Alberta Premier Rachel Notley will continue her travels in the U.S. next week, this time with a visit to Houston where she will take part in an annual energy-industry conference.

Notley's office says she will participate in a panel discussion on energy and the environment Monday at CERAWeek.

She will also meet with energy executives and policy makers on Tuesday, and will travel to Austin on Wednesday to meet with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Notley was in Washington this week to talk trade.

Trade between Alberta and the United States totalled more than $100 billion in 2015.

Goods worth about $80.6 billion were sent to the U.S. from the province that year.

Notley's office says the premier's meetings in Texas will highlight investment opportunities in Alberta's oil and gas sector and promote the province's Climate Leadership Plan.

"Missions like this are critical to build face-to-face connections with key players around the world, support our oil and gas industry and create new opportunities," Notley said in a news release.

Alberta Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd will also be attending the CERAWeek conference from Monday to Friday.

The premier's office says the estimated mission cost for the premier, three political staff, one public servant and a security detail is approximately $48,400. It says the estimate includes the carbon offsets that were purchased for each member of the delegation.

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Governments at all levels have committed to transitioning to renewable energy, yet instead of attending conferences on Alternate or Renewable Energy and getting in with it, they have decamped en masse to once again rub elbows with the worst of the worst (like Saudi Arabia), to lobby on behalf of multinational corporations, reminding everyone that global agreements mean nothing and it's Business As Usual in Canada. How many people did they take along and what will it cost? Will Trudeau admonish attending despots that there is angst among those being crushed underfoot? Because that was a really classy move last time.

There has to be some remedy beyond the sham of our elections, to force politicians to at least adhere to the platforms they were elected on, if not specific promises. Politicians that lie and completely misrepresent their plans cannot be allowed to stay in office and inflict their true agendas on the country. Campaign lying is FRAUD and they must be held accountable beyond the ballot box, not rewarded with years in power and a lifetime of platinum benefits. The planet can't afford 3 more years of this, never mind the FPTP elections to come.

"The American economy greatly benefits from the contribution of our energy exports." Rachel Notley

How true, and at the expense and demise of revenue generation and export capacity in Alberta.

Shale gas in the US is eliminating the need for Albertan gas exports to Eastern Canada. Likely why ConocoPhillips has put up $2 billion of natural gas assets in the WCSB for sale, along with numerous other operators trying to sell non-core assets.

Practically all that is left for Alberta is bitumen exporting, which is sold at deficit commodity price to US refineries.

Non US exports of bitumen have yet to materialize in any meaningful way, in fact, in numerous quarters, no bitumen or refined bitumen was exported to Non-US destinations. (NEB) The US, still remains our only steady customer, at the same time, is our greatest competitor. Alberta has known this for about a decade, since the beginnings of the shale revolution, which employs high volume hydraulic fracturing to access unconventional gas and oil resources, and have done nothing to alleviate the implications.

Did our Premiere go to Texas to grovel for market share? Or just to assure the US based majors that Alberta will continue to impoverish the public owners of the resource, to sell highly subsidized, unrefined, high cost, high risk bitumen, for them to make their obscene profit margins? Keeping corporate fascism alive and well, on public funding.

When the Notley government recently altered royalties, they implemented the lowest rate in the history of the province, less than 4 cents on the dollar.
Coupled with the estimated $50 billion in industry incentives, subsidies, tax and royalty allowances, exemptions and credits, and anywhere from $30 to $300 billion in inactive and abandoned liabilities, the fiscal outlook for the industry will be nothing but increased and unmitigated debt, devoid of opportunity.

I would implore the Premiere, Energy Minister and every reader to review the AER's ST-98, particularly the Supply/Demand forecasts. It appears that the provincial energy regulator does not see many increased opportunities for the industry into 2026, and most of the forecasting mentions competition from products derived from fracking in the US.

With Trump's America First policies on energy production, how will Alberta, with high cost, high risk, low productivity and low quality resources compete? Billions more in subsidies? Continued deregulation? What could be more frightening and unregulated, than the current play based applications implemented by the AER and endorsed by the NDP?

The provincial deficit will continue to increase significantly, and impacts and liabilities from unconventional oil and gas operations will continue unchecked and ignored and our elected officials will continue to rebuke all public interest mandates, to ensure industry is catered to.

Some comments from the report, credit AER:

"Alberta refineries are not projected to increase capacity, and the North West Redwater Partnership Sturgeon refinery is designed to process nonupgraded bitumen, so no additional Alberta demand is forecast for conventional crude oil." [This refinery is costing Alberta taxpayers, at minimum, $34.5 billion dollars, likely the most expensive per flowing barrel of refined product in the world at $170,000/barrel, with only a 50,000 barrel per day capacity]

"Exports [of natural gas] to the northeast and midwest of the United States have been declining for some time due to increasing U.S. shale production, particularly in regions that had traditionally been serviced by Alberta production. U.S. production continues to supply eastern Canada, further eroding Alberta’s market share. Removals are expected to fall to 73.6 million cubic metres per day (106 m3/d) in 2026, which is up slightly from the previous forecast of 70.6 106 m3/d as a result of oil sands demand being revised downwards."

"The continued focus by producers on producing natural gas in liquids-rich areas has resulted in an oversupply of propane in the Alberta market. This has been compounded by the reversal of the Cochin pipeline, which previously exported Alberta propane to markets such as the U.S. Midwest and Gulf Coast. As a result of the oversupply and subsequent low prices, producers have opted to leave components of the natural gas liquids, including propane, in the gas stream as a mix to be removed from Alberta." [Propane prices fell into negative values in 2015]

"Currently, Alberta’s crude bitumen removals are primarily sent to the United States via pipeline and rail. Information on the province’s petroleum pipelines and rail terminals can be found in the Transportation and Facilities section. While Alberta’s bitumen exports currently meet U.S. refinery demand, light-oil production in U.S. supply basins may result in a loss of U.S. refinery capacity available to process Alberta’s upgraded (lighter) bitumen. Heavy-oil refineries located in the U.S. Midwest and Gulf Coast areas could also convert their processing capabilities to lighter feedstocks, which would significantly reduce refining opportunities for Alberta’s nonupgraded bitumen. Demand for the province’s nonupgraded bitumen could also become further constrained if refineries shift towards taking on greater volumes of heavier blends from other suppliers, such as Mexico and Venezuela."

"Of the sulphur removed from Alberta, an estimated 27 per cent was sent to the United States and about 63 per cent was shipped offshore. Alberta offshore exports of sulphur face competition from inexpensive sulphur originating from the Middle East, including from the Shah gas plant in Abu Dhabi, from South Pars field in Iran, Kashagan field in Kazakhstan, and from the Barzan gas project in Qatar. Demand for Alberta sulphur is expected to continue to face competition.

International sulphur prices remain under pressure as a result of weak demand from the phosphates, petrochemical, and metals markets. As a result, in 2016 Free On Board Vancouver sulphur prices averaged an estimated US$82 per tonne, a decrease of 68 per cent from 2015."