Around 100 people stopped by the Geo Centre on September 1 to listen and discuss about the relationship between oil and energy in the province.

Petrocultures, a national oil research group from the University of Alberta which aims to support, produce, and distribute research related to the social, cultural and political implications of oil and energy use on individuals, communities, and societies hosted their third annual Petrocultures: The Offshores conference at Memorial University from August 31 to September 3, culminating with an oil panel being held downtown at the Geo Centre on September 1.

The panel consisted of Delia Warren (Iron & Earth), Dr. Helge Ryggvik (University of Oslo), Paula Graham (Ph. D student at MUN), Sue Jane Taylor (Scottish artist), Imre Szeman (Petrocultures founder), and Caron Hawco (Former Statoil president).

Fiona Polack, an associate English professor, says because of the relationship that the province has with the oil industry, MUN decided that it would take the opportunity to host the event to get people to learn more about the oil industry.

“We really wanted to have a public conversation,” said Polack.

“We built a lot of programs to have for this conference, but this is the main one.”

Province should divest oil immediately, says MUN activist

Ph.D student Paula Graham is a long-time activist about the oil industry, especially concerning the usage of petroleum gases.

Since 2003, oil has been a high commodity for the province’s revenue and the job market. Although the price of oil is on the decline, it has brought in some reasonable revenue last year with $3.3 billion in industry spending on exploration and development in 2015, $570 million estimated payments to the province from offshore oil production in 2015/16, and a total of 200,000 barrels per day of oil produced in the first quarter of 2016.

Graham says that while oil is bringing in reasonable revenue, she believes that the government should look into other resources to help the province’s lackluster economy.

“If we don’t manage the transition soon, it will be too late,” she said.

“The people who will experience the most disruption during a transition away from petroleum are the people with the most power to prevent or delay this transition.”

To find out more about Petrocultures, visit: