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Canada's Big Role in Continental Energy Security

By Cellucci, Paul | Canadian Speeches, September-October 2003 | Go to article overview

Canada's Big Role in Continental Energy Security


Cellucci, Paul, Canadian Speeches


The U.S. government fully recognizes Canada's key and expanding role in continental energy security. Canada is by far the largest supplier of U.S. energy imports, and destined to become larger. The oil sands of northeastern Alberta provide Canada with the world's second largest supply of available oil reserves, exceeded only by Saudi Arabia. Current oil production of one million barrels a day from the oil sands is expected to double within five years. A natural gas pipeline from the Mackenzie River Delta on the Arctic coast is anticipated relatively soon. A later pipeline to move very large U.S. gas reserves from the North Slope of Alaska will have to cross 1,500 miles of Canadian territory. From a speech in Calgary, May 25, 2003.

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I became the Ambassador to Canada in the spring of 2001. President Bush came to office three months previously with a plan to renew United States energy policy. And he moved quickly. Less than a month after I got to Ottawa, the administration produced the national energy policy, also known as the Cheney Report. The report was a product not just of the vice-president and the secretary of energy, but of the complete cabinet team. It had members from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Departments of State, the Interior, Agriculture, Transportation and other federal agencies.

This completely defied cynical predictions about the administration being, supposedly, preoccupied with oil. The report to-ok an absolutely comprehensive long-term lo-ok at our current and future energy options. No less than 42 of its 105 recommendations dealt with conservation and environmental goals, which the administration is now implementing in seeking to get approval from those that require law changes from the congress. Since then, President Bush's administration has launched major initiatives on climate change and energy technology, both of which put international co-operation at the top of the agenda.

The Cheney Report recognized Canada's key importance as an energy partner. We said that we would work together vigorously to make a great relationship even better. That report was received very positively throughout Canada, which added to its momentum. Through all the immediate challenges of the war on terrorism and our military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, this administration has seen that North America not only can be, but must be, more secure in energy terms.

We can see that Canada's immense energy potential has huge implications in this context. And when we meet colleagues who do not know this, we tell them about it. Which brings me back to reporting some go-od news.

On April 7, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham addressed a major gathering of Canadian business leaders in Washington. I know that some of you were with us then. The secretary went through the list of areas in which Canada is important to the United States' energy needs: the oil sands, petroleum products, natural gas, electric power, coal, uranium, energy services, energy technology, research co-operation, and so on.

Secretary Abraham confirmed that the United States will participate in the ITER project, which is an unprecedented international collaboration for the development of a fusion reactor, one in which Canada has already taken an important role and is a candidate for the siting of a major facility.

The secretary also highlighted our bilateral co-operation on carbon sequestration and on hydrogen fuel cells. In fact, the Department of Energy officials visited Ottawa later that same week to encourage Canada to participate in the carbon sequestration leadership forum. The day following Secretary Abraham's appearance, Undersecretary of State Alan Larson appeared before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee to brief U.S. senators on the international aspects of U.S. energy security.

Undersecretary Larson told the senators that energy co-operation with Canada and Mexico is a top priority of our energy security policy.

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