A positive economic outlook from one of Canada’s largest oil and gas lobby groups has the former President of the Grande Prairie Petroleum association feeling cautiously optimistic.

On Wednesday, CAPP forecasted a 14 per cent increase in upstream natural gas and oil investment for the 2021 fiscal year, representing capital spending $3.36 billion higher than 2020, reaching approximately $27.3 billion across Canada.

Rob Petrone says it is great to see investment in Alberta and believes after the last several years of a downward trend, it’s nice to have some optimism.

“If you roll the clock back a year ago, it was not very rosy and there was no end in sight,” he says. “All indications are positive, and when there is certainty like this, this is where industry and investors will invest money again and [begin] developing resources.”

Petrone says the momentum must turn into something tangible, however, as a continued turnaround would allow the lifeblood of the industry, workers, to get back into more stable employment.

He adds the last step for a full rebound comes from the consumption side of supply and demand, suggesting that more good news could be on the horizon if life returns to a semblance of pre-COVID-19.

“Especially on the gas side of things, a lot of fuel is used in aviation, and with the cutbacks due to COVID-19…but with the vaccines coming out now, hopefully, things get back to somewhat normal, whatever that may look like,” he adds.

The total increase in investment in Alberta is expected to increase roughly 18 per cent, up to $11.8 billion in 2021 from around $10 billion in 2020.