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Speech: Investing in the Keystone XL pipeline to control Alberta’s economic destiny

by ahnationtalk on April 6, 202053 Views

April 2, 2020

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am pleased to enter into this debate on a matter of critical strategic importance to Alberta, the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

As I said last night in this place during the emergency take-note debate on the coronavirus pandemic, we are facing a triple crisis in this province.

First of all, and most importantly, the public health crisis posed by the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. As the Honorable Government House Leader just indicated, last night we spent the better part of six hours reporting on Alberta’s efforts to keep this province safe by preventing the spread, and enhancing our health care response to prevent the pandemic from affecting more Albertans.

I also, however, indicated that we are dealing with a massive global recession, with some projections of a contraction in the North American economy as large as one-third. That would constitute a greater economic downturn than the Great Depression.

And thirdly, we are facing an unprecedented collapse in energy prices, to the point where West Texas Intermediate, the key benchmark for our energy, has been trading at or below $20 a barrel, and Western Canadian Select at or below $4 a barrel this past week. We have not seen prices at that level in real terms at least since Leduc in 1947.

It is really not possible to overstate the impact that these things will have on the economy of this province and the financial security of Alberta families, on the future of our businesses and on our standard of life.

And so we must stay focused on controlling the pandemic. This is job number one. However, we must also take action to the greatest extent possible to protect the economy of this province and to prepare for our eventual economic recovery. As I’ve said, that recovery will not start quickly. Let me situate the context for today’s motion and the government’s historic investment in the Keystone XL pipeline.

The primary reason for the collapse in energy prices has been a collapse in global economic activity and, therefore, energy demand. However, concurrent with that, we have seen the bizarre spectacle of hostile regimes, dictatorships and autocracies like Saudi Arabia and Russia launching a price war over crude oil, which has effectively caused a surge in supply. At the same time we are seeing a total collapse in demand. As I’ve said in this place before, the last time we saw a concurrent collapse of oil demand and surge in oil supply was, not coincidentally, in 1930.

There is no secret as to why the Russians, with the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves, and the Saudis, with the world’s second-largest reserves, are refusing to curtail production. To the contrary, they are increasing it. They are doing so in a predatory strategy to drive down production here in North America.

Let me explain the context. Many of us have, depending on our age, an awareness or a memory of the oil price crisis in 1973 when the OPEC Middle Eastern cartel significantly constrained supply of global oil, which led to a tripling of prices. That made us North Americans aware of how dependent we had become on foreign sources of energy as the feedstock for our modern economy.

The United States, parenthetically, has spent likely trillions of dollars and made untold sacrifices, in part to provide a de facto security guarantee to OPEC oil producers in the Middle East to maintain energy security as a critical element of function in their economy.

And yet, happily over the past decade, North America has become energy independent because of two concurrent factors. One, the U.S. shale revolution, which has seen American oil production move from three to 12 million barrels per day over the past decade, most of that under the tenure of former president Barack Obama.

Concurrently here in Alberta, we effectively doubled our production from two-and-a-half to nearly five million barrels per day in the last decade. This means that Canada and the United States, taken together, constitute a net exporter of energy. We are now energy independent in North America.

But that growth in production in North America is looked upon with great resentment by OPEC and by Vladimir Putin’s regime in Russia. They regard this increased production of oil in North America as a threat to their dominant position in global markets.

Three weeks or four weeks ago, discussions between the OPEC cartel and Russia in Vienna broke down, because Russia refused to participate in a curtailment of supply in the midst of the coronavirus recession’s crash in demand. They walked away from the table, and they did so explicitly because they indicated that they want to use this crisis to punish North America for producing more energy. What they are trying to do is to make North American energy production uneconomical, so that that production is shut in and then permanently impaired.

There is a fundamental difference between North American energy production and that in OPEC and Russia, which is simply this: energy production in this continent is done by the private sector, by the market. But the energy companies and OPEC and Russia are either de jure or de facto state-controlled enterprises. So North America, with very few exceptions, is the only place where the market operates in terms of energy production.

So in places like Saudi Arabia and Russia where the state either directly or indirectly backs energy companies, they can draw on the deep balance sheet of those sovereign states and, implicitly, massive subsidies. They do not have to compete with our producers on a market basis. They have an enormous advantage in terms of their financial debt to drive prices down below the actual cost of production. That’s what they’re doing.

