At a recent meeting in Yellowknife of leaders of energy rich provinces, our Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver, said the economic opportunities that exist in this country would not last forever. Though our resources may be abundant, our technology, business and trade relationships, and achieving a world-class reputation for environmentally sound development are time sensitive. He stated that we must take immediate action to get Canada’s oil and natural gas to market, instead of the dithering and second-guessing that has dominated our political and business environments.
“The challenge for Canada is to open up to foreign markets and supply what the world needs,” he said. “We have a choice: to proceed or procrastinate.”
All this indecision is in the face of a natural gas development bonanza south of the border. According to a recent study, the American natural gas boom in 2012 supported 2.1 million jobs, added $283 billion to GDP and $75 billion to state and government coffers. The economic stimulus increased the income of the average U.S. household by $1,200. They’ve realized that natural gas creates opportunity. These figures indicate a noticeable lift in U.S. economic circumstances – and not a moment too soon.
Increasing affluence and industrialization of emerging markets like China, India and Brazil requires enormous amounts of energy. Simply put, they will want what we take for granted – the ability to drive cars, turn on lights and maintain a comfortable temperature in their homes. World demand will increase for energy and so will its price.
How we marshal such a clean, affordable and reliable energy source like natural gas is the key to our future. It’s an opportunity we can’t afford to pass up.
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