US and Canada discuss energy security and environmental issues

On 22 April, Greg Rickford, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, was joined by Dr Ernest Moniz, United States Secretary of Energy, and Pedro Joaquin Coldwell, Mexico’s Secretary of Energy, for a panel discussion during CERAWeek 2015 in Houston, Texas.

This represents the second trilateral meeting of the three North American energy leaders. Last December, during their meeting in Washington, D.C., the ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding formalising trilateral cooperation for greater cooperation and integration with a long term goal of attaining North American energy security.

The leaders highlighted the need to maximise North America's competitive advantage and to enhance sharing of best practices in developing unconventional oil and gas, and also the importance of building safe, modern infrastructure to meet the rising demand for energy in North America and around the world.

During his introductory remarks, Minister Rickford emphasised Canada's economic fundamentals and the Harper Government's actions in creating one of the world's most favourable investment climates by lowering taxes and opening new markets through free trade agreements.

Canada's overall tax rate on new business investment is the lowest in the G7. The Harper Government's low tax plan has contributed to Canada's position as the second-fastest growing clean energy market in the G20.

Minister Rickford also discussed Canada's contribution to global energy security through innovation and efficiency in the oil sands. He noted that Canada has the ability to deploy its energy expertise, technology and products in partner countries to advance responsible resource development and use.

The Minister reinforced the benefits of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which the US State Department has acknowledged is environmentally sound and will create jobs and replace insecure, and same or higher emitting, sources of crude from countries such as Venezuela with a secure, reliable supply from Canada, North Dakota and Montana.

Energy cooperation highlights

  • Canada and the US enjoy the largest energy relationship in the world, worth more than US$140 billion annually in energy trade.
  • The US Department of Energy announced that it will help advance carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology at Shell Canada's Quest CCS project in Alberta.
  • Minister Rickford helped inaugurate two new oil pipelines that are expected to double access for Canadian crude to the US Gulf Coast.
  • Minister Rickford and Secretary Moniz signed an agreement improving collaboration in civilian nuclear energy research and development.
  • Canada, the US and Mexico signed a Memorandum of Understanding enhancing the continental priority of North American energy cooperation in three specific areas.
  • Presidential permit issued for the US portion of a cross-border hydro line that could meet 10% of New York's electricity demand.
  • Canada and the US signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance energy collaboration in 11 areas.
  • Canadian and US geological services participate in a joint mission to Kyivevaluating Ukraine's accessibility to, and quality of, oil and gas geological data.
  • Canada and the US have already harmonised environmental standards ranging from vehicle emissions to home energy efficiency.

"North America is a secure, responsible and reliable producer and supplier of energy. We have deeply integrated economies, abundant reserves, shared critical energy infrastructure and common values that underpin strong collaboration. We are enhancing our continental energy collaboration in a way that supports North American energy security, jobs and environmental performance. The North American energy sector is undergoing a profound transformation that for the first time puts our energy independence within reach."

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

Published on 24/04/2015

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