Encana joining Alberta Energy Minister McCuaig-Boyd on her trip to China to talk money

Alberta Energy Minister off to China by Matt Dykstra, October 7, 2015 Calgary Sun
Alberta Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd is embarking on a $33,000-trade mission to China. The NDP government says the mission aims to encourage energy investment in Alberta and share environmental best practices [Completely unenforceable and VOLUNTARY] with China’s largest oil and gas companies, which account for roughly 80 per cent of China’s refining capacity and more than $35 billion in investments in the province.

“China represents enormous potential as both a customer and investor for Alberta’s energy industry,” said McCuaig-Boyd. “Maintaining strong relationships with the world’s largest energy consumer will open future opportunities for Alberta as a global energy supplier.”

McCuaig-Boyd will be joined by business delegates from several oil and gas companies on the mission from Oct. 10 to Oct. 16, including Suncor, Encana, and Enbridge.

The minister will attend the 5th Annual Asia Shale Gas Summit in Shanghai and a China-Alberta Petroleum Centre board meeting in Beijing.

The estimated mission cost for the minister, one political staff, and two public servants is $33,000. [Emphasis added]

Notley comments on China investment as energy minister heads to far east by James Wood, October 9, 2015, Calgary Herald
Alberta’s NDP government values Chinese investment in the oilpatch despite the party’s past concerns over foreign control of the energy industry, Premier Rachel Notley said Friday.

Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd will arrive in Shanghai Saturday to begin a seven-day trade mission to China to encourage investment in the energy industry.

In opposition, the NDP raised concerns over Chinese investment and opposed moves such as the China National Offshore Oil Company’s $15.1 billion takeover of Nexen in 2012, with then-party leader Brian Mason saying the “increasing amount of foreign ownership in the oilsands is disturbing.”

The issue also arose on the federal campaign trail this week, with NDP Leader Tom Mulcair saying that under Conservative Leader Stephen Harper “we’ve sold out control of our oil and gas sector to China.”

But Notley told reporters following a Calgary Chamber of Commerce luncheon that relationships must be forged between Alberta and Chinese businesses.

“Whether we’re looking at investment or whether we’re looking at market development, the fact of the matter is that all of Canada understands we need to diversify our markets. We cannot be focused solely on the U.S., we do need to build relationships with the Asian-Pacific corridor,” she said.

At the same time as the federal Conservative government approved CNOOC’s acquisition of Nexen, it also introduced new rules barring future takeovers of oilsands operations by similar state-owned enterprises except in “extraordinary circumstances.”

The policy was an irritant for the former Progressive Conservative government though it avoided a confrontation with the Harper government on the issue.

Asked about her government’s position on the policy on state-owned enterprises, Notley said it was “an issue of federal jurisdiction” and that McCuaig-Boyd would not be talking about it on her China trip.

McCuaig-Boyd will be accompanied by representatives of Suncor, Encana, Enbridge, MEG Energy and EBW and her itinerary includes meetings with government officials and executives with Chinese energy firms, including the state-owned Chinese National Petroleum Corporation.

Notley’s office said there is no plans at the moment for the premier to head to China.

Jia Wang, deputy director of the University of Alberta’s China Institute, said the NDP’s differing stance on Chinese investment shows the difference between governing and being in opposition.

Wang said it’s important for the new government to reach out to China. While Chinese investment has cooled as its own economy has slowed and oil prices have dropped, it is still a major source of capital.

“In China, people do prefer to feel their business is welcome. That’s still a message provincial and federal politicians need to send,” she said.

“It’s a market Canada can’t afford to look away from.”

Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt said the China trip is good for Alberta.

“The China trip is an opportunity to show we’re open for business, open for investment, open for direct foreign capital investment that we desperately need right now,” said Fildebrandt, who said Wildrose supported the current restrictions on state-owned enterprises. [Emphasis added]

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