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Abundant Canadian Reserves Targeted for Export

Abundant Canadian Reserves Targeted for Export

Canadian business and government energy representatives assured a Washington audience last week that the immense Canadian reserves and strong market ties between the U.S. and Canada spell long-term supply security for U.S. consumers.

Canadian Energy Minister Ralph E. Goodale put total Canadian recoverable reserves at between 504 and 617 Tcf, and pointed out that current annual production is only 5.7 Tcf. That adds up to "enough for both Canada and export demand well into the future," Goodale said. Exports in 1997 were 2.9 Tcf. And Canada will continue to make its reserves available. He said much of his nation's economic recovery-the "Maple leaf miracle" - is based on its energy production and promised the marketplace will be allowed to determine supply and demand without undue government involvement.

Energy is just one portion of the "integrated North American market...the largest and most lucrative market in the free world," Goodale said. He spoke to a meeting for producers and government officials hosted by the Natural Gas Supply Association and the Canadian Petroleum Association at the Canadian Embassy in Washington.

"We're long on pipe, not short on supply," advised Norman McIntyre, executive vice president of Petro-Canada, responding to doubts that Canadians will be able to fill all the new export pipelines being built. He acknowledged the pipes may not be filled immediately, but pointed out the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin "has doubled its estimated supply of natural gas over the past 20 years, in spite of long periods of stagnant demand, low drilling levels and export prices that declined from $5 to, at one point, 85 cents(U.S.)." Canadian production "time and again has exceeded expectations," he added.

That excess Canadian production may be needed if oil and gas prices continue on their current course and U.S. producers continue to pare their drilling budgets.

Meanwhile U.S. producers don't want to see any artificial hyping of the market through the imposition of excessive environmental standards. While the production is available to meet currently forecast markets, it would be impossible to meet the requirements if the Kyoto environmental protocol is implemented, according to Don Niemiec, Union Pacific Resources vice president.

"According to an analysis performed by EIA, in order to meet the carbon reduction targets in the Kyoto protocol, coal-fired electric generation would have to drop by as much as 75%. And gas-fired generation - primarily from increased use of highly efficient new gas combined-cycle plants - would grow 76%." Niemiec told the group the U.S. would need more than 6 Tcf of additional natural gas supplies a year to fuel such increases.

Ellen Beswick

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