A report on the economic development benefits of the oil and gas industry, released today by Memorial University’s Harris Centre and the Oil and Gas Development Partnership (OGDP), highlights the results of discussions by over 100 industry, community, government and education and research stakeholders at a forum held in St. John’s in May 2007.
“The conference heard from participants from across Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Dr. Rob Greenwood, director of the Harris Centre. “It is the first time this province has had a forum specifically addressing the economic development potential of this growing industry.”
The participants concluded that there are two key priorities in advancing the contribution of the oil and gas industry to economic development in Newfoundland and Labrador:
1. The province must increase petroleum exploration and production across the board, both offshore and onshore. The sustained growth of the industry in Newfoundland and Labrador is the best way forward for all of the province’s stakeholders. A steadily increasing flow of oil and gas industry activity is seen as critical for businesses, communities and workers. The commercial sector needs a predictable growth curve so that businesses and industry can invest in the new skills and capabilities needed to deliver dependable long-term local benefits.
2. The province needs more information and dialogue around the ways in which the petroleum industry benefits the province, and how future benefits can be achieved. Even though the northeast Avalon, the isthmus of the Avalon, and the Burin Peninsula have experienced substantial direct benefits from the industry, it is commonly viewed as little more than a relatively short-term source of government revenues. Only with a greater appreciation and understanding of the direct benefits can individuals, companies and communities seek, and work together, to maximize them. This will be particularly important as activity increases off the south coast, in western Newfoundland, and in Labrador.
“Gaining a good understanding of the oil and gas sector is essential for such organizations as regional economic development boards and municipalities,” said Dr. Randolf Cooper, director of Memorial’s OGDP. “However, beyond that, we need a more precise way to quantify and qualify the ways in which the petroleum industry brings benefits to the stakeholders of this province. This conference demonstrated the important role Memorial University can play in this, increasing the potential benefits from this industry for all parts of our province.”
A full copy of the economic development benefits of the oil and gas industry report and the conference video files of individual presentations are available on the Harris Centre Web site at www.mun.ca/harriscentre.