Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Erin Weir on the Nexon Takeover

October 3, 2012

Last week, Erin Weir emerged as the only progressive voice addressing the proposed Chinese takeover of Nexen from a Saskatchewan perspective.

Weir highlighted the deal’s implications for our province with the following letter to the editor in The Globe and Mail (page A10):

“Your editorial (Nexen Takeover Must Be Good For Canada – July 24) states that the resources “belong to the Crown in the right of Alberta.” In fact, the company has as many wells in Saskatchewan as Alberta.

In particular, Nexen acquired the former SaskOil after this Crown corporation was privatized. The resources still belong to the people of Saskatchewan, but ownership of the production assets has drifted from the provincial government to a foreign government – perhaps not what the apostles of “privatization” intended.”
- The Globe and Mail, Page A10, July 25, 2012

Erin elaborated his concerns about the proposed takeover in a blog post that day:

“Nexen extracts a substantial portion of its Canadian natural gas from Saskatchewan. It is also expanding shale-gas extraction in BC. Neither Saskatchewan nor BC would benefit from a possibly larger head office in Calgary, but both would be exposed to the risk of CNOOC underpricing their resources. Saskatchewan’s government has been conspicuously silent on the proposed takeover.”

The Regina Leader-Post’s financial editor, Bruce Johnstone, interviewed three people about Nexen: former Wascana Energy CEO Frank Proto, former federal finance minister Ralph Goodale and United Steelworkers economist Erin Weir, “who is considering running for the leadership of the provincial NDP.” Erin’s interview was printed in The Leader Post (page D1) and Saskatoon StarPhoenix (page C5):

“Regina-based economist Erin Weir says the proposed $15 billion US takeover of Nexen Inc. by Chinese state-owned oil company, China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), would have winners and losers, with Saskatchewan one of the latter.”

- "USW's Weir says deal bad for Sask", Regina Leader Post, July 26, 2012

That evening, Erin discussed the Chinese bid, the Northern Gateway Pipeline and provincial resource royalties on CBC’s The Lang & O’Leary Exchange:
Erin's work was also featured in some progressive Saskatchewan blogs including Greg Fingas' Accidental Deliberations and John Warnock in The Bullet:

“And Erin Weir notes that whatever benefit Alberta may receive from a head-office promise, Saskatchewan looks to do nothing but lose out if the sale is approved.”
- Accidental Deliberations Blog

“Erin Weir, a [former] economist with the Steelworkers, has reminded us that the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Corporation (Sask Oil), once a Crown corporation, was privatized beginning with Grant Devine's Conservative government, became Wascana Energy, and then was taken over by Occidental Oil corporation, which then became Nexen. So much of Nexen's land holdings and oil and gas wells in Saskatchewan will now end up as Chinese assets.”
- The Bullet, No. 672

The Saskatchewan NDP needs a leader who can speak to major economic and business developments confronting our province as they happen. Erin has proven himself to be a timely, credible and progressive defender of Saskatchewan’s economic interests.

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