EDMONTON—Federal Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford said time is of the essence for Canada to get its oil and gas to markets because other countries are getting into the game.
Rickford told a business crowd in Edmonton that Russia is spending a lot on exploration, while England, Poland and Romania are also sitting on a large supply of shale gas, and they’re looking to be energy powers as well.
The minister said he’s looking at 2017-18 as a medium-range goal to get Canada’s energy to overseas markets.
He said the United States has been told that while it is Canada’s top trading partner, Canada is also looking to sell its products elsewhere.
Rickford also said Canada is working aggressively to make sure proposed pipelines meet stringent standards for reliability and safety.
Rickford said it’s a view shared by Alberta’s new premier, Jim Prentice.
“Seventy-two thousand kilometres of federally regulated pipeline has a 99.999 safety record and we’re building on that. And it seems to me that Premier Prentice is focused on that and so I see a lot of opportunity and potential in those regards to move those products to tidewaters,” he said.
Rickford delivered a similar message at the U.S.-Canada Energy summit in Chicago on last week.
He stressed that TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline remains a priority for Canada, and said U.S. approval will create jobs and economic growth on both sides of the border while increasing North American energy security.
“In such an uncertain world, it is more important than ever that we continue to work together as partners, act together as friends and lead together as allies,” Rickford said.
The White House has yet to approve the project amid massive environmental protests.
The project proposes to ship oilsands crude from Hardisty, Alta., to markets in the American Midwest and the U.S. Gulf Coast.