The CEO Poll: Fuel for thought II

Canadian business leaders on energy policy.

Business leaders give the federal mini-budget high marks.

Former EnCana CEO Gwyn Morgan and co-founder of Canadian Hunter Exploration Jim Gray are calling for increased government investment in the energy sector, and most CEOs polled by COMPAS Inc. agree.

The 113 Canadian business leaders who participated in the web survey expressed a great deal of worry over the future of the world’s oil supplies. Increasing demand from developing countries is creating a challenge for the whole planet, they believe. A strong majority also share the concerns of Morgan and Gray over the unreliability of supply — about 80% of global oil production takes place in politically shaky nations, and 60% comes from countries where fields have reached peak production.

But the CEOs also feel that Canada is in a better position than any other country to benefit from the energy supply crisis. “The use of fossil fuels will not go away in the near term,” wrote one respondent. “We need to use what we now have, and treat the need to find replacement sources as high priority.”

Most of the respondents want both levels of government to commit more money to the energy sector. That includes developing the oilsands and making investments in nuclear, hydro and wind power.

Some of the CEOs weren’t entirely supportive of using public money to fund the work of oil companies, however. “It seems the oil companies are not being hurt economically by theshortage and should use their own funds to generate their huge profits,” wrote one respondent. Another CEO lamented the lowly status of alternative energy sources in Canada compared to hydrocarbons: “As long as governments and large corporations make billions off of these sources, other alternatives will not be utilized.”

Many other respondents emphasized the need to invest in renewable energy sources. “Imagine how well our economy would run if we had abundant supplies of cheaper electricity generated from renewable sources,” wrote one CEO.