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Brussels — The Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources was in Brussels, Belgium, today to discuss the European Commission’s proposed implementation of the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD).
Minister Oliver met with many European Commissioners, including Günther Oettinger, Commissioner for Energy; and Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship.
“Canada’s oil sands are a major global resource — a resource that will make an increasingly strategic contribution to energy security and economic stability,” said Minister Oliver.
Oil sands crude is a heavy crude oil with GHG emissions and chemical properties similar to those of other heavy crudes found and produced throughout the world and currently consumed in Europe.
“While we do not object to real, tangible measures to reduce GHG emissions for transportation fuels, we do object to discriminatory treatment currently contemplated in the FQD, singling out Canada’s oil sands–derived fuels without sound scientific justification,” added Minister Oliver. “Canada continues to seek and expect an approach that is science-based and provides fair and equal treatment.”
The proposed FQD treats unconventional crude as higher-intensity feedstock and assigns higher GHG values for oil sands crude, which would render oil sands crude uncompetitive in the European Union market.
Canada has a world-class environmental protection regime and is committed to working toward enhancing and strengthening it to ensure that natural resources are developed responsibly.
Measures that the government is putting in place means that Canada is one of the only major oil producers in the world with a transparent environmental monitoring regime and regulations that demand strong environmental performance.
Canada aligned its GHG reduction target with the United States and called for a reduction of 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. It is estimated that Canada is already halfway to meeting this target.
Between 1990 and 2011, Canada reduced emissions per barrel of oil produced in the oil sands by 26 percent. Environmental requirements also include water quality, air quality and restoring disturbed land to a natural state. The oil sands are now subject to world class environmental monitoring and reporting.
Coal is the largest source of GHG emission, and Canada is the only country in the world with regulations banning the construction of new coal-fired power plants that use traditional technology. And we now require all existing coal plants to shut down on a schedule that reflects their economic life, the first country in the world to do so.
“Canada is a safe and stable source of energy,” concluded Minister Oliver. “Our Government has a plan for Responsible Resources Development that creates jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity while protecting the environment.”
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Office of the Minister of Natural Resources Canada
Natural Resources Canada
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