What they’re trying to do is to say we in North America are vulnerable because private shareholders, banks, investors, do not have endless balance sheets, whereas the OPEC and Russian producers are state-backed or state-owned, and therefore have much deeper balance sheets.

So what they’re engaged in is a price war to say, and this is based partly on their observation, that our costs of production are relatively higher than theirs, here in North America. They’re higher in the oil sands, because to produce oil sands projects requires enormous upfront capital investment, often in the range of tens of billions of dollars, and production in U.S. shale oil reserves requires a constant capital churn to be drilling a very capital-inefficient pattern of exploration and production. And so, the Russian/OPEC strategy is predicated on our industry being more expensive, but also less capable of coping with an absurdly low energy price.

Much of the commentary has focused on the Russian role in this price war as being the primary protagonist. I’m no defender of Vladimir Putin. I was put on the Russian blacklist, so I’m no defender of Putin’s regime. But let me just say this: all the Russians have done is to refuse to curtail production, whereas the Saudis are surging production to the maximum capacity possible, and they’re encouraging their Arab allies to do the same.

This, then, led to a situation where there are many projections that we will see Brent, which is the most important global oil benchmark, trading as low as $5 in the second quarter of this year. If that happens, and if the current trajectory continues, we can expect to see Western Canadian Select, which is the price for our heavy synthetic oil that we produce in Alberta, trading at negative prices within three weeks’ time.

I know that’s hard for us to get our heads around. How can you have a negative price for something? Well, I’ll explain that. If there is such an excess of supply over demand that the only thing you can do with your oil is to produce it and ship it to get it off your hands, then you have to pay somebody a negative price to take it off your hands.

Our natural gas producers, our dry gas producers, know what that’s like. They’ve often faced negative prices in the summertime here in Alberta in recent years. We are very close to being a negative price territory for Western Canadian Select.

And here is what that means. First of all, as I’ve said, there is an armada of oil tankers filled to the gunnels leaving the Persian Gulf every day headed to refineries and tanker complexes around the globe, including the U.S. Gulf coast. I just got off the phone with a Senator from Louisiana, which is home to many of the key refineries in North America to which we sell Alberta heavy crude, and he confirmed that they are within days of total tank tops in their inventories in the U.S. Gulf. Once that happens, we expect the backup to move to the PADD2 U.S. Midwest refinery complex and tank farms to be at tank tops there. Then the backup will push all the way up into Canada and, if the current situation continues, we will have nowhere to ship the energy that is produced.

In that scenario, we can expect to see shut-ins of production. They’ve already begun. I understand from the Honorable Minister of Energy that the Enbridge main line, which ships about 80 per cent of our oil out of Alberta, is operating with about 150,000 barrels per day of unused capacity, which is an indication of voluntary shut-ins that have already occurred.

We can expect to see wide-scale shut-ins, initially in our conventional basin, then amongst our conventional heavy producers, then amongst oil sands mines and eventually amongst in-situ steam-assisted gravity drainage producers.

If it reaches that latter point, we need to be deeply concerned about the implications for the integrity of those assets, those SAG-D in-situ projects, because there is a view that turning off production in those projects for a sustained period of time could compromise the reservoirs. And so all of this poses a profound challenge to Alberta’s largest industry and Canada’s largest economic sub-sector.

Let me remind the chamber that the largest export industry in Canada is Alberta energy. We exported $120 billion last year of energy. By comparison, the entire central Canadian auto sector has a value of $20 to $25 billion. Let’s put that in context. We are roughly four to five times more important to the Canadian economy, our energy sector, than the Ontario auto sector. Eight hundred thousand jobs across Canada depend directly or indirectly on our energy sector. Nearly 20 per cent of federal government revenues depend on Alberta’s energy sector. The Canadian dollar depends on, in large part, our energy sector, because it drives the largest export industry.

I do not need to explain to this House how the Alberta economy, Alberta jobs, Alberta’s standard of life, our ability to fund healthcare, education and social programs are so inextricably bound up with the future of our energy industry.

Now, I know there are some who wished that were not so. They wish that we had never had an energy industry. And there are some who continue to protest against it. I hope that those folks will take this time to pause and understand the economic, financial, fiscal, and social consequences of a total collapse in our energy industry.

I must confess, when I began to process where we were headed two or three weeks ago, I had some very personally emotional responses to this, because I foresee a time of great personal adversity for many Albertans as a result of all of this.

