Canadian Energy Centre aims to improve oil and gas reputation

Alberta's energy war room

Alberta's energy war room is now a legal entity with a new name, a new managing director and a plan to be running by Christmas.

Energy Minister Sonya Savage said the Canadian Energy Centre is now incorporated and former journalist and United Conservative party candidate Tom Olsen has been hired as managing director.

Savage said the centre will focus on improving the reputation of Alberta's oil and gas sector and challenging those it believes are delivering misinformation.

"There will be social media. There will be traditional media," Savage said Wednesday.

"There will be speaking engagements, anything that you can get that can be utilized to get the story out because over the last decade that story has been framed, and the narrative has been set, by opposition to our oil and gas sector."

The Calgary-based war room will have a budget of $30 million.

She said Olsen, who worked as a senior staffer under former premier Ed Stelmach, will set up the office and hire staff.

Savage, Environment Minister Jason Nixon and Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer are the board of directors.

There will be three departments: a research group, a data analysis wing and a rapid response team to challenge misinformation in real time while promoting information about Alberta's oil and gas sector.

Savage said the war room won't target or demonize specific critics.

"This is about telling our story, setting the narrative, disputing the narrative opposing our oil and gas sector," she said. "It's not about going after individual people."

She said it will be called the Canadian Energy Centre instead of the Alberta Energy Centre because it will have to take the message to investors and other decision makers around the world.

"And we also know that when the energy sector prospers, the entire country prospers. So it is more than just an Alberta issue. It's a Canadian issue."

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