Famed FirstEn­ergy an­a­lyst re­tires, dis­heart­ened by Cana­dian oil pol­icy

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION - MICHAEL BEL­LUSCI

Martin King is spend­ing his fi­nal day at GMP FirstEn­ergy after nearly 22 years with the firm, frus­trated at the di­rec­tion Cana­dian en­ergy pol­icy is go­ing.

Known sim­ply as “Marty” through­out Al­berta’s oil­patch, King cur­rently serves as di­rec­tor of in­sti­tu­tional re­search, fo­cus­ing on oil and gas, where he’s watched the prov­ince re­cently man­date an OPEC-style pro­duc­tion cut to boost weak do­mes­tic com­mod­ity prices.

At age 52, King ’s not a fan. “Per­son­ally I was kind of op­posed to a govern­ment in­ter­ven­tion, I mean the mar­ket was al­ready send­ing the price sig­nals needed to cur­tail” out­put, and pro­duc­ers had al­ready be­gun to an­nounce cuts in re­sponse to Canada’s pipe­line bot­tle­necks.

As Al­berta’s oil and gas in­dus­try both fights for in­vestor at­ten­tion and grap­ples with the need for more pipe­lines, King joins a frus­trated group of en­ergy pro­fes­sion­als voic­ing their dis­plea­sure with Canada’s en­ergy pol­icy — or at least vot­ing with their feet.

For­mer GMP FirstEn­ergy vicechair­man Jim David­son also re­cently an­nounced his re­tire­ment from the firm.

There “seems to be no un­der­stand­ing or ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the

en­ergy sec­tor in terms of what it con­trib­utes to over­all GDP and rev­enue gen­er­a­tion for the coun­try,” King said, adding that in­vestors are show­ing “de­spon­dency” to­ward Cana­dian en­ergy, send­ing cap­i­tal else­where. And lately com­pa­nies are start­ing to speak up, too.

Just last night, after cut­ting its div­i­dend in re­sponse to Cana­dian oil price volatil­ity, Cal­gary-based Car­di­nal En­ergy Ltd. en­cour­aged its share­hold­ers “to voice their dis­ap­proval with the Al­berta govern­ment and their lo­cal fed­eral mem­ber of Par­lia­ment on the lack of progress on the con­struc­tion of new ex­port pipe­lines out of Western Canada.”

But King isn’t giv­ing up on the role Canada can play in global en­ergy, adding that the do­mes­tic in­dus­try “is still a vi­brant in­dus­try ... it’s some­thing that’s still go­ing to be play­ing a role whether (pol­i­cy­mak­ers) like it or not 10, 15, 20, 25 years from now.”

King spent the ma­jor­ity of his ca­reer at Cal­gary-based en­ergy in­vest­ment bank First En­ergy Cap­i­tal, which merged with Toronto head­quar­tered GMP Se­cu­ri­ties in 2016.

For to­day, King’s tak­ing the pol­icy de­bate in stride. “I re­ally have no idea what I’ll be do­ing ” in the fu­ture, King told Bloomberg early Fri­day. “I’m sure peo­ple will be reach­ing out to me or I’ll be reach­ing out to them .”

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