All of that, of course, is on top of five years of economic fragility, in part because of the decline in global energy prices in 2014-15 where we saw the average price for West Texas Intermediate fall from $100 to $40, but it stabilized. And for the past three to four years, we’ve seen manageable prices in the range of roughly $55 to $65 a barrel.

And at the same time, the amazingly resilient and innovative Alberta energy sector responded to that price environment by compressing costs, by applying technology, by producing more efficiently, by improving their balance sheets, by paying down debt, so they could better weather a storm such as this.

In fact, on average they’ve reduced by about 30 per cent the cost of production of an average barrel of Alberta bitumen in the past five years. Remarkable. And most of our companies are now in a position where their break-even price for production is about $20 a barrel in the oil sands, but about $40 all-in when one includes the cost of capital and basic operations.

So I don’t need to explain the implications of a WTI price in the teens. I, frankly, do not think it’s inconceivable that WTI could go into the single digits as WCS goes into negative price territory. This is why I would once again plead with the national government to do the responsible thing with an extraordinary injection of liquidity to allow this industry, the largest subsector of Canada’s economy, to live to fight another day.

And I can assure the assembly that I and my staff, the Minister of Energy and Minister of Finance, are working hour by hour with our counterparts in Ottawa on such an effort. I can also assure Albertans that we have received extraordinary support from our friends across the Federation from provincial and territorial governments. You know, virtually every premier has called me to say personally that they understand the uniquely great challenge that we are facing in this province, and that they stand with us, and that they support our call for national solidarity for the industry that has done so much. The workers, the women and men in that industry have done so much for this country in recent decades.

It is because of this crisis that I began discussions with leaders of the United States government and Congress, governors and major energy producers about the prospect of a coordinated North American energy policy that would mitigate the damage of the predatory dumping in which Russia, Saudi and OPEC are engaged. Elements of such a coordinated policy could include a coordinated Canadian-U.S. import tariff on foreign oil.

I think it’s time for us to stop being Boy Scouts about this. These regimes, regimes with the world’s worst human rights records, regimes that murder their political opponents and journalists, human rights activists, regimes in the Middle East that treat women like property and not people, regimes that use energy wealth to spread violence, terror, conflict and extremism or instability around the world.

The Russians and the Saudis recently, each of them were using their energy wealth to engage in a proxy war in Syria, causing the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, including women and children. That’s what they do with their energy wealth. Now they’re seeking to destroy North American energy production, the only place where we develop energy according to market principles in liberal democracies that respect human rights.

It’s time for us to stop being Boy Scouts. As I’ve said to leaders in the United States over the past few days and countless phone calls, they spent trillions of dollars offering a de facto security guarantee to the OPEC producers to maintain energy security.

And now what is the gratitude being shown to the United States? And to this country? Trying to drive our energy production underground or off the map, so that we are no longer energy independent, so we are once more dependent on the Middle East. We will not let that happen.

And that is partly why I have begun discussions about a potential coordinated North American energy policy. One of the policy instruments would be import tariffs on this predatory dumping of dictator oil into our market.

Another policy that we must be open to would be a coordinated form of production curtailment across North America. We already began the painful process of production curtailment here in Alberta last year under the previous government, a measure that we reluctantly supported to save our industry at a critical time. But going further on government-mandated curtailment, if the Americans refused to do so in concert with us, would be pointless. And so that is also why I’m engaged in conversations in that respect, as is the Honourable Minister of Energy.

Now, having said all of that, we will get through this crisis. There will be great pain. There will be great adversity. Those are abstract words. What concerns me profoundly, personally, is that adversity, that pain will be felt by many, many families and individuals who are barely hanging on and may lose everything.

And I want to say, as the Premier of Alberta, that this government will do everything, is doing everything within our power to fight for those families and to fight for a future for this province’s economy and, therefore, for its largest sector.

That is why on Tuesday of this week, I announced an historic investment to ensure the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline. Let me explain. We all know as Albertans that much of the adversity over the past five years has been in large part because of the lack of energy infrastructure egress, or to put it simply, pipelines.

We have 178 billion barrels of proven and probable reserves accrued in this province, the third-largest such reserves on the face of the earth. The largest reserves are in Venezuela, but because of socialism they’re no longer a competitor. Second-largest reserves, Saudi Arabia. Third-largest reserves, Alberta. Fourth largest, Russia.

