Oil and gas industry encourages Canada-Asia free trade talks

March 25, 2012 - Calgary, Alberta

Canada's upstream oil and natural gas industry encourages federal initiatives to negotiate trade-related agreements with Asian countries given their strong and growing need for oil and natural gas and growing importance in global energy markets.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on his second visit to the region this year, announced the launch of free trade talks with Japan. The federal government is already pursuing trade agreements with Thailand and South Korea.

"Demand for Canadian products like crude oil and natural gas is strong in Asia and growing," said CAPP President Dave Collyer. "Oil and natural gas exports, primarily to the United States, currently contribute some $80 billion to the Canadian economy annually. Diversifying markets for Canadian oil and natural gas products is vital to ensuring Canada continues to grow its oil and gas production and receives full value for its natural resources."

In addition to developing new export markets, Canada's oil and gas industry continues to explore cost-competitive ways of providing Canadian crude oil and natural gas to domestic markets and the United States, reducing North American dependence on foreign imports.

According to the International Energy Agency, the dynamics of energy markets will be determined more and more by Asian economies, especially China. Over the next 25 years, China alone accounts for more than 30 per cent of the projected growth in global energy demand, consolidating its position as the world's largest energy consumer.

"While developing new markets for Canadian trade is very important, our industry understands that increasing domestic oil and natural gas production depends on continuing environmental and social performance improvement and delivering tangible economic benefits for all Canadians," said Collyer.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) represents companies, large and small, that explore for, develop and produce natural gas and crude oil throughout Canada. CAPP's member companies produce more than 90 per cent of Canada's natural gas and crude oil. CAPP's associate members provide a wide range of services that support the upstream crude oil and natural gas industry. Together CAPP's members and associate members are an important part of a national industry with revenues of about $100 billion-a-year. CAPP's mission is to enhance the economic sustainability of the Canadian upstream petroleum industry in a safe and environmentally and socially responsible manner, through constructive engagement and communication with governments, the public and stakeholders in the communities in which we operate.