Ten years ago, as I was settling in to a most enjoyable life in Saskatchewan, things were oh so different than today. Next door in Alberta, they were debt free, and the sky appeared to be the limit when it came to oil prices. The future was possibly even brighter in Sask, because of other valuable commodities like potash, and the golden age of Roughrider football was just getting underway.
Now, in 2016, Alberta is wrestling with a budget deficit of $11 billion, thanks to the collapse in oil prices. Brad Wall is also using more and more red ink on his province’s bottom line, and I’m told that he is so discouraged, that he will definitely NOT be a candidate when the next election is held in 2020. The Roughriders? Well it’s still early I guess.
Many of the millennial pundits who weren’t old enough to shave a decade ago, would have us believe that the days of oil and gas are numbered, that the future will be alternative energy sources like solar and wind, plus electric cars that will drive themselves.
I came across some interesting thoughts from a guy named John S. Watson, the big boss of Chevron Energy. He joined the company in 1980, and he’s seen it all before, more than once. Watson says Chevron is all in favour of alternatives, because no doubt they will figure out a way to profit from them. But he says don’t put your gas-burning buggy up for sale just yet.
Oil prices have dropped 50% or more, no fewer than five times in those 36 years, and Watson sees absolutely nothing that persuades him prices will not rebound eventually, making it profitable to once again drill for black gold. Right now more than 50% of the world’s energy comes from oil, and another 30% comes from that dirty black stuff called coal. More than 1.2 billion people survive on this planet without electricity, and 2.7 billion burn things like garbage and dung to cook their food every day.
What goes around comes around.
I’m Roger Currie