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Premier Notley praised by Alberta's energy industry for tough stance in pipeline dispute

Premier Rachel Notley's hard line against B.C. for its pushback on the Trans Mountain pipeline is earning her praise from members of Alberta’s energy industry.

'She has shown some incredible leadership on this file,' says oilwell drilling representative

After imposing a boycott on B.C. wine last week, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley formed a panel of experts to advise her on the province's options if B.C. blocks the federally approved pipeline expansion. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

Premier Rachel Notley's hard line against B.C. for its pushback on the Trans Mountain pipeline is earning her praise from members of Alberta's energy industry.

"We are very supportive of Premier Notley. She has shown some incredible leadership on this file," Mark Scholz, head of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors, said Thursday at a panel discussion in Red Deer.

"It's really too bad that two Western provinces have to duke it out, so to speak, on this issue."

After imposing a boycott on B.C. wine last week, Notley formed a panel of experts to advise her on Alberta's options if B.C. blocks the federally approved pipeline expansion.

The project is considered critical because it would deliver Alberta oil to overseas markets at a time crude is trading at a steep discount at home.

Notley's conservative opponents have attempted to portray the premier as an enemy of industry, pointing to what they call the province's job-killing carbon tax.

Mark Scholz, head of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors, heaped praise on Premier Rachel Notley on Thursday for her stance against B.C. in the ongoing dispute over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. (CBC)

But the NDP leader has earned some street cred of sorts from the industry in the past week over her battle with B.C.

"We are very pleased that the government of Alberta is standing up for Alberta, standing up for jobs and standing up for fairness in Canada," said Jeff Gaulin, vice-president of communications for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), adding he backs Notley's creation of a panel to further explore Alberta's options.

Gaulin said the energy industry in Canada has three main needs right now: additional investment, more infrastructure like pipelines, and innovation.

"We're really challenged right now, and Canada is falling behind with increasing costs and new rules and complex regulatory systems from government," he said.

"We're finding ourselves challenged to attract the investment needed to create and sustain jobs here in Alberta, but really, across Canada. Oil and gas is a global industry and Canada will fall behind further if we're not careful."

With files from Reid Southwick

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