Canada must develop oil sands for its own energy security and for that of other countries, according to a report released today by the Fraser Institute.
The report was authored by Kenneth P. Green, Senior Director, Energy and Natural Resources, from the Fraser Institute, and Stephen Eule, Vice President for Climate and Technology at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy.
Saying that Canada has fallen behind the United States in energy security, the authors then go on to ask what the term "energy security" really means:
“Energy security is one of those things that everybody seems to want, but few really want to define. When talking about energy security, are we talking about security of energy supply? The security of having stable energy prices? Security of energy transportation infrastructure? Security in avoiding trade with unstable or hostile regimes? Environmentally benign energy? All of the above?”
Recent US policy has led to higher oil and natural gas production, and this results in “one of Canada’s greatest external risks" (its ability to continue moving energy exports to markets), the authors write.
Resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline “also poses a challenge to activity seen as critical to preserving Canada’s energy security--finding access to markets other than the US,” the authors say.
The study provides an excerpt from a collaborative report published by University of Ottawa Capstone Seminar and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service that asserts Canada’s “tremendous potential” to improve the energy security of other countries.
Through further development of the oil sands in northern Alberta.
“Much will depend, however, on market conditions and the development of necessary infrastructure to bring this oil to international markets, including pipeline infrastructure to move this oil from Alberta to US markets via the Keystone XL pipeline and to Asian markets via the Northern Gateway pipeline to Canada’s west coast.”
But since the study was written, the Fraser Institute study authors note that key pipeline proposals "such as the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway projects remain in limbo...”
If further development of the oil sands is the key to energy security, the big challenge is in getting pipelines such as Keystone XL and the Enbridge Northern Gateway approved, they note.
It goes on to quote from the US Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Index of US Energy Security Risk, which “uses measures of political freedom (a proxy for reliability) and supply diversity to plot the security of world crude oil reserves.”
The Fraser Institute received more than $500,000 over the last decade in contributions from prominent US oil business owners, the Koch brothers, who own a large stake in the Alberta oil sands.