Posts Tagged ‘Joe Oliver’

A pipeline, a pipeline, my kingdom for a pipeline

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

by Felix von Geyer

Canada needs more pipelines to enable the country’s economy to export its land-locked energy resources and enable economic growth, Canada’s Finance Minister and former Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver told the annual Conference de Montreal/International Economic Forum of the Americas on Monday.

“We have much to be proud of but there are many challenges,” Oliver told the opening of the 20th International Econmomic Forum of the Americas as he highlighted that Canada’s resources comprise 18% of gross domestic product (GDP) with Alberta’s oil sands proving much of that driver, he said.

That is not enough. Canada’s oil and gas must be further developed within a landlocked country to enable it access to markets, notably South-East Asia, especially as looming US energy independence has started to stifle demand for Canada’s fossil fuels. On an economic scale, uncertain US economic growth and weak European growth remain risks to Canadian economic growth. Oliver took time to point to Canada’s two largest provinces Ontario and Quebec for not proving their economic potential, particularly in terms of job increases.

In a subsequent press conference, Oliver was adamant that a market for Canada’s oil and gas existed in countries such as Japan, China and South Korea. Russia’s invasion of Crimea and the continuing threat to Ukraine’s remaining territorial sovereignty has also placed increased value on Canada’s potential as an oil and gas exporter, but now to Western Europe where countries are looking for energy independence from Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

“Europeans knew they were excessively reliant on Russian oil and gas,” Oliver told, stating that six European countries had become reliant on Russian gas due to the initial low price.

“Canada is an obvious reliable source for oil and gas,” said Oliver, “but we need pipelines that would achieve that objective – not immediately – but in the near-term.”

Canada’s oil and gas resources remain controversial, especially as Environment Canada predicts the country’s greenhouse gas emissions to reach over 800 million tonnes by 2035 through increased oil sands production, leaving the country in a rogue position amid international action to combat man-made climate change. Former Environment Minister Peter Kent withdrew Canada from the Kyoto Protocol in 2011 to avoid the country being held to account for failing to reduce its emissions 6 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. By 2035, the country is predicted to produce at least 33% more emission above 1990 levels.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, acknowledged Canada’s role as an energy-producing nation but asked for oil growth to be turned into green growth during her lunchtime talk at the Conference de Montreal. Her address included Oliver in the audience as well as former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Québec’s provincial Prime Minister Philippe Couillard. Growth needs to be balanced, she said and, while Canada’s energy potential could increase GDP by 2 percent if it developed the necessary transport infrastructure to unleash not only South-East Asian markets but also European ones; “attention is needed to take care of the environment,” she stated.

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government is scheduled to make a decison on the controversial Northern Gateway Pipeline cross the country’s Rocky Mountain range and sensitive water resources to reach the port of Kitimat in northern British Columbia where tankers would transport Canada’s energy to South-East Asia.

Approval for the Keystone XL pipeline has been suspended pending a Nebraska Supreme Court decision on the proposed route. The pipeline would cross much of the United States’ largest water aquifer, the Ogallala Aquifer. Republican Senators have recently introduced legislation to Congress to speed the approval of the pipeline that according to Congressman Ed Markey would only benefit the so-called Koch brothers, owners of Koch Industries, who own the export terminal in Alberta and the receiving refinery in Port Arthur, Texas. Port Arthur according to Markey is an enterprise zone meaning the refined petroleum products would be sent out for export, with no taxes being paid to federal or state governments in the US nor being sold to fill the gas tanks of US motorists.


Canada to slash environmental red tape in pursuit of half trillion dollar boom to 2020

Friday, June 15th, 2012

by Felix von Geyer in Montreal

Canada will reduce environmental red tape, promote free trade and investment as it pursues the energy and mining boom on the back of Asian economic growth estimated at half a trillion dollars over the next ten years, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver told the annual Conference of Montreal International Voice of the Americas Tuesday.
“One project, one review” will be the aim of Stephen Harper’s Conservative government as it looks to change and repeal environmental legislation or regulatory red tape as part of its “Responsible Resource Development” to allow for environmental assessments to be compiled and approved within a two-year time frame, said Oliver.
Oliver quoted the International Energy Agency’s 2011 World Energy Outlook as he asserted the importance Canada can play as an energy superpower, that energy demand would be 30 per cent higher over the next 25 years, with 90 per cent of that growth coming from “non-OECD” countries, he said.
Oliver did not mention the IEA’s findings in that report that the current global energy infrastructure was 80 per cent of the way to exceeding safe levels of climate change and that unless there was a change in the energy mix, by 2017 the energy infrastructure would be 100 per cent locked-in to surpassing 2 degrees Celsius increase in global average temperatures.
Instead, Oliver noted that Canada was now the third largest energy producer in the world with virtually all petroleum exports currently going to the US Gulf Coast; Canada is also the world’s primary potash producer for fertilizer and in the top five producers for a range of minerals from cadmium to cobalt, zinc, aluminium, nickel and so on.
Latin America formed half of Canadian mining assets he said with Chile accounting for $18 billion alone.
Reforming the environmental assessment process would allow for companies to have greater business certainty said Oliver and furthermore would allow Canada to transform from an energy superpower to a “responsible energy superpower” that would include increasing pipeline inspections by 50 per cent to 150 inspections per year. Last week a pipeline spill in Alberta’s Red Deer river displaced 500,000 litres of sour crude into the local environment.
Oliver also told journalists in a subsequent press conference that Canada expected the US to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that crosses the United States’ strategic Ogallala aquifer after November’s presidential elections, stressing that the government expects it to be approved.

Canada will not embargo China over energy in any US-China conflict

Friday, June 15th, 2012
by Felix von Geyer in Montreal
Canada would honour its commercial and contractual obligations in the event of any future conflict between the United States and China, said federal Natural Resources Minister, Joe Oliver on Tuesday.
While Canada looks to enrich its relationship with its southern US neighbour whose trading relationship is valued at $1.6 billion a day, Oliver explained: “We need to diversify,” he said.
Asia’s burgeoning demand is now an important strategy for Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, said Oliver who stated that there was more oil and gas supply coming from North America than there is domestic demand.
“China remains a high priority; India is important,” said Oliver.
With the exception of oil from Myanmar, much of China’s energy and trade routes are shipped through the Malacca Straits between Indonesia and Malaysia. Any future dispute between China and its neighbours over contested sovereignty over territories such as the Kurile Islands, the Spratley islands or any conflict with Taiwan would mean a US-led blockade of the Malacca Straits to embargo China’s energy and other supplies would not stop Canada from shipping liquified natural gas and oil sands crude across the Pacific in the future.
Asked whether Washington could now expect Ottawa to bend to its will and place any embargo on China over energy supplies, or whether Canada would instead demand greater sovereignty rights over the disputed Beaufort Sea or the North West Passage shipping route, Oliver replied: “We honour our commercial and contractual commitments.”
Pressed on the same point Wednesday, Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast who is also Canada’s Minister for the Pacific Gateway did not directly disagree with Oliver’s position. However, he cautioned that the US would continue to remain Canada’s largest relationship as could be witnessed in its security, trade and investment relations and that there is no reason to believe that relationship will change. “I spend more time in the US than elsewhere,” said Fast.
Fast was quick to add however that it is in Canada’s interest to diversify and deepen overseas opportunities but stressed that: “We would not retreat from our US relationship but want to strengthen it,” he said.