Alberta climbs up the Fraser Institute’s oil and gas rankings
But Canada's petroleum capital still ranks behind Manitoba and Saskatchewan as a place to invest, according to a global petroleum survey
It’s not just oil and gas prices that can be volatile.
The business of ranking global jurisdictions as investment hot spots features plenty of ups and downs, too.
Take the case of Alberta’s slow rise up the Fraser Institute’s 2012 Global Petroleum Survey rankings.
In this annual survey conducted by the public policy think tank, Alberta was ranked as the 21st best oil and gas jurisdiction (out of 147) in the world to invest in.
That might not sound very impressive for a province that is the beating heart of Canada’s oil and gas industry. However, consider that in 2009, in the wake of the ill-fated “Our Fair Share” royalty framework the Alberta government was considering implementing, the province was ranked as the 92nd best (out of 143) oil and gas jurisdiction to invest in.
So how has Alberta been able to get back in the good books of oily and gassy firms around the world?
The Fraser Institute’s senior economist Gerry Angevine says Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s pledge to simplify regulatory procedures with respect to oil and gas drilling permits, project development and site remediation has certainly helped.
“Investors say they are less concerned about regulatory uncertainty, the cost of regulatory compliance, and regulatory duplication and consistency,” Angevine says in a press release.
Alberta still has a ways to go to catch up to its Prairie cousins, though. The survey ranked Manitoba as the best place in Canada for oil and gas investment. It finished fifth overall. Only Oklahoma, Mississippi, Texas and North Dakota finished ahead of Manitoba.
Manitoba also displaced Saskatchewan as the oil and gas investment darling of Canada, but Saskatchewan still ranked 13th overall.
It’s always tempting to say these rankings don’t mean a whole lot. Yet the survey results are based on the responses of 623 people representing 529 companies worldwide. And the survey was distributed to managers and executives of exploration and production companies around the world and to firms that provide support services to those companies.
So I would give the results some weight. And I’m sure the Alberta government, and Canadian companies looking for foreign partners to inject capital into their projects here in Alberta, are relieved to see the province fare better in the 2012 survey than it has in the past.