The Russians and the Saudis have no problem building pipelines and getting their energy to markets. The Russians just opened a massive gas pipeline to China, while we’ve been fighting amongst ourselves in this country for a decade on simply getting liquefied natural gas capacity.

The Saudis can put up a pipeline like that. Develop a new oil field? They click a finger, they got a pipeline built. We have been locked into a decade-long struggle to build pipeline capacity so that we can export these vast reserves of energy to the United States, across Canada, and around the world, and in so doing, to reduce the enormous price differential we have because of our shipping constraints, our limited pipeline capacity.

I’ve often pointed out that the primary reason for our inability to build a pipeline has nothing to do with markets and everything to do with politics. We have been targeted for over a decade by a highly coordinated and foreign-funded campaign of special interest groups on the green left to landlock Alberta energy. Now, I know that some dismiss that as a bizarre conspiracy theory, but the folks involved in that campaign, they don’t hide it. All of this is out in public, in the public domain.

If people are the least bit skeptical about this, I invite them to go just Google search “Tar Sands Campaign.” Within a couple of minutes they will be able to see one of the key PowerPoint presentations that was made at the Tar Sands Campaign conference hosted by the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation in New York City in 2008. They will see a deliberate, systematic, highly coordinated plan to landlock the Canadian oil sands in particular, and the effect of which is to landlock Canadian energy in general.

How has it manifested itself? Well, through a relentless campaign of political opposition, legal harassment, civil disobedience, lies, propaganda, and foreign money being dumped into Canadian politics for over a decade.

I salute the independent and intrepid researcher Vivian Krause for having done so much to detail this. As an aside, we give the CBC $1.6 billion a year. They don’t seem to have been able to use a dime of that to track a foreign-funded campaign to shut down the largest industry in Canada that produces much of the $1.6 billion they get. It took one single intrepid researcher to do what the CBC and many Canadian journalists refuse to do.

Here’s the point. Northern Gateway pipeline: approved by the national government, the National Energy Board after $1 billion expenditure by Enbridge after eight years of work. Vetoed by the federal government in 2016 based on an election commitment given to organizations like the Tides Foundation.

And then Energy East: after a billion-dollar investment by Trans Canada pipelines and six years of work, it would have shipped a million barrels of Western Canadian crude to the East Coast. It would have represented the energy independence for this country from coast to coast. Killed by the Trudeau government with the imposition of absurd regulations that were imposed midstream.

Trans Mountain expansion: after hundreds of millions of dollars of expenditures and years of effort, after NEB approval, federal cabinet approval – Kinder Morgan, the project proponent, ultimately walked away because of the political uncertainty created by these organizations that were engaged in the campaign of lawfare.

Keystone XL: first proposed by TransCanada Energy a decade ago, on which they invested $6 billion, vetoed by President Obama 48 hours after Prime Minister Trudeau took office in 2015 – 48 hours afterwards. And by the way, vetoed – I must make this clear – even after the United States State Department had recommended it twice on environmental grounds, on economic grounds.

It was vetoed after a massive pressure campaign led by U.S. hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, the recent failed U.S. Democrat presidential candidate who invested openly over a quarter of a billion dollars in U.S. elections to get a veto on KXL. This is a man, by the way, who made his fortune in gas and oil and coal stocks.

That Keystone veto happens, then the U.S. administration changes. President Trump issues a permit immediately challenged in court by who? Members of the Tar Sands Campaign funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Hewlett Packard Foundation, the Tides Foundation, and the rest. Four pipelines killed or endlessly delayed by that program.

So fast-forward to the summer of 2019. We were approached by the renamed TC Energy to say that, now that they had a second U.S. presidential permit and had resolved outstanding state-level legal issues, regulatory and permanent issues, they wanted to proceed with construction on Keystone XL. A project that would ship at least 830,000 barrels of Canadian crude from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska, and then onward to U.S. Gulf refineries.

However, TC reported to us that they were unable to secure the capital backing to complete the project. And they said they were unable to because of political uncertainty, because they were concerned that a prospective change in the U.S. administration would result in abnegation of the presidential permit. Another example, not of a market failure, but of a political failure.

