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Alberta to Give Companies Incentives to Drill More Conventional Oil Wells

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EDMONTON—Alberta is adjusting its rules on oil production limits to give companies incentive to drill more conventional wells.

Energy Minister Sonya Savage says that starting immediately any oil produced from a new well will not be subject to the limits.

The province expects the change will spur producers to drill hundreds of new wells and that each well will create about 145 jobs.

“While we want an orderly exit out of curtailment altogether, our communities and drilling sector cannot wait,” Savage told a legislature news conference on Nov. 8.

“That is why were taking this action today to encourage investment and bring back jobs.”

In September, Alberta produced 480,000 barrels a day of conventional oil. About one−fifth of that was from operators working under the curtailment rules.

There are exemptions in place so that small producers are not affected by the limits.

The move is the latest action by the government to try to increase investment and employment in Albertas oil and gas industry and reverse years of declines in drilling.

Due to pipeline bottlenecks, the former NDP government limited the amount companies could produce to prevent a surplus such as the one last year that sharply reduced prices for Alberta oil.

The United Conservative government has since extended the limit by a year to the end of 2020.

But Savage the expectation is that by the time extra oil from the new wells is ready for shipping, there will be more pipeline capacity, such as Enbridges retrofitted Line 3 to the U.S. Midwest, and more rail cars. That should avoid another surplus that would hurt prices for Alberta oil, she said.

“We wouldnt be doing this if we were not confident that this [change] could handle it,” said Savage.

Last week, the province announced it was easing production limits for companies shipping any extra crude by rail.

Premier Jason Kenneys government is trying to offload $3.7−billion in contracts signed with rail companies by the previous NDP government to buy and ship more oil by rail to ease the bottleneck.

The province has said that deal was a money−loser for taxpayers.

Asked about when the rail contracts may be offloaded, Savage said: “Were getting very close. Were anxious to get those contracts finalized, but at this point were still in some complex negotiations [and] very Read More – Source