at the centre of some complex issues and debates that are vitally important to our industry and to the Canadian people.
I think the recent low prices and market uncertainty, and the impact they’ve had: shrinking government revenues, falling capital investment, and most unfortunately, people losing their jobs — these highlight just how important our industry is to the prosperity of our nation. That’s why it’s vital we continue working to deliver on our broad strategic goals of enhanced competitiveness and market access through public confidence in our industry.
“Market access — by all means, in all directions — remains critically important to improve the health, wealth and quality of life of all Canadians.”
I’d also add that while today’s low-price environment is a serious challenge to our industry, it doesn’t change the long-term fundamentals that predict growth for our industry, and the need for Canada to diversify its oil and gas markets and build the infrastructure needed to get our products to these markets. Global energy demand is still headed upwards and Canada has the opportunity to be the supplier of choice at home and in the global market. That’s why market access — by all means, in all directions — remains so critically important to improve the health, wealth and quality of life of all Canadians.
Q: What are some key things members should look for from CAPP in 2015?
In response to today’s fiscal climate, we’ll be placing a high priority on competitiveness issues. We are working closely with governments at all levels to ensure regulations and policies are balanced in a way that allows our industry to remain competitive even if prices remain low for an extended period of time. A couple of examples:
- We’ll be looking closely at gaining more cost-savings from the efficiencies gained by moving to a single regulator in Alberta. The AER estimates we could see up to $80 million in savings to industry as a result of their Near Term Action Plan (NTAP), and we’ll be pushing hard to see that realized.
- We’ll also be working hard on reducing municipal cost burden by participating in Alberta's Municipal Government Act Review (MGAR).
I might add that a great example of the kind of savings we can provide for industry is the recent changes to the Well Drilling Equipment Tax (WDET) formula. That was a key project taken on by our fiscal executive policy group (EPG), and the changes will save members about $40 million over the next five years.
Another key shift members can look for early in 2015 is a new, stronger voice arising from our communications and outreach efforts. Over the past few years, we’ve built a solid foundation of support for our industry. However, with some critical decisions ahead of us, including some significant pipeline proposals moving through the regulatory process, it will be important for CAPP and industry to step up our game — to become more engaged and prominent in the public discourse. Then there’s the federal election. We don’t take sides, of course, but it remains vital that as candidates and Canadians make up their minds on policies that impact our industry, we make sure they fully understand how much, for example, our industry provides benefits to local communities, how we are world leaders with respect to safety and environmental performance, and how we have a leadership group that is committed to continual improvement.
To this end, CAPP will be growing, engaging and activating our support networks. Meanwhile, hearkening to my time in politics, I plan to be in full campaign mode throughout the year, delivering speeches and stumping at town halls and on people’s doorsteps to ensure Canadians understand that our values are their values, and that their oil and gas industry is one to be proud of and to stand up for.
Q: You’ve articulated a need for a renewal of member engagement. What do you mean by that?
Members are the lifeblood of CAPP and I think it’s incumbent on us to continually renew the conversation, not only at the board level, but throughout our executive policy groups and committees — gathering feedback, ensuring we’re listening and delivering on the things they need and care about. And if we’re missing the mark in any way — we’d like to hear about that too.
On the flip side, members are our strongest potential advocates and ambassadors. We need their help to remind others that we in Canada have a world-class industry that responsibly provides products and services Canadians and customers around the world need. I hope to challenge and engage our membership to become an enthusiastic and proud voice in favour of the industry.
Q: Additional thoughts for 2015?
I know many of our members are hurting in this financial climate. But here, I think, is where CAPP really shines: representing industry’s collective interests in ways that create significant value, save money and provide positive outcomes for our members. I look forward to being able to report on this value delivery as we move through the year.
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