SARNIA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug. 15, 2013) - The Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, in a luncheon speech today to the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, emphasized that the expansion and diversification of Canada's energy markets is a priority of the Harper Government. The Minister highlighted how the energy sector is crucial to jobs, economic growth and prosperity, and outlined steps the government is taking to ensure continuing environmental protection and strong safety standards in the energy sector for the benefit of Canadians.
"Global energy demand is expected to increase by 35 percent from 2010 to 2035, and Canada is well-positioned to support that demand," said Minister Oliver. "But without the infrastructure to move our product to where it is in demand, our oil will be stranded. It is therefore a strategic economic imperative that pipelines be repositioned and built - to the west, south and east."
Canada is confronting a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on natural resource development to create jobs and growth. Canadian crude oil production is expected to double by 2030. New pipeline capacity will enable Canada's growing production to access new domestic and foreign markets.
"Energy market diversification is about more than reaching new international markets. It's also about expanding markets right here at home in Canada," said Minister Oliver. "Therefore, the government believes delivering Canadian crude to Central and Eastern Canada is important for our future. We support the opportunity for our refineries to process more Canadian oil, generating Canadian jobs and making our country less reliant on expensive foreign oil."
Minister Oliver stressed that pipeline safety is integral to the government's plan for Responsible Resource Development. Every pipeline project must undergo an independent regulatory review to ensure it is safe for Canadians and safe for the environment.
Last month, Minister Oliver announced the federal government's intention to strengthen Canada's pipeline safety regime by enshrining the principle of the "polluter pays" in legislation. The government also increased annual inspections of oil and gas pipelines by 50 percent and doubled the number of annual comprehensive audits of oil and gas pipelines so that potential safety issues are easier to identify before they occur. As well, the government introduced tough new financial penalties for companies that violate environmental laws.
While in Sarnia, the Minister will tour INTEGRA Technologies Ltd. and speak with workers about the contribution of Canada's energy sector to jobs and the economy. Minister Oliver will emphasize that the Harper Government continues to encourage market diversification in order to support jobs and economic growth in Canada and Ontario.
Minister Oliver will also meet with the Mayor of Sarnia, His Worship Mike Bradley, to discuss the importance of the energy sector to the region.
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