By SAURABH CHATURVIDI
NEW DELHI -- Canada is focusing its attention
on India and other Asian countries as it seeks to reduce its
dependence on the US for exports of hydrocarbons, according to
the country's Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver.
The US is rapidly decreasing its reliance on
energy imports - including from its No. 1 supplier, Canada -
due to a production boom from unconventional sources owing to
advances in gas and oil extraction from shale.
Canada's search for alternative destinations,
including India, China and Japan, for its trove of hydrocarbon
resources coincides with India seeking stable supplies of oil
and gas to augment its own, relatively limited, energy
resources, which currently satisfy less than a quarter of its
"It is never smart to have one customer," Mr.
Oliver said in an interview here. "The US is going to need less
of our energy and they are also paying us at significant
discount to international prices."
India is particularly concerned
about securing supplies of natural
gas given rapidly dwindling production at its main gas
fields that is forcing it to increasingly rely on expensive
"We can be a stable partner to meet [India's]
energy needs," Mr. Oliver said.
Liquefied natural gas imports from Canada
would help India to diversify its energy supply beyond its
India has been making efforts to
increase supplies of crude oil and LNG
from Qatar, Kuwait and Iraq to compensate for reduced imports
from Iran in the face of sanctions imposed on the Islamic
Republic's trading partners by the US and the European
Canada exports 1.4 billion Canadian dollars of
energy products to India a year, accounting for more than half
of its total exports to the country. The two countries are
working out plans to triple their overall annual trade to C$15
billion by 2015. Mr. Oliver said Canada plans to triple its
energy exports to India in the coming years, but he didn't
specify a time frame.
Canada, like the US, has a glut of natural
gas from shale, with pipelines to the US currently being
its main export outlet. However, plans are in the works to
build up its LNG
infrastructure to rapidly increase its ability to export gas to
destinations including India, Mr. Oliver said.
Mr. Oliver, who is in India to meet with local
industry representatives and promote investments in his
country, said he welcomes Indian companies interested in
acquiring energy assets and entering into long-term business
partnerships in Canada - especially in the energy sector.
Mr. Oliver said that although China is taking
the lead in buying out energy assets worldwide, including in
Canada, "there is enough room for Indian companies."
A consortium of Indian state-run companies has
bid to acquire stakes in oil-sands assets owned by
ConocoPhillips in Canada that are valued around $5 billion,
senior executives at Oil & Natural
Gas and Oil India said on Sept. 25.
Mr. Oliver said that over the next decade,
Canada expects as many as 600 projects valued at more than C$650
billion in the resources sector to start production.
Dow Jones Newswires