Favorite To Win Next Alberta Election Vows To Fight For Oil

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By Tsvetana Paraskova

Jason Kenney, the leader of the United Conservative Party (UCP), expected by polls to win this year’s election in Alberta, has vowed to fight harder for the province’s oil to get more market access and maximize benefits for Alberta’s economy.

Kenney is pledging more drastic measures to get oil pipelines finally built, and thus alleviating takeaway capacity bottlenecks that have plagued the richest oil province in Canada after it recovered from the oil price crash.

UCP’s leader Kenney told Bloomberg in an interview that if elected, he would cut off oil shipments to provinces that don’t approve of new oil pipelines, kill the carbon tax, boycott banks that stay away from fossil fuel investments, and pressure the federal government to stop transferring money to other provinces if Canada doesn’t get new pipelines to ship Alberta’s oil to either of the coasts.

‘Looking into every new way of moving the oil to ocean ports’ is one of Kenney’s key pledges, including reviving versions or parts of previously proposed and dumped pipeline projects.

Incumbent Premier Rachel Notley of NDP has also been fighting for Alberta’s oil to get more access to markets, including by mandating an oil production cut of 325,000 bpd for three months starting January 2019 in a bid to prop up the price of Western Canadian Select (WCS)—the benchmark price of oil from Canada’s oil sands—which had slumped to as low as US$14 a barrel in October and November, with its discount to WTI at around US$50 a barrel.

According to Kenny, more has to be done for Alberta’s economy and oil than Notley has done.

Alberta’s elections have surprised pollsters over the past decade. Yet, a January poll from Mainstreet Research showed that Kenney’s UDP leads by a wide margin—nearly 25 percent—over Notley’s NDP. Notley, however, has seen her numbers improved since the November poll, which should give the NDP some hope in the next election, Mainstreet Research said.

“The UCP is polling higher than Kenney’s favorability numbers again this month, while Notley is polling above the NDP this month,” said Quito Maggi, President and CEO of Mainstreet Research. “This shows that Notley is clearly an asset to the NDP, while the same can’t be said for Kenney and the UCP.”

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