President Obama recently made a policy statement focused on generating U.S.-based energy, citing the need for a cleaner power source—and denying Canada the permit it needed to build and activate the Keystone XL pipeline, intended to export a vast amount of oil-sands oil from Canada.
Here’s a quick quote from President Obama’s speech: “We’ve subsidized oil companies for a century. That’s long enough. It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that rarely has been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that never has been more promising.”
At the same time, Canada remains committed to its oil production industry which continues to see technological and process advancements every day. On the flipside from President Obama’s stance, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stepped forward in response and indicated a global initiative to expand its oil production and exporting efforts. In fact, he went so far as to label Canada as a “global energy superpower.”
Joe Oliver, Canada’s natural resources minister, backed up this perspective in another speech, stating: “Energy is a big part of Canada’s advantage. Energy now accounts for close to 7% of the GDP. Its importance as an economic driver will only increase in the future — because this country is an energy superpower in every sense of the word.”
Currently, Canada stands as the sixth-largest oil producing nation in the world, exceeded only by its natural gas, hydroelectricity, and uranium production. While the U.S. may not be coming Canada’s way for future oil demands, Canada is welcoming new energy partners with open arms, including Chinese investors and Asian export markets. Stephen Harper has already traveled to China multiple times, meeting with Chinese president, Hu Jintao, to establish talks about transporting oil to Asia via a Canadian port.
Unsurprisingly, Obama’s aggressive U.S.-only energy policy has seen some initial pushback from U.S. oil companies that are heavily invested in the Canadian oil industry and have enormous resources tied up in its global expansion. If the U.S. continues to sever energy ties with Canada, it will likely spur a large scale business repatriation effort in order for these major oil companies to maintain their presence in an increasingly international market. At the same time, Canada is being eyed askance for their newly aggressive energy stance, with some investors and analysts even going so far as to call the country “arrogant” in its approach.