His upcoming arrival serves as a difficult reminder of the severe damage President Obama inflicted on Alberta’s oil and gas industry. 4 years after his veto of Keystone XL, and his tarnishing Alberta oil’s reputation, we have seen just how much damage he has caused to thousands of Alberta oil and gas workers; furthermore, many of his decisions are still negatively impacting Alberta’s chief industry to this day.
The most notable was his opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama had years to approve the line, and after endless consultation, an EPA report which said Keystone would not increase greenhouse gas emissions one iota, President Obama ultimately vetoed the project for purely ideological (and nonsensical) reasons. It was a major blow to the industry. Canada missed out on (and still is) thousands of jobs, billions in new GDP and billions in federal and provincial tax revenue. His actions also painted the oil sands, and TransCanada, in a terrible light and unleashed a wave of anti-environmental activists on Canada–many of whom were big supporters of Obama and personal friends.
Up until only a few months ago, the lack of pipeline capacity, which could have been completely solved by Keystone XL’s operation, caused the worst differentials in the history of Alberta. Crippling this province to its knees. Premier Notley (a major Obama supporter) had to step in to mandate an Alberta-wide production curtailment. Although it was the right thing to do, it still had negative effects on the industry as rigs are not working at near the level they should.
Unfortunately, even now, Keystone XL is still held up in the courts in the United States as an Obama-appointed judge recently halted construction of the line pending yet another petty environmental review.
President Obama’s actions have cost Alberta’s oil industry $10’s of billions in lost revenue, provincial royalties, and much, much needed jobs. His upcoming speech serves as a reminder of the damage one President can inflict on an entire province and perhaps another reminder why Canada needs to broaden its oil product’s customer-base.