EnCana Makes the Case for Public Ownership in the Energy Industry

The Parkland Institute has published an Op-Ed on the Royalty Review, the energy industry's response, and the case for public ownership in the energy sector.

Monday, October 08, 2007

by Ricardo Acuña

In the weeks following the release of the recommendations of Alberta's Royalty Review Panel, energy giant EnCana has been one of the loudest opponents of any moves that might increase the direct benefits Albertans receive from their natural resources — going as far as publicly threatening to cancel a billion dollars worth of investment if the panel's recommendations are implemented.

The irony of these threats and the desire to see Albertans get less than full value for their oil and gas will not be lost on those who remember EnCana's history.

EnCana was born in 2002 out of a merger between energy giants PanCanadian and Alberta Energy Company (AEC). It is the history of AEC in particular which holds clear lessons for Albertans in light of EnCana's recent threats.

The Alberta Energy Co. was set up in 1975 by the Lougheed government. The idea was that it would provide a way for average Albertans to invest in and benefit from Alberta's natural resource wealth.

By selling AEC shares to Albertans, the government insured that the direct benefits and profits generated by the company would stay within the province. By maintaining a controlling interest for itself, the Lougheed government made sure it would have an active presence in an oilpatch dominated by foreign multinationals.

Like much of Lougheed's energy policy, the creation of AEC was a strategic, insightful and visionary move.

Read more at the Parkland website...