November 23, 2021 Message to the Membership

Posted on November 23, 2021 in

November 23, 2021 Message to the Membership

You may have seen and heard either through advertising or some media stories about the Saskatchewan Growth Coalition. I’ve even been fielding calls and messages wondering who or what exactly is this Saskatchewan Growth Coalition. 

Well, your NSBA is proudly part of this entity, along with 20 other industry-based organizations. Several of them are specific to the oil and gas industry, including CAPP, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, which has spearheaded the initiative.  

But it’s much broader than that. There are also representatives from other industry-specific organizations such as the Saskatchewan Mining Association and Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association, while several of them represent a broader spectrum of the economy, such as the Canadian Manufacturers’ and Exporters, along with several of the larger chambers of commerce. Some are even in the ag space, such as AGT Foods and the Western Grain Elevator Association. 

This diverse group has coalesced to encourage growth in Saskatchewan, and in particular, Saskatchewan’s rural areas through the development to the oil and gas industry. Now, you might be thinking that Saskatchewan’s oil and gas industry is a) already well-established in the province, being that we’re the second-largest oil and gas producing province in Canada, behind only Alberta; or b) that it’s a dinosaur on its way to extinction. 

On each of these points, it may not be an either/or scenario, the answers may be yes and no for each. In the first case, yes indeed Saskatchewan is the second-largest oil-producing province in our great nation. But we live in a very competitive environment for further oil and gas development, and being that capital is extremely mobile, we may end up losing out to other jurisdictions when it comes to future development and extraction. 

Now onto point number 2. While I take great exception to those who espouse the oil and gas industry is a dying industry, I don’t deny that changes are forthcoming and that eventually, the industry may find itself with a bleak future. But let me be very clear about this, I don’t expect that anytime soon, or even in my lifetime. 

Now, some of you may be wishing for my imminent demise for this scenario to develop sooner (or for other reasons, your call). Or for that matter, you might be among those who think that with COP 26 and the global leaders commitment to that, and even our own Prime Minister’s commitment to the national carbon tax and all of the evils that contribute to that (like heating our homes in winter, for instance) that changes are much more imminent.  

Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but my last physical showed now signs of any impending terminal illness on my part. And as for the extinction of the oil and gas industry, to paraphrase the memorable words of Mark Twain, “it seems the reports of its death were greatly exaggerated.” 

And I’m not denying that a green transformation is before us, nor am I even necessarily arguing (at least here and now, in this space) that it’s warranted. What I am saying is that how are we going to get to that space?  

Think about it. There’s no way on God’s green earth (did you like that?) that we will ever get to a net zero outcome without not just the involvement of the oil and gas industry, but the heavy involvement of the oil and gas industry. 

What’s he talking about, you’re likely asking. Well, again, think about it. If we are to manufacture all of these solar panels, wind and hydro turbines, EV vehicles, intensify the electrical grid and distribution systems, where will the energy to make this transformation come from? 

How will we mine the lithium and other important rare earth elements required for these huge energy-storing batteries without the oil and gas industry? Those of us logical enough to see the reality of the situation recognize that for the time being, and the foreseeable future for that matter, it’s impossible. 

Therefore, if it (oil and gas production) is going to happen anyway, why don’t we want it to happen here, in Saskatchewan, where we can reap the benefits for not just today, but for tomorrow, as we transition into the great green world?  

Many environmentalists are putting the cart ahead of the source, err, I mean horse, when it comes to transitioning to the green revolution. Plus, we want to have food to eat, but that’s a whole other story, which I promise to share with you another day. 

Until next time, be safe, be smart, be considerate, be well but most of all, be kind. 

Keith Moen,

Executive Director

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