Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would not commit to green-lighting the divisive Energy East pipeline today and instead slammed his predecessors for interfering in what he said should be a rigorous scientific process.
“One of the challenges we’re in right now is that my predecessors have politicized that process. I’m not going to prejudge or shortcut the [National Energy Board] process as it goes forward,” he said.
“What we got today was an understanding of the challenges we face,” said Suncor Energy CEO Steve Williams, whose company — Canada’s largest oilsands player — posted a net loss of $ 2 billion for the final three months of 2015.
Williams said the meeting was “very encouraging” and Trudeau listened to industry concerns about the price cycle of oil and market access during the roundtable, which included senior executives from Shell, Husky, Cenovus and other major firms, along with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.
“It was a very good meeting. Informative on both sides, and I see the prime minister … understands the importance of the oil and gas industry to Canada, not just Alberta,” said Ian McConnell, a vice-president at Core Laboratories.
The head of the the Petroleum Services Association of Canada says Trudeau seems prepared to act as the champion for getting Alberta’s oil to market.
Alberta Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, who also took part in Thursday’s roundtable, said no agreements were reached but it was a productive meeting.
“I think right now the prime minister is just listening and learning as much from the industry and the challenges,” she said.
Trudeau met with Notley in Edmonton on Wednesday, where she says she impressed upon him how important pipelines are to the province in getting oilsands crude to tidewater and off to foreign markets.
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