ARCHIVED - Minister Oliver: Atlantic Canada’s Energy Potential Has Never Been Greater

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October 4, 2013

SAINT JOHN — The Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today highlighted Canada’s plan for Responsible Resource Development and our strategic imperative as a country to support Canadian jobs, economic prosperity and the energy security of North America, while reaching new markets for our energy exports.

“Atlantic Canada’s energy potential has never been greater, and we must act now to capture the enormous opportunities,” said Minister Oliver. “Energy infrastructure that would bring resources from west to east would allow Canadian refineries to process more Canadian oil, enhancing our energy security and making our country less reliant on higher-cost foreign oil.”

The resource sectors already provide direct employment for approximately 52,000 Atlantic Canadians and support employment for thousands more in businesses and industries that benefit from their success. Our plan for Responsible Resource Development includes a number of initiatives such as implementing beginning-to-end timelines for project reviews and vigorous promotion of Canadian resources in countries with growing energy needs, including India, South Korea, China and Japan.

August’s meetings between federal and provincial ministers responsible for energy decided “that natural resources generate significant revenue for critical social programs and that there is therefore an urgent need to build the infrastructure to reach new markets for their natural resources.”

 “Natural resources currently generate $30 billion in tax revenue and royalties annually to help fund critical social programs like health care and education,” said Minister Oliver. “We know that 99 percent of Canada’s crude exports and 100 percent of our gas exports are to the United States, which has found vast reserves of their own and will require less Canadian resources in the future.”

Pipelines moving oil from the west to the east would be among the most expansive and ambitious stretches of energy infrastructure in the world. Our government’s plan for Responsible Resource Development is also helping enhance safety and cooperation on natural resource projects even further, and that work continues:

  • Introducing new fines that have come into force that will preventively address contraventions to environmental laws in the pipeline sector quickly so larger issues do not arise in the future, which can range from $25,000 to a maximum of $100,000 per day;
  • Increasing annual oil and gas pipeline inspections by 50 percent and doubling comprehensive audits of pipelines;
  • Creating a Tanker Safety Expert Panel that will review Canada’s current system and propose new ways to enhance Canada’s world-class tanker safety system;
  • Legislative measures that would require a minimum financial capability of $1 billion for all major crude oil pipelines; and,
  • Legislative measures that would increase absolute liability for companies operating in Canada's Atlantic and Arctic offshore to $1 billion.

“Atlantic Canada is ideally positioned to benefit from a wonderful opportunity to create jobs and economic growth, supporting the long-term prosperity of all Canadians,” added Minister Oliver. “This critical region is home to Canada’s largest oil refinery and several of Canada’s most iconic ports and is closer to the west coast of India than anywhere else in North America.”

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