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Oil group says it can work with new Alberta NDP government

CALGARY -- Alberta’s NDP sweep was met with cautious optimism from the province’s oil-and-gas sector.

With premier-elect Rachel Notley’s message of energy reform resounding with voters, Alberta’s energy industry says it's prepared to play ball with the province’s first-ever NDP government.

“At the end of the day, Albertans have spoken quite clearly, and we have to respect their choice,” said Jeff Gaulin, vice-president of communications with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). “Our industry works with governments of all political stripes across Canada. It really is indifferent for us to work with any government in Alberta.”

Energy policy, pipelines in particular, were well-worn planks in every major party’s platform this election.

Gaulin said market access and pipeline-building are the two overriding concerns facing Alberta’s oil industry -- issues he said Notley has gone on record in supporting.

“We’re very encouraged by that, and we’re looking forward to working with her on the building of Energy East, the Keystone XL and the Trans Mountain expansion into Vancouver,” he said.

In light of the free-falling price of oil, staying competitive in the global petroleum market is vital, Gaulin said.

“We anticipate that premier Notley will respect the challenge that Alberta is under,” he said.

As for Notley’s promised review of oilsands royalties, Gaulin cautioned against injecting more uncertainty into an already uncertain market.

“I respect premier Notley’s desire on behalf of all Albertans to get the best value of our resources, but now is not the time,” he said. “We’re losing jobs daily in our industry. We’re at risk of losing capital investments which keeps Albertans employed.”

Both Enbridge and TransCanada Corporation, responsible for the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL projects respectively, declined invitations to comment on Tuesday’s election results.

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