And so we began conversations last August with TC Energy. We engaged world-class financial advisors. I’d like to thank John Prato and his team at TD Securities, as well as McKinsey, the global consulting firm, for having provided us with world-class external advice. I’d also like to thank my chief of staff, Jamie Huckabay, for his intrepid and brilliant leadership on this file for the past nine months as they worked through this to establish a transaction that, I believe, is manifestly in the economic interests of this province and of Albertans, which we announced on Tuesday.

It consists of a $1. 5 billion Canadian preferred equity share in the Keystone XL project this year, followed by a $6 billion Canadian loan guarantee in 2021 to facilitate TC Energy’s access to capital at commercial rates to continue construction.

And I’m pleased to inform the House that, after waiting for a decade, after 10 years of delays, that yesterday shovels were in the ground at 6:00 a.m. to begin the construction of that pipeline.

I am pleased to inform the House that, within weeks, a hole will be drilled between the Saskatchewan and Montana border, and that pipe will be put in the ground on the basis of the presidential permit.

I am pleased to inform the House that construction will commence immediately on Keystone XL at Hardisty to go to the Montana border, as well as spans in Nebraska and Montana, and that pumping stations will be built in South Dakota this year. And that the projected date of completion and commissioning of this project will be in June of 2023.

Let me be clear. Had we not made this investment, I do not believe the project would ever have proceeded, because of the associated perceived political risk. As I said on Tuesday as a free-market conservative, I am very skeptical about government interventions in the market, but the failure to get pipelines built, as I’ve said, is not a market failure. It is a failure of policy and of politics.

And let me come back to what I was saying earlier. We are in an existential fight for our economic future with state-owned enterprises in hostile regimes, and we must be prepared to use the resources of the state to ensure a future for our largest industry, its workers and our economy.

We will not surrender to their predatory dumping, nor will we surrender to the foreign-funded special interests who killed Northern Gateway, who killed Energy East, who have tried to kill Trans Mountain, who caused years of delays on Keystone XL.

Our response to all of them—to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, to the Tides Foundation, to the Pembina Institute that has opposed all of these projects, to the Hewlett Packard Foundation, to billionaire Tom Steyer, to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to Vladimir Putin, to all of them who want to impair and kill our energy sector – is that they will not prevail. The government and the people of Alberta will take control of our own destiny, in part through the Keystone XL pipeline.

I can assure Albertans that we have taken every measure to protect taxpayers. There is risk in any project. There’s risk right now associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, let me commend TC Energy for having been – a major multinational Alberta-based company, very sophisticated – and they had scrupulously planned for construction this year in a way that fully complies with public health orders with respect to safe workplaces.

Alberta, Saskatchewan, North, South Dakota, Nebraska and Montana have all declared construction as essential services, have all indicated protocols for the safe operation of construction sites in the COVID-19 environment. TC Energy has for the past three weeks already been quarantining construction crews so they could safely go to work yesterday.

And I’ve spoken to the governors of Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, and I want to thank all of them for their support for this project. All of those states have protocols in place to ensure the safety of those construction workers, as has TC Energy. So that is one short-term risk.

There are other risks, but I’m pleased to report that we managed to secure a preferred equity position with our investment. We are at the top of the capital stack, and this effectively means that, when the project is complete and commissioned, we plan to sell our shares, and we anticipate making a substantial profit for the Alberta treasury at that time.

We further project that this project will be responsible for generating an incremental $30 billion in Alberta government revenues through higher shipments of energy, higher prices by reducing the price differential, and higher royalty payments to the Alberta treasury – $30 billion for health care, for education, for social programs, for our standard of living.

This year we will build eight Canadian pump stations and 520 kilometers of pipeline in two Canadian spreads as well, as I’ve said, several spreads in the United States. The project this year will create at least 6,800 direct and indirect jobs in Alberta and over 15,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada. And that is so desperately important right now. These are good, high-paying jobs for so many of the people being laid off in the oil field sector right now. They will have an opportunity to work for TC Energy, its contractors, for the little hotels, for at least some of the restaurants, that can operate along the route. They will have business in those little towns in east central Alberta. They’ll have a bit of a lifeline with this project this year and next year when we so desperately need it.

Let me put this in context in terms of what we’re getting: the Trans Mountain expansion. The federal government – and we support them in this, I mean, politically – they spent $4.4 billion to buy Trans Mountain. They will have to spend a projected $12.6 billion in construction costs for a project that will ship an incremental 590,000 barrels per day. In other words, the federal investment in TMX represents an investment of $24,000 per barrel of additional capacity.

