A pair of high-profile Calgary politicians are in Houston, Texas this week, hoping to drum up business for the energy industry in the city and province.
On Monday, Mayor Jyoti Gondek left for the 23rd World Petroleum Congress, saying there are “a lot of things to accomplish.”
“There are many conversations to have with mayors of other urban centers who have declared climate emergencies,” Gondek said before boarding her flight.
“There’s a great opportunity to partner with the private sector and talk about their goals on emissions reductions and the role that we can play as a city to help them advance their mandate – just a lot of opportunity to meet with people in the same place to talk about things that are commonly valued.”
Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage was already in the southern state on Monday, touring the Enterprise Seaway terminal in Freeport, Texas.
Savage said she was looking forward to taking part in events like ministerial panels at the international petroleum industry get-together she described as a “friendly audience.”
“I’m here to position Alberta as being a global leader not only in ESG (environmental, social and governance) — but a global leader in their ability to supply these markets with products that they need,” Savage told Global News.
Canada’s consul general in Dallas, Rachel McCormick, tweeted she had taken part in presentations with Emissions Reductions Alberta and Calgary Economic Development, touting the use of carbon pricing to drive innovation and energy transition to create jobs.
The mayor hoped to change some of the narratives about the province while in front of an international audience in Houston, citing a “public perception issue.”
“I think it’s incredibly important to get out there and talk about the things that we have been successful at, it’s important to talk about the fact that we are a city that’s a center of excellence and energy transition, and focus on the positives,” Gondek said.
“That’s the message that needs to get out to not only the rest of Canada but the rest of the world.”
Less than three weeks ago, Calgary joined a large cohort of Canadian municipalities to declare a climate emergency. Gondek hopes that signal would bring increased investments to businesses and the city.
“We understand the amount of investment that’s going to be needed to make that change happen and that’s the kind of capital that I want to be talking about and attracting to our city,” she said.
Highlighting efforts like the net zero commitments from a coalition of oil sands companies, efforts to produce hydrogen and liquified natural gas was also on the agenda for the energy minister while at the petroleum congress.
Savage noted the demand at the Seaway terminal is being unmet.
“We have to continue to grow and increase production in Canada to get product to market,” the energy minister said. “So that’s the challenge down here: they need the product.”
“If they don’t get it from Alberta, they’re going to get it from somewhere else.”
Federal Environment Minister Stephen Guilbeault was in Calgary the weekend before the start of the petroleum congress, meeting with industry and local government representatives.
Gondek’s message to Guilbeault was congenial yet firm.
“I indicated to him that there was a willingness to work together with the federal government, as long as there’s an understanding that the targets we are setting are realistic, and it’s something that we jointly understand can be achieved,” Gondek said. “He was impressed to see the pathways to zero work that’s been done and he’s very interested in collaborating.”
Calgary will play host to the next world petroleum congress in 2023.