Calgary

Alberta royalty structure open to revision

The province's new royalty regime isn't set in stone, Alberta's finance minister told members of the oilsands industry in Calgary Monday.

The province's new royalty regime isn't set in stone, Alberta's finance minister told members of the oilsands industry in Calgary Monday.

Lyle Oberg said the formula, introduced by the province last month to increase the royalties energy companies pay for the right to develop Alberta's resources, could be reworked.

"We have attempted to build a formula that will stand the test of time. But there may well be dramatic changes," Oberg said, pointing to potential factors including the fluctuating price of oil.

The new royalty regime, expected to raise as much as $1.4 billion dollars a year in additional government revenue, is not a rigid formula limited by a set timeline, he added.

"We're leaving that ability open to find a successful regime. We hope that this framework agreement will stand the test of time and I think it may well. But you know, again I'm not going to stand here and say we have to review it every certain years."

But Oberg did say that it would likely be a decade before the government looks at royalties again.

On Monday, Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason called for the province to hike royalties even more after news that Alaska approveda royaltyincrease of 30 per cent last week.

Mason said his party's research showed Alaska produces less oil than Alberta but makes $2 billion more in revenues. He also said the cost of production and exploration in the American state is higher than in the province.