Alberta rides higher oil prices toward a balanced budget – by Patrick Brethour (Globe and Mail – December 3, 2021)

The fiscal roller coaster of oil prices is headed up, up, up for Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland.

All three energy-producing provinces have unveiled much improved revenue numbers in the past week, driven by the rebound in crude prices. But the lurch upward is most breathtaking in Alberta, where the deficit is plummeting – and a surplus is even possible next year.

It is fiscal whiplash from February, when the Alberta government projected a massive $18.2-billion deficit, regretfully conceding that “… it is no longer feasible to balance the budget by 2022-23.″

What a difference nine months, and a global recovery in oil demand, has made. This week, Alberta said its deficit is projected to come in at just $5.8-billion for the current fiscal year of 2021-22. Most of that swing is driven by a $10-billion increase in expected non-renewable resource revenue, as the chart below shows.

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