Barely a day after former cabinet minister Jim Prentice told attendees at the Oil and Money Conference in London that Canada needs to establish more international markets for its oil and gas, the Indian High Commissioner to Canada said that his country would be a ready customer for that oil. Nirmal Verma said that India would be interested in investing in the proposed Energy East Pipeline that would take Alberta crude to Atlantic ports, once the regulatory issues are resolved and the project appears ready to move forward. Indian investment could be in liquefaction plants, he suggested.
India and Canada have just signed a nuclear cooperation agreement that will allow Canada to resume selling uranium to India for reactor fuel. That trade in uranium had been suspended for decades but is now set to resume.
As the world’s fourth largest consumer of energy, India is a natural market for Canada, but Canada is not yet a major energy supplier. Now that energy discussions between the two countries are taking place at the ministerial level, more opportunities could be identified.
In Prentice’s remarks to the Oil and Money Conference, he emphasized that Canada was lagging in building the necessary infrastructure to support the expansion of Canada’s markets from the traditional US-dominated pattern that has been in place for decades. Enbridge, Canada’s largest transporter of oil, now says it is talking with BC natural gas producers about building a pipeline to the coast. The CEO of Enbridge, Al Monaco, said his company was “pretty bullish” on natural gas.
Several major international energy companies are interested in exporting LNG from Canada, including Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, BG Group and CNOOC.