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Alberta adds more money for petrochemical diversification projects

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has appointed three experts to work with the energy industry to try to find solutions to close an oil price gap that is costing the province tens of millions a day. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Chief Billy Joe Laboucan tour a culture camp after signing a historic land deal with the Lubicon, in Little Buffalo, Alta., on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON — The Alberta government is expanding a royalty credit program to support petrochemical upgrading.

Premier Rachel Notley says the province is adding $600 million to promote upgrading projects that she says will create jobs and boost the economy.

A total of $1.1 billion will now be available in future royalty credits through the petrochemicals diversification program.

The program, developed in 2016, previously committed $500 million in royalty credits and helped to build Inter Pipeline’s $3.5-billion petrochemical complex east of Edmonton.

Notley says the province has received 23 applications for proposed upgrading projects.

She says a short list will be created and decisions will be made in the coming weeks.

Notley announced Monday she has appointed three experts to work with the energy industry to find ways to close an oil price gap that is costing the Canadian economy $80 million every day.

Oil from Alberta is selling about $45 a barrel less than West Texas Intermediate in the United States.

Notley said Tuesday that until the price differential is closed and new pipelines are built to move a glut of oil, the province needs to do what it can to help the economy.

“I’ll fight the pipeline battle until it is done. You can count on that,” she said Tuesday in a speech to the Rural Municipalities of Alberta. “But at the same time, I have determined that we must take greater control of our own economic destiny.”

The Canadian Press