Imperial Sees Policy-Revamp Window in Alberta Royalty Review

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The Alberta government’s plans to review royalty payments from energy producers is also an opportunity to consider other aspects of regulation and policy, Imperial Oil Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Rich Kruger said.

“It’s a good time to look at all the pieces,” Kruger said during a PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP conference in Calgary on Thursday. Imperial, owned by Exxon Mobil Corp., looks at the overall mix of taxes, regulation and royalties when it reviews investments, he said, adding there are “probably some efficiencies” that could be made to regulations.

Alberta’s recently elected New Democratic Party has promised to review royalties that producers pay to the oil-rich Canadian province, as well as raising corporate taxes. Imperial’s Kruger said he hasn’t yet had an opportunity to discuss the industry and regulations with Premier Rachel Notley.

The petroleum industry has said operating costs are already high, with Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. yesterday holding off on investments amid “uncertainty” because of proposed regulatory changes. Imperial is among producers that develop the world’s third-largest proven crude reserves in Alberta’s oil sands.

Global discussions about climate change will play a role in a revamped policy in Alberta, Premier Notley said yesterday in Calgary, responding to questions about Canadian Natural’s announcement.

“There’s uncertainty created by the climate change issues” for the oil and gas industry, she said at the time. “It’s not responsible” to not consider changes to regulation given the “worldwide conversation around climate change,” she said.

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