Alison Redford's departure disappoints some in energy industry

Some people in the oil patch say Alison Redford's work as a promoter and supporter of Alberta's energy sector will be missed and they hope for more of the same from her successor.

Sector hopes for equally supportive successor

University of Calgary business professor Bob Schulz on the energy industry's reaction to Alison Redford's departure. 1:54

Some people in Alberta's energy industry say Alison Redford's work as a promoter of the province's oil and gas will be missed. 

Mark Smith, CEO of Surmont Energy, travelled with the premier on a trade mission to China last year.

Alberta's ruling Progressive Conservative Party's constitution requires that a selection be made within six months of a leader's resignation. Alison Redford announced she will be stepping down Sunday. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Smith said Redford was a strong champion of Alberta's energy supply and he hopes the next leader will do the same. 

"Having someone who was a little more forward thinking and actually willing to pick up and go and speak to the merits of the province was a real benefit," said Smith.

"So another premier that is willing to look beyond the borders of the province would be fantastic."

Smith said Redford repaired the government's relationship with the energy industry, which had been damaged by former premier Ed Stelmach's changes to the provincial royalty structure.

Lobby efforts

In addition to trade missions to Asia, Redford spent much time in the United States, urging legislators and opinion leaders to allow the construction of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline to increase exports of Canadian bitumen to refineries in the U.S.

Professor Bob Schulz, from the Haskayne Business School at the University of Calgary, said the next premier will have to stay the course in terms of pushing pipelines and streamlining the approval of new projects in Alberta. 

"The next premier is going to have to support the pipelines," he said. 

"I think most of the companies are concerned about the Alberta Energy Regulator, making sure their applications get through on time," said Schulz.

However, at least one of Redford's energy initiatives is unlikely to survive her departure.

Michal Moore, an economist at the University of Calgary, said her push for a national energy strategy will probably stall. 

"I can't imagine that it will come up again by its own volition, unless it comes from an outside place."