BC oil and gas incentives to top $1.25 billion

Federal transfers for capital projects will generate an extra $232 million in provincial revenue.

VICTORIA — BC’s auditor general says doing business with the oil-and-gas industry has cost the province’s coffers about $1.25 billion in royalties even before the product has been pulled from the ground.

The incentives to be paid to the industry were just some of the issues highlighted by auditor general Carol Bellringer in her 2013-2014 summary of BC’s financial statements.

Bellringer says the government gives the oil and gas industry financial incentives to develop the sector that have risen to $1.25 billion in the last five years and will be discounted from royalties when oil and gas is actually pulled from the ground.

The auditor says because of the “inappropriate deferral” last year of federal transfer payments for such things as capital projects, the government’s books should have show an extra $232 million in revenue.

BC comptroller general Stuart Newton disagrees with the auditor over the payment transfers, saying the government recorded some of that revenue as a liability over the life span of the project.

Bellringer also says the government made $601 million last year through the sale of assets and expects another $200 million in revenue from similar sales in the current fiscal year.

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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