04 May 2006

Houston offshore oil and gas show: No Danny. No Ed. No John either?

From the Halifax Chronicle-Herald comes the news that no Newfoundland and Labrador government officials were present for the international news conference promoting Canada's oil and gas industry to reporters attending the Houston Offshore Technology Conference (OTC).

Business reporter Judy Myrden writes:
American reporters following the oil and gas industry noticed [Nova Scotia energy minister Bill] Dooks was the only Canadian government official present at the international news conference on the country'’s resource potential.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams and Natural Resources Minister Ed Byrne were unable to attend due to "scheduling," and Newfoundland had no government representatives at the conference, which they usually attend.

One oil and gas reporter asked: "Do I understand your message - we're Nova Scotia, we're not that other place that doesn't like the oil and gas sector?" Mr. Dooks shifted awkwardly and said: "I'm here to speak about Nova Scotia. I really can'’t answer a lot of questions about Newfoundland. The Newfoundland industry will have to work out their own situation." Hosting the news conference was Jean-Michel Roy, consul general of Canada in Dallas, who gave a brief overview of Canada'’s potential, mentioning only Alberta. On his last slide, he mentioned the possibility of LNG terminals being built in Canada. Nor did he jump to the microphone to explain Newfoundland.

The Newfoundland booth at the huge trade show, which is part of the annual Offshore Technology Conference, was displaying an industry magazine with the cover of an old, rusty oil drum with oil coming out of a spout. The headline: NO DEAL! Hebron Project Going Down the Drain? The magazine dedicated its issue to the failure of the negotiations.
Apparently, the Premier couldn't go because he was busy with Fishery Products International. Ed Byrne, who is the government house leader, had to stay home to shepherd the budget bill through the legislature.

Instead, Premier Danny Williams told the House of Assembly that intergovernmental affairs minister John Ottenheimer would lead the provincial delegation.

The news release on this seems to have vanished from the provincial government website.