Message from the Minister and
Energy, mining and petroleum resources drive British Columbia's dynamic and modern economy. B.C. is experiencing renewed development of these important resource sectors within our thriving economy. B.C.'s real GDP grew by a solid 3.5 per cent in 2005, slightly faster than the 3.4 per cent growth rate forecast in the September Budget Update. This growth ranks B.C. first in Canada in per capita job creation in 2005. A strong focus on the government's Great Goals has helped the Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Resources generate initiatives to seize the opportunities and face the challenges of our current economic environment.
The 2005/2006 annual service plan report gives me an opportunity to highlight some excellent results achieved by the Ministry. The government has worked to establish the groundwork for long-term prosperity and we are now reaping the benefits of that work. I can only conclude, with both domestic and international interest in our energy, mining and petroleum resources, that we are well on our way towards sustaining a thriving and competitive provincial economy.
Expansion in these resource sectors is due in part to a streamlined regulatory environment and increased investment in infrastructure. A good example of achieving streamlined regulations is the recent modification of commingling procedures in the Deep Basin. The outcome of this streamlining will reduce the producer's completion costs, increase the amount of natural gas reserves that can be produced from a well, and increase conservation of the resource.
In November 2005, I announced a review and renewal of the Ministry's 2002 Energy Plan. This review, now well underway, will culminate in an expanded and long-term plan to guide the development and management of B.C.'s energy and petroleum resource sectors. The renewed Energy Plan will also identify ways that British Columbians can conserve our energy resources to ensure their long-term sustainability.
In managing our natural resources, the Province must ensure those resources are developed responsibly for the benefit of all British Columbians. One of our Great Goals is to lead the way in sustainable environmental management. We are demonstrating our commitment to this Great Goal by developing best practice guidelines, mine site inspection programs, and a focus on clean and alternative energy and energy efficiency programs.
Last fall, we released our Energy Efficient Buildings Strategy, the first of its kind in Canada. This Strategy establishes voluntary and cost-effective efficiency targets for new and existing buildings, while promoting energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency provides options to consumers to manage rising energy costs and improve the indoor air quality of buildings.
Communities across B.C. are participating in our Community Action on Energy Efficiency programs, and our Remote Communities Strategy targets energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in ten First Nation communities based on community energy plans.
Our activities also focus on the Great Goal of education. The Ministry's programs which provide oil and gas and mining job fairs and educational funding lead to real job opportunities for British Columbians in well-paying growth industries. These programs are offered in partnership with the private sector.
By focusing the Ministry's efforts on environmentally responsible economic growth, we contribute to the other Great Goals that make life in this province one of the best in the world. Each year a portion of resource revenues is used to encourage healthy living and provide funds to support the most vulnerable in our society. The Ministry continues to play an important role in sustaining our quality of life and in ensuring the energy future of British Columbians.
The 2005/06 Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Annual Service Plan Report compares the actual results to the expected results identified in the Ministry's 2005/06 – 2007/08 Service Plan Update. I am accountable for those results as reported.
Honourable Richard Neufeld
Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources
June 30, 2006