alberta oil price

Alberta is freaking out after historic plunge in oil prices

Global oil markets fell by more than 30 per cent today, and to say Albertans are concerned would be a severe understatement.

Talks between the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies broke down dramatically as of late, ending the cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Russia that has supported oil prices since 2016 and leading to an all-out price war between the two countries, according to the Edmonton Sun.

As a result, the global standard oil price has dropped as low as $31.02 a barrel — down from about $60 a barrel at the beginning of the year.

As of Monday morning, prices for West Texas Intermediate crude fell to US$32 a barrel and Brent crude dropped to $36.93

According to the Sun, the Alberta treasury loses $355 million in revenue for every $1-a-barrel drop in the average price over the entire year.

In anticipation of the global oil price drop, Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage wrote on Twitter Sunday that the government is closely following the situation as well as its impacts on Albertans.

"There are challenges ahead but our energy industry has lowered costs and become efficient over the years," she wrote

"Albertans are resilient and we’ll get through this."

Alberta premier Jason Kenney also took to Twitter to comment on the situation.

"OPEC’s decision to drive down prices has very serious implications for the Alberta & Canadian economies," he said. "Our energy producers are now more efficient, innovative and resilient than ever. But we all need to work together to get through what may be a very challenging time."

But many are frustrated that the situation has gotten to this point after years of unsuccessfully advocating for the province to diversify its economy. 

"With oil prices plummeting and investors shunning oil and gas stocks, I’m so very grateful the @Alberta_UCP gov’t doubled down on our oil and gas economy while making big cuts to the post-secondary institutions that could diversify it #whatcouldgowrong #abpoli #ableg #cdnpse," one resident wrote on Twitter today.

"I have been saying for years that we need to diversify our economy, because if we put everything on oil, the OPEC countries can still plummet the price here in Canada," another wrote.

Back in October, Alberta's finance minister Travis Toews called diversifying revenues away from oil and gas a long-term "luxury."

Lead photo by

Kurt Bauschardt

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