Ottawa’s oilpatch help is slow and complicated making survival uncertain for many companies

OTTAWA — Representatives from Canada’s oilpatch say they don’t know of a single energy company that has yet benefited from any of Ottawa’s COVID-19-inspired loan programs.

Several company owners and industry advocates are painting a grim picture of the state of the country’s energy sector today at a virtual hearing of the House of Commons finance committee.

Peter Kiss, the president of Morgan Construction and Environmental Ltd., says he has laid off 80 per cent of his staff, watched his revenues crash 87 per cent and still considers his company one of the lucky ones because there is still at least some money coming in.

Tristan Goodman, president of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada, says some of the loan programs promised from Ottawa have the right intention but the money is still not flowing, and qualifying is unnecessarily complicated.

The combination of a drastic drop in demand for fossil fuels because of the pandemic and an oil production war between Saudi Arabia and Russia forced oil prices to record lows in recent months and left many Canadian producers on the verge of collapse.

The sector’s advocates warned the committee that if the government doesn’t make the loan programs less complicated, companies aren’t going to survive.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2020.

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