Oil by rail has been climbing steadily in Western Canada as pipeline restrictions continue. (National Energy Board)

B.C., Alberta drop in oil and gas investment ranking

Global survey puts nine U.S. states in top 10

Western Canada’s pipeline struggles, regulations and taxes have dropped Alberta and B.C. down in an international survey of petroleum executives rating their attractiveness as a place to invest.

B.C. was the lowest ranked Canadian province in the survey, 58th out of 80 in the “policy perception index” of the survey, as 80 per cent of respondents “cited the high costs of regulatory compliance in B.C., and 81 per cent cited political instability in the province as deterrents to investment,” according to the 2018 Global Petroleum Survey released Thursday by the Fraser Institute.

Alberta ranked 43rd in this year’s survey, a decline from 14th world-wide in 2014. Nearly 60 per cent of executives cited Alberta’s high taxes, and more than 70 per cent were concerned about Alberta’s high cost of regulatory compliance.

RELATED: Alberta buying rail cars to move stranded oil

“Investors are saying very clearly they prefer the competitive taxes and regulatory regimes of the energy-producing American states over Canadian jurisdictions,” said Ashley Stedman, co-author of the survey.

Stedman said the 2018 survey was completed before LNG Canada green-lighted its $40 billion liquefied natural gas export project and pipeline from northeast B.C. to Kitimat. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose government has taken over ownership of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline from Alberta to B.C., has touted the LNG Canada project as the biggest private sector investment in Canadian history.

The B.C. government has waged a public and legal battle against the Trans Mountain expansion since the NDP and B.C. Greens formed a minority government last year.

The survey reflects the U.S. ascent to one of the largest petroleum exporting countries in the world, including LNG production as well as crude oil, as American-based foundations target protests on Alberta oilsands and pipeline projects.

Nine out of 10 of the top jurisdictions for investment appeal are U.S. states, including Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Wyoming, North Dakota, Alabama, Montana and Louisiana.

U.S. President Donald Trump has cut business taxes to erase Canada’s previous advantage, pushing Ottawa to increase its tax breaks to compete for investment.


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