More pipelines, more upgrading: Smith

Bruderheim, AB (February 1, 2012): A Wildrose government would create incentives to increase bitumen upgrading in Alberta and would support new pipelines to get both raw bitumen and upgraded synthetic crude products to market.

After visiting the starting point for the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline yesterday near Bruderheim, Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said her government would work with investors and producers to identify tax and regulatory changes that would encourage more bitumen upgrading in Alberta.

Currently, about 60% of bitumen produced in Alberta is also upgraded here.

She also said a Wildrose government would push for more pipelines — like the Northern Gateway pipeline and Keystone XL — to move Alberta product and capture full value of the resource for Albertans.

“As Premier, I will make it more attractive for the private sector to invest in locally upgrading our bitumen product and provide even more jobs in our energy sector,” Smith said. “At the same time, a Wildrose government would support new pipeline infrastructure in order to get the upgraded product to market. We can’t upgrade more bitumen and oppose new pipelines. It doesn’t make sense.”

Smith likened the idea of more local upgrading through changes to the tax and regulatory system to the approach taken in the 1970s and 1990s that triggered the in-situ development of Alberta’s oil sands.

“We know government can create the right conditions for economic success,” Smith said. “We’ve already done it once with the oil sands. I believe we can do it again and take oil sands development to the next stage.”

Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville Wildrose candidate Shannon Stubbs said the two issues — more pipelines and more upgrading — are inextricably linked.

“We support getting full value for our energy products,” Stubbs said. “That means upgrading as much bitumen as is economically feasible and having enough pipeline capacity to get it to market. We believe Alberta must be on the leading edge of both. Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville is such an important region in our province, and will continue to be an economic driver in Alberta and Canada well into the future.”

[Click for Photo: Shannon Stubbs, Wildrose candidate for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville (left), and Wildrose leader Danielle Smith examine the starting point for the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline near Bruderheim on January 31.]

Wildrose stands for free enterprise, less government, increased personal freedom and democracy.