Rich Coleman didn’t simply drop by the 2012 Dawson Creek Energy Conference on Thursday, September 20 to grab lunch, say a few kind words about the petroleum sector and proclaim Oil and Gas Week in British Columbia.
The Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas also had money on his mind, announcing the eleventh installment of the Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program, which consists of $120 million in royalty relief to encourage new infrastructure projects in the northeast corner of the province.
“Our Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program will result in new roads to help industry access areas while also supporting pipeline construction to move B.C.’s natural gas out of the field and to the marketplace,” said Coleman.
Eleven companies have been awarded royalty reductions to support 21 projects near Fort Nelson, Fort St. John and Dawson Creek, which are expected to aid the development of the liquid natural gas (LNG) industry in B.C., as well as create over 1,600 jobs.
“The Infrastructure Royalty Program will create service sector opportunities and support long-term road and pipeline needs for job creation,” said Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm.
The Province expects that these royalty reductions will mean $300 million in royalty revenues over the next five years.
Coleman also announced a new $1 million investment by BC Hydro for trades training programs at Northern Lights College (NLC).
“Our Jobs Plan is focused on creating family-supporting jobs across the province,” said Coleman, “and skills training is a key element.”
“We know there are going to be a lot of jobs to fill in the coming years,” added Pimm, “and these are just the type of initiatives we need.”
“For anyone looking to enroll in a college program, the related costs are always a significant consideration,” said NLC’s president and CEO Laurie Rancourt.
“We know this funding from BC Hydro will help make postsecondary education and training a viable alternative for more students in northern B.C.,” she added.
The funding will actually go to the Northern Lights College Foundation for student bursaries. Half of that amount will be devoted to bursaries for Aboriginal students.
“Funding to support those students who might not otherwise have access to postsecondary education is just another example of how BC Hydro is supporting local communities,” said Pimm.
“We have a major presence in the Peace region,” added Susan Yurkovich, executive vice president for BC Hydro’s Site C project. “And we understand the need for a skilled workforce. Our funding is intended to increase participation in trades training, which benefits students, industry and local and Aboriginal communities.”