Day 6

Jason Kenney says he will revive Alberta's oil sector — but can he deliver in the age of climate change?

Incoming Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has promised to stand up for the province's oil and gas sector, but will his efforts to roll back climate policy hinder that cause?

Energy analysts say the industry is already moving towards more sustainable practices

After a sweeping victory on Tuesday, Jason Kenney will form Alberta's first United Conservative Party government with a majority of seats. He has promised to revive economic prosperity in the oil patch. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Alberta's incoming premier Jason Kenney promises to deliver economic prosperity to the oil industry, in part by fighting provincial and federal environmental policies.

But a recent report from the Bank of England — and a warning from investment management firm BlackRock — raises questions about whether the oil industry can succeed without strong climate action.

According to Calgary-based energy analysts Peter Tertzakian and Duncan Kenyon, market pressures to fight climate change are already pushing the industry to embrace sustainability — and it's working.

"Whether it's about policy or it's about reading the tea leaves or being strategic ... that's smart business strategy, and I think that's what's taking over here," Kenyon said.

After claiming victory in Tuesday's provincial election, Kenney reiterated his plan to repeal Alberta's carbon tax as part of a broader effort to revitalize the oil and gas sector and bring relief to struggling and unemployed workers. 

On Wednesday, federal environment minister Catherine McKenna indicated that a federal carbon tax would be imposed on Alberta if Kenney follows through on his plan.

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But Tertzakian says Canadian companies will continue to reduce their emissions regardless of government policy in order to remain competitive.

"Alberta is undergoing a very difficult but dynamic transition to ... the oil and gas industry of the 2020s," Tertzakian told Day 6 host Brent Bambury.

"I'm actually fairly upbeat about what that oil and gas industry looks like as we go forward."

To hear more from Peter Tertzakian and Duncan Kenyon, download our podcast or click 'Listen' at the top of this page..