The Canadian fossil industry is up in arms that not a single oil and gas company has been approved for a federal bridge loan to get them through the economic crash brought on by the pandemic, nearly three months after Finance Minister Bill Morneau said relief was “hours or days away”.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is warning that “some companies will have to turn to less-safe options to survive the COVID-19 slowdown,” The Canadian Press reports, if the funds don’t show up soon.
“Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan says he wants the loans to be ready as soon as possible, but says he also has been told that the government’s COVID-19 wage subsidy has been very helpful in keeping oil companies afloat while they wait,” CP adds.
CAPP’s vice-president of fiscal and economic policy, Ben Brunnen, “says he knows the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada are working hard to get the terms of their loan programs together,” the news agency writes. But “both agencies are looking at programs that backstop loans from a company’s normal bank or lending company, which Brunnen says is making the design a little more complex.”
Brunnen acknowledged that global oil demand fell by more than one-sixth at the height of the pandemic, and is not expected to recover until well into next year.