Friday, November 13, 2015

An Open Letter to Oil Company CEOs

November 13, 2015

An open letter to oil company executives in Alberta,

In recent years, and in fact, in recent days, oil has become a dirty word. Our federal government is gearing up for presentations in Paris at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Our provincial government will experience pressure to reconsider royalty rates and, if Saskatchewan is any indicator, pressure to create a new price for expelling carbon into the atmosphere. Those who capture carbon will be able to sell their rights and carbon will have a defined price.

In light of all of this, for the sake of our province, for the sake of our children and grand-children, for the sake of jobs, for the sake of my friends who are already looking for jobs and those who may be afraid they will soon be looking for jobs, can I please ask you to stop thinking like CEOs of Oil companies and ask you to start thinking like CEOs of Energy companies?

I have asked my friends in the oil and gas industry if their company is diversifying. They have responded, “Oh yes, we are diversifying. We used to be into nothing but conventional oil and now we have holdings in both heavy oil and conventional oil. With the latest downturn in oil prices we are diversifying back to conventional oil and even gas!” That’s not diversifying, CEOs! Or at least, it is not diversifying enough. What about diversifying into other forms of energy: building high capacity batteries, installing fields of solar panels, building wind turbines, or investing in fuel cell research? What about looking at other ways to provide energy and power?

For the sake of tomorrow, could I please ask you to do something different than wait for the roller-coaster ride of oil and gas to come back to the top? Please show us that you can truly diversify, for the sake of our unhealthy addiction to oil, for the sake of our province.

Keith Shields

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