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2010/17 (a)

Backgrounder

Heavy Oil Working Group


At the Fifth Summit of the Americas held in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago in April, 2009, U.S. President Obama announced the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA). The ECPA is a voluntary mechanism that aims to bring countries across the Western Hemisphere together to facilitate the acceleration of clean energy development and deployment, advance energy security, and reduce energy poverty by sharing best practices, encouraging investment, and cooperating on technology research, development and deployment.

A ministerial-level symposium was held in Lima, Peru in June, 2009 to promote participation in the ECPA process and to identify areas in which countries were most interested in engaging. Under the ECPA, countries are encouraged to lead initiatives that promote clean energy, advance energy security, fight energy poverty and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Government of Canada initiated the Heavy Oil Working Group with leaders from countries in North and South America during the ECPA Ministerial in Washington, D.C., on April 16, 2010.

As the global supply of conventional oil decreases, the world will require new supplies from unconventional sources. While Canada’s oil sands are well known, other countries in the Americas also have heavy oil resources.

Heavy crude oil is more viscous than lighter crude oils and typically takes more energy to convert into products such as gasoline and diesel. It is referred to as "heavy" because its density is higher than that of lighter crude oils.

The Heavy Oil Working Group will serve as a forum for heavy oil producers and consumers in the Americas to exchange information on best practices and technological innovation. Potential country members of this group include Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, the United States and Venezuela.

Other possible partners include energy organizations and heavy oil organizations and industry in participating countries, as well as research groups and academia.

For the years ahead, the development of unconventional resources represents an important addition to the world’s fossil fuel supply. The Heavy Oil Working Group provides a unique opportunity to create a collaborative network of experts within the region, focus on technical cooperation and technological innovation and ultimately gain a greater understanding of the potential of heavy oil.


Media may contact:

Margaux Stastny
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-996-2007

or

Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-992-4447

NRCan's news releases and backgrounders are available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media/index-eng.php.