Thursday, May 17, 2007

Oil royality hearings (1)

The hearings have brought forward the magic 5% number to play with; more of that later.

The royalty hearings have been attended by a number of citizens. Mostly they have shown the absolute shambles the mismanagement of this government has left this province in. As usual the seniors long term care facilities are at the brunt of it, one person citing residents forced to sit in their own filth and squalor for over eight hours at a time because the homes cannot get help to do the job properly.

It is also pointed out that the majority of this province is not touched by the oil wealth and are living pay cheque to pay cheque and not making it meet as cost spiral out of control.

The young people who came to this province in an attempt to get one of the fat jobs offered by the oil companies find themselves mired down in poverty.

They arrive in Alberta and need a place to live and food to eat. They must come up with a months rent in advance and a damage deposit for the place to live. To do this they take “temporary” employment with agencies. Being paid every day allows them to eat while they sleep in parks or ditches someplace. Meanwhile the prices spiral and they cannot break out of this mold! All bright, many young and well motivated trapped into an exploitive poverty cycle by the mismanagement of this government.

Chevron did an outstanding presentation in Calgary at the meetings. Their representative dropped the 5% carrot as far as what would be in their mind, a good increase in royalties.

It is worth while to note that Mr. Stelmach recently told the Journal the conventional crude oil is dropping from 25% to 20 % royalty and much has all ready be reduced to 20%. Because this government hides its dealing with the oil companies and guards them as official secrets it is hard to say how many companies have been reduced to 20%.

The reductions have been far reaching; this we know.

If Stelmach accepts the Chevron 5% increase suggested, it means only that Stelmach has given the oil companies further windfall profits of 5% while he sets up the hearings game. It will mean he cut the royality rates ahead of time so as there would be no change when he "put them up"

Also at the hearings one lady asked what happened to the Syncrude Firestorm project!

She points out Syncrude were going to sue the Government to get their additional Firestorm plant at the 1% royalty rate. The Government let it be known this was not a good thing as other companies may want to do the same thing. At the crux of this is the project a continuance of the original 1% deal or is it a new process not so covered by the 1%.

While this was going on Mr. Klein went fishing with the boys who were going to sue the Government and all the conversation of Firestorm dropped from the papers. The taxpayer has never been told what has happened. This deal is much bigger stinks worse than anything you have heard about the Liberals in Ottawa and yet, we do nothing.

The royalty regime is set up based on the B.T.U. capability of the fuel being sold. All the oil products are treated the same. It follows the oil royalties are the lowest in the world and they are the same basis as all the other royalties then the royalties are all low balled to a point we are being robbed, even while the supplies run out.

A 40% royalty is the bottom line for fair and at 40% it is still the lowest in the world.

John Clark
cyberclark@shaw.ca
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