The Alberta government has announced six new projects aimed at creating thousands of jobs in the oil and gas sector and attracting billions in investment in the province.

Premier Rachel Notley made the announcement during a speech in Calgary on Thursday morning.

“We have determined that we must take more control of our economic destiny. We are not a branch for the U.S. economy and frankly, I don’t want my kids or your kids having the same conversation 30 years from now. The time has come to supercharge our energy upgrading here in Alberta.”

Partial upgrading is a process that reduces the thickness of oilsands bitumen, reducing costs for the industry while increasing pipeline capacity by approximately 30 percent.

But that isn’t the only way that the Notley government is working to help out the oil and gas sector, particularly in drilling operations.

“When we introduced carbon pricing, we exempted activities that were critical to oil and gas development. This included exempting drillers from the marked fuel that you use but it didn’t cover all of your on-site activities.”

Notley said that she has since spoken with Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, the Minister of Energy, and has now made all work done by drillers exempt from carbon pricing.

“In addition, drillers will be exempt going forward and are eligible for rebates right back to when carbon pricing began.”

She says that even still there are some bigger issues that need to be dealt with in terms of the energy sector.

“Things are tough in the oil patch right now. We know that, we do know that. Since the oil price collapsed three years ago, it has been a very hard road. With the differential reaching new highs in the past few weeks, we know that new headwinds are blowing.”

Notley says that the differential, which makes Alberta's oil $45 cheaper on the market, poses a real danger to the Canadian economy because it continues to cost the industry millions. She says that there is really only one long term solution to resolve the problem and that’s through building pipelines to get more value from our resources.

But that doesn’t mean that nothing can be done right now.

“I’m not about to sit back and watch millions of dollars get sucked into American bank accounts. That money should be going to Canadian schools and Canadian hospitals.”

She says she’s written to the PMO to ask Ottawa to prioritize the shipment of oil by rail behind grain shipments until new pipelines are built.

“The bottom line; Ottawa needs to join Alberta to help ease the economic pain that Alberta played no part in causing.”

Even if the federal government is unwilling to help, Notley said that the province’s resources would get to market one way or another for the best price possible.

“If it takes buying trains to do it, then that’s what we’re going to do.”

The proposals for partial upgrading are worth nearly $5B in private sector investment and have the potential to create almost 10,000 construction jobs with 500 more jobs during operations.