The previous NDP government here spent $3.7 billion in crude-by-rail contracts and was prepared to spend nearly $7 billion to buy the oil to ship 120,000 incremental barrels for a maximum of two years at a cost of $31,000 per incremental barrel.

But the equity investment plus loan guarantees that we are putting in place for the completion of Keystone XL means that our investment will result in a $10 700 per barrel of additional capacity, so one-half the cost of what the federal government is putting in to TMX. One-third the cost of what the NDP was risking on crude-by-rail.

Let me conclude in saying this: this project tells us that when we get past the price downturn, when global demand recovers, when the inventories come down and prices return to some kind of normal, there will be a future for our industry.

At some point, at some point sanity and normalcy will return to global energy markets. The widespread projection is for a rapid V-shaped recovery coming out of the pandemic this summer. Of course there’s uncertainty around that. We don’t know for certain that the pandemic will not resurface in the fall as the Spanish flu did in 1919. But the standard economic projection sees a very dramatic recovery of global demand and therefore energy consumption beginning in the third quarter of this year.

Right now we see global oil demand in this quarter will be down 20 to 30 million barrels a day. We expect to see 80 to 90 per cent of that recovered in the third and fourth quarters of this year. However, the prices will not recover that quickly. Because of the Saudi or Russian dumping, global inventories will be at tank tops all around the world, and it will take, we estimate, upwards of 18 months for those inventories to decline to a point where the market is back in some kind of a stasis, some kind of normal.

That is the challenging news. But when we return to some kind of normalcy in the prices, there must be a future for our industry. At that point investment will only return to the Alberta oil basin if we have pipeline capacity. That’s why this project is so important.

A lot of people may be wondering right now, well, why is the government taking a bet on this when prices are at $5 a barrel for Alberta oil? That’s a reasonable question, and the answer is we have to plan for the long term. It would be a terrible mistake for leaders at a time such as this to focus only on hour-by-hour crisis management. A responsible government must plan for the mid- to long term, and that’s exactly what this investment does.

This project will come online, we project, in 2023. At that point, we will be back at something like normal prices, but there will have been great destruction of value and capacity in our energy sector. We will be in desperate need of an infusion of new capital investment in our energy sector and in new capital investment to create new projects.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers projects that there will be growth in production in Alberta that exceeds our takeaway capacity within two years. Now, obviously, the current crisis will delay that point. But we will come out of this still with the world’s third-largest oil reserves, still with capacity to produce five million barrels per day, still with the capacity to increase that to six, seven, eight million barrels per day.

But we will need a way to ship that, and this is the way to do so. And so if we want to plan for a future where there will once again be investment back into creating good jobs in this province – that, by the way, will generate royalties for the Alberta treasury so we can pay for our social programs – we desperately need a project like this.

Now, we are hopeful that the Trans Mountain expansion will be completed, and we once again thank the Government of Canada for stepping up to the plate to de-risk that project. And we are working with them to ensure Indigenous co-ownership or financial participation in that important project.

But I am not prepared to risk the future of Alberta’s economy on that federally owned project. It is essential that we hedge that risk. That’s, in part, what Keystone XL is about. Heaven forbid, heaven forbid the consortium of green left pressure groups succeed in endlessly impeding Trans Mountain’s expansion. Should that happen, we will proceed with Keystone XL. We will have adequate production and supply in the future for both of those projects and, of course, the completion of Enbridge’s Line 3, we hope, later this year. But this is the prudent thing to do.

I will close now by saying, not only does this transaction make a great deal of sense in creating jobs in Alberta right now when we desperately need them. Not only does it represent a path to the future and, we estimate, $30 billion of incremental revenues for the Alberta government. But I think perhaps the most important result of Tuesday’s announcement of our investment is this: a sense of hope for the people of Alberta when they so desperately need one.

These are very trying times, and I think Albertans desperately need to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that there is a plan for recovery, that there is a future for our largest industry and, therefore, for our broader economy. And Albertans can now know that, with this strategic investment supported by the people and the Government of Alberta, there is a path forward.

This is not pie in the sky. There are shovels in the ground right now. There is permitting and legal clearance on this project from here to Steele City, Nebraska. We have the product. We have the brilliant workers. We have the innovation. We have the supply. We will now have a pipeline.

We have a future. That’s what this represents.

Thank you.

NT5

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