As the Alberta government prepares to deliver the last big piece of its climate leadership plan, a cap on emissions in the oilsands industry, anxiety is building that it will pit company against company, project against project, and could even be based on political favour, according to industry observers.
With the remaining carbon budget expected to be used up in a decade, and more projects vying for a piece of it than will be available, there is concern that companies that supported Rachel Notley’s NDP plan will get preferential treatment, at the expense of those that didn’t.
“People are very concerned that (the changes are) not being designed for the industry as a whole, but the interests of a few,” said Glen Schmidt, president and CEO of oilsands startup Laricina Energy Ltd., said in an interview. “If you are in the cartel and part of the group that has a favoured hearing, you are pushing design elements that favour your interests.”
The leaders of four oilsands companies — Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Cenovus Energy Inc., Suncor Energy Inc., and Royal Dutch Shell PLC — stood behind Notley when she unveiled the climate plan more than a year ago.
The companies have representatives on a provincial panel appointed to make recommendations on how to allocate the unused carbon space across the industry and how to treat resources that will become stranded.
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