New energy infrastructure ‘strategic imperative’ for Canada – by Carrie Tait (Globe and Mail -August 28, 2013)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

CALGARY — Oil and gas companies need to diversify their export markets because new discoveries south of the border will temper demand for Canadian energy, say the country’s natural resources ministers.

Joe Oliver, Canada’s minister of natural resources, met with the majority of Canada’s energy and mining ministers Tuesday in Yellowknife at their annual meeting. The group emphasized the importance of opening export markets in the Asia-Pacific region, which requires new infrastructure.

Energy proponents have long argued new pipelines must reach tidewater so Canada can charge more for its products because it would bring access to more global customers. Now the industry and politicians are increasingly calculating the impact of surging oil output in the United States, as production soars in places like North Dakota and Texas.

The shift in focus shows how Canada’s energy ministers are trying to strengthen the argument for export pipelines. Mr. Oliver noted Canadian energy exports to the United States will continue to grow, but at a slower pace. This means support for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which Prime Minister Stephen Harper once called a “complete no-brainer,” may shift to other projects. Proposed pipelines to the east and west coasts would allow tankers to move oil and gas products to Asia. All proposals, however, particularly for pipelines, come with opponents.

The U.S. “has found vast amount of shale gas and tight oil and in the future will not need us as much as they have in the past,” Mr. Oliver told reporters after the conference. “The U.S. market remains an important market for Canada, but it is not going to be growing at the pace that it had been growing.”

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