CNRL says uncertainty over new Alberta government delays its plans
By Nia Williams
CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO: Quote), one of the biggest producers in the Alberta oil sands, said on Wednesday it is delaying setting out detailed spending plans due to uncertainty about the energy policies of Alberta's new left-leaning government.
Premier Rachel Notley's New Democratic Party (NDP) swept to power in Alberta earlier this month, ending 44 years of Progressive Conservative party rule in a win that unsettled many oil industry players in the Western Canadian province, the biggest source of U.S. oil imports.
The NDP has pledged to raise corporate taxes and review the complex royalty rate system that governs how much producers in Alberta pay to the provincial government.
CNRL, Canada's No.1 independent oil producer, had planned to hold an institutional investor open house on June 17 but said that will be deferred until greater clarity on government policies allows the company to finalize spending plans.
"Due to the current uncertainty surrounding the government of Alberta's review of royalty, taxation, environmental and greenhouse gas policies, detailed future capital allocation plans for each of the company's assets cannot be finalized at this time," CNRL said in a statement.
Instead the company will hold a conference call on June 17 outlining its strategy in the current low oil price environment.
Speaking to reporters in Calgary, Premier Notley said that despite the company's decision to hold back on its forecast, she has no plans to force her government to speed up work on new policies
"In order to deal with the issues we're going to take a thoughtful, considered, intelligent approach to moving forward," she said. "We're going to do it with a great deal of consultation ... but to suggest you never change anything ever, ever, ever going forward I don't think is particularly responsible."
(Additional reporting by Scott Haggett; editing by Jonathan Oatis; and Peter Galloway)
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