Tax breaks coming for shallow natural gas producers

By Charles Lefebvre
July 8, 2019 - 5:31pm Updated: July 8, 2019 - 8:09pm

 

DUNMORE, AB — The Alberta government giving municipalities a one-time option to reduce property taxes on shallow gas wells and pipelines in their region.

However, one of the regions impacted say it’s still waiting for more details for the province about what the program will like.

Last week, the province revealed municipalities can reduce industrial property taxes on shallow gas wells by 35 per cent for the 2019 tax year.

The relief is to help natural gas producers, who are being affected by higher operating costs and a low price for natural gas.

There are approximately 65,000 wells that will qualify for the tax break in Alberta, with the majority in 15 regions. Locally, Cypress County, the County of Newell and the County of 40 Mile are the regions where these wells are located.

Tarolyn Aaserud, the chief administrative officer of Cypress County, says the county has approximately 23,000 wells out of 29,000 that can be deemed shallow gas wells.

She says the county is still speaking with representatives from the government to know what the impact will be on the county, but adds it will help a struggling industry.

“I think the province is open to making sure that we have a sustainable industry, and so is Cypress County,” she said. “We want Alberta to be strong, sustainable, and so the guidance of the province to do this is very welcoming.”

Al Kemmere, the president of Rural Municipalities of Alberta, welcomed the initial announcement.

“For the tax relief for this year, I think we’re fine with it,” he said. “We’ve had about six weeks of conversation on this with the government, from where the conversation started to where we ended up, the municipalities affected by it are going to more-or-less be in a net zero position, so I don’t think we have too many bigger concerns.”

The province says it will provide $23 million in education taxes to municipalities.

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