Canadian Association Hosts Federal, Provincial Officials

(October 3, 2019) — Federal natural resources minister Amarjeet Sohi and Alberta’s assistant minister of natural gas Dale Nally addressed Alberta members of the Canadian Propane Association (CPA) in September. Their attendance at an event in Red Deer showed a recognition that propane has an important role to play in Canada’s policy development, the association said.

“Having these ministers attend our Alberta seminar speaks to the importance of the role of propane in contributing to Canada’s economy, local communities, and to the environment,” said CPA president and CEO Nathalie St-Pierre. “It indicates to our industry that both federal and provincial governments are recognizing the important role propane has in Canada’s clean-energy mix and how it is becoming an important piece of the puzzle to tackling climate change.”

The association emphasized that a truly holistic approach to reducing Canada’s emissions must include low-emission energy options that are available to consumers today. Propane is an immediate solution for Canada—it can support government policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut costs, contribute to job creation, and help grow the economy.

“Propane has potential. It can be a game- changer—a game-changer as a cleaner-burning fuel with low infrastructure costs and competitive time- lines for paying back conversion costs, and as a safe, reliable, and portable source of energy,” said Sohi. He added that the federal government views the pro- pane industry as key to a diverse energy sector, and highlighted AltaGas’s Ridley Island propane export terminal, which ships propane to Asian markets, as providing a much-needed clean energy source. He also pointed to the two petrochemical plants advancing in Alberta that will turn propane into valuable plastic products, which he said will unlock $9 billion worth of investment.

Presenting the Alberta government’s strategy to restore and revitalize the province’s energy industry, Nally told CPA members that this included scrapping the carbon tax, which he said will restore investor confidence. He noted that among CPA’s hardest hit members by the downturn in the Alberta oil sector were MACE (manufacturers appliances, cylinders, and equipment) companies that rely on producers to drill wells.

Nally said the goal is to get producers “back to a place where they can first survive. And then, once we’ve got them there, to a place where they can thrive.” He said that $100 billion worth of investment had left Alberta in the last four years, but his government plans to bring that investment back by making “Alberta one of the lowest-taxed jurisdictions in Canada—and one of the lowest in North America.” Regarding emissions reductions, he commented that natural gas and propane are part of the future. Among the best ways of getting to the Paris Accords targets is to expand propane production and convert more of the heavier oils to lower-carbon fuels like propane.

“While both ministers recognize propane as a low-emission fuel and recognize that it must be part of our clean energy future, we need to see actionable steps that would see an expanded use of propane and result in a significant impact on reducing Canada’s emissions,” said St-Pierre.

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, September 30, 2019. Available by subscription.)