Harper Government Touts Northern Gateway Benefits While Announcing Trade Mission

6 Apr

By Peter O’Neil, Vancouver Sun April 3, 2013

Harper government touts Northern Gateway benefits while announcing trade mission
 Douglas Channel, the proposed termination point for an oil pipeline in the Enbridge Northern Gateway project, is pictured in an aerial view in Kitimat . The coastal city is now on the forefront of the province’s energy boom, which has been predicted to bring $181 billion in investment in natural gas to B.C. between 2012 and 2035.

Photograph by: Darryl Dyck, The Canadian Press Files , Postmedia News

OTTAWA – The Harper government touted the benefits of Enbridge Inc.’s proposed $6.5 billion Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline to Kitimat while announcing in Vancouver Wednesday the launch of a new trade mission to Asia.

Trade Minister Ed Fast, speaking at the Pacific Energy Summit, said he and Minister of State Alice Wong will lead a mission of Canadian businesspeople to Japan and China April 7-12.

Fast said he will meet with his Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, to discuss Japan’s recently-announced interest in joining negotiations leading to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement with the U.S., Canada, Australia and a number of other Asia-Pacific countries.

Executives with 19 companies will join the trade mission in Japan, and 11 in China.

“The trade leadership shown by Japan’s new government truly is a positive sign for the entire global economy,” Fast is to say, according to a draft of the speech provided to The Vancouver Sun.

Fast also stressed in his speech B.C.’s potential to meet Asia’s energy needs with up to five Liquefied Natural Gas projects now being developed.

In addition to natural gas riches “Canada’s oil sands have enormous potential to fuel demand throughout the Asia-Pacific region.”

Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway project must still pass the “rigourous” joint National Energy Board-Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency review that’s due to be completed by the end of the year.

But if it does the project could deliver 525,000 barrels of oil a day to Asian markets.

“There is, therefore, considerable incentive on both sides of the Pacific to make oil pipeline and B.C.’s LNG projects work,” according to Fast.

“Canada does not currently export LNG to Japan and exports very little crude oil and petroleum products there.

“We want to change that. We must change that.”

Fast’s speech also stresses Canada’s vow to reduce by 2020 Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent from 2005 levels, even though a Pembina Institute report Tuesday suggested that this goal will be almost impossible to meet given projected growth in oil sands and LNG production.

The Harper government has at times appeared cautious about making firm statements that suggest it backing any specific oilsands pipeline, and there are currently two being developed. Kinder Morgan is also pitching a $5.4 billion project to twin its existing pipeline from the Edmonton area to Burnaby.

Last summer, for instance, Heritage Minister James Moore criticized Enbridge after a scathing U.S. regulatory agency’s report on the company’s failures during a massive spill in Michigan in 2010.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver doesn’t tend to mention either project in speeches, even though he has long stressed the need for Canada to find a way to get diluted bitumen to markets other than the U.S.

However, Oliver also has shown no hesitation, when faced with direct questions, to promote the financial payoff if the projects pass environmental reviews.

“In respect to Northern Gateway what we see are tremendous economic benefits, the creation of tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions or billions of dollars to governments starting with the government of British Columbia and an opportunity for First Nations to participate in the economic and employment benefits,” Oliver said in Vancouver in February while replying to a question after a speech.

Republished from the Vancouver Sun: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Harper+government+touts+Northern+Gateway+benefits+while+announcing+trade+mission/8189060/story.html


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