ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland and Labrador -- Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Danny Williams, opened the Newfoundland Ocean Industries Association's annual conference in St. John's on June 19 with a message of optimism.
Williams pointed to recent industry successes in the province as evidence that the oil and gas industry is alive and well, highlighting Husky's White Rose extension as positive news for the region. "Husky's success will be our success," Williams said.
Williams also addressed issues surrounding the province's attempts to increase its share in revenues from hydrocarbon production. "I am confident that we're on the right track," he said. Williams wants Newfoundland to have an equity position in future oil and gas developments. "My ultimate goal is for Newfoundland as a province to be debt free."
Looking ahead, Williams sees new projects in the works. "After a brief, but necessary hiatus of over a year, the Hebron project is being discussed again," he said, expressing his belief that a decision could be made on the heavy oil project some time this summer.
The Premier also discussed some of the issues that need to be addressed for the province to be successful in the global market, including the need for a regulatory framework that attracts investors while bringing critical resources to Newfoundland and Labrador. There can be no more "giveaways," he said.
Williams wants the province to be a center for R&D as well as decision making. "The industry is more than barrels and dollars and cents," he said.
Despite the rather contentious relationship the province has at present with the federal government, Williams remains convinced that the province will prosper. "I am very, very, very optimistic about the future of the province's oil and gas industry," he said.