The Lloydminster Rotary Club’s final meeting of 2018 featured a guest speaker to discuss the realities of pipeline safety.
Chair of the Lloydminster Region Health Foundation, Darrel Howell, has worked the oil and gas industry for many years. Howell spoke to Rotarians about what he calls a public relations problem between the public and fossil fuels, and how they can be better advocates for the oil and gas industry.
“I’ve felt for a number of years that we’re not doing enough to promote our oil industry,” says Howell. “At one time I thought maybe it wasn’t that serious, but the last few years have indicated how serious it is.”
Howell says that the bad publicity the oil industry gets causes lots of opposition and that it’s causing much of the job losses in the industry.
“We’ve got a wonderful industry, the most environmentally responsible industry in the world in my opinion,” adds Howell. “We need to get that message out there, and I was trying to help do that in my own way.”
Howell told Rotarians that they can better speak for the industry by becoming more informed about it’s realities.
“If something comes out that’s just not correct, then challenge it,” says Howell.
Howell believes that the common misconceptions about Canada’s oil and gas sector come from groups with special interests, trying to hurt the industry.
“I think it’s been a well-managed campaign, with money, primarily from the United States, that’s come into Canada,” says Howell. “People that are campaigning for various things, sometimes I think they need something to concentrate on, and they’ve landed on the oil industry.”
Howell hopes he made an impression on those listening, adding that people like him are partially to blame for bad publicity.
“I think technical people don’t tend to think very much about public perception,” says Howell. “The oil industry is run by very technical people, typically an engineer like me, and you’re thinking about building things, improving production and solving problems.”
Howell hopes his presentation brought a little more awareness to Rotarians and improved their ability to counter anti-oil statements.