Alberta between mild and extreme ‘petrostate’

Oil is by far the most popular natural resource making headlines on a weekly basis in Alberta and for good reason – the Province has relied on its vast reserves of petroleum for both economic and political reasons.

With impending decisions to be made regarding the future transport of this coveted resource, whether it be through pipelines such as Keystone XL or by rail, Alberta will continue to be known in some circles as a “petrostate,” but to what degree is a topic economics professor Alan MacFadyen has tackled extensively.

Last month, MacFadyen, an Emeritus at the University of Calgary who established the petroleum economics program within the Department of Economics, examined this, and the history of Alberta’s oil industry, during a talk at the Seniors’ Centre in Canmore.

According to the professor, the Province is somewhere in between a mild and extreme version of a “petrostate.” Read the full story at the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

Slow year ahead for Alberta as price of black gold drops

Oil is Alberta’s business, however, the price of Western Canadian Select, which is made up of heavy conventional and bitumen crude oil, has been decreasing.

With the Province’s reliance on this huge energy commodity, both politicians and economists point to a sluggish Alberta economy limping into next year’s fiscal budget, which will be made public in March.

According to Net Energy Inc., a crude oil trading system based in Calgary, Western Canadian Select has been trading at roughly $35 per barrel less than benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude.

Though the price of Alberta oil has always been offered at a discount, the differential between what’s shipped out of the province compared to WTI or other world oil prices has increased quickly and put Premier Alison Redford’s government under pressure. Read the full story at the Rocky Mountain Outlook.