Canada says transfer comes after European allies mentioned they ‘need assistance’ as they ease dependence on Russian vitality provides.
Canada plans to extend oil and gasoline exports this yr by as much as 300,000 barrels per day, the nation’s pure assets minister has mentioned, as nations search to wean themselves off Russian vitality provides amid the struggle in Ukraine.
Minister Jonathan Wilkinson mentioned in a statement on Thursday that the transfer – which might quantity to a rise of about 5 p.c – goals to assist Canada’s allies reply to “an vitality safety disaster” attributable to Russia’s ongoing invasion.
“Our European associates and allies want Canada and others to step up,” mentioned Wilkinson, who was in Paris to take part in a gathering on the Worldwide Power Company (IEA) headquarters.
“They’re telling us they want our assist in getting off Russian oil and gasoline within the quick time period, whereas dashing up the vitality transition throughout the continent. Canada is uniquely positioned to assist with each.”
Russia supplies a large portion of Europe’s vitality provides, however because it launched its all-out invasion of Ukraine late final month, European leaders have mentioned they plan to reduce their dependence on oil and pure gasoline from Moscow.
The struggle additionally has led to a surge in gasoline costs, after a number of international locations, together with america and Canada, barred imports of Russian vitality to strain Russian President Vladimir Putin to finish the offensive.
Canada, house to the tar sands of northern Alberta, is the fourth-largest oil producer on this planet after Russia, Saudi Arabia and the US, and for weeks, pro-oil Canadian politicians have referred to as for the enlargement of fossil gasoline initiatives in response to the Ukraine disaster.
However that push has been rejected by environmentalists, who say filling the void left by Russia would worsen the local weather disaster, in addition to different consultants who’ve identified that Canada doesn’t have the infrastructure essential to quickly improve exports.
“We all know that fossil fuels are destroying the soundness of the local weather and we all know that dependence on international sources of oil make us weak to political and financial and army blackmail,” Peter Gleick, a senior fellow on the Pacific Institute in California, told Al Jazeera in early March.
“So if something,” Gleick added, “[the Ukraine crisis is] a much better alternative to push non-fossil fuels total, quite than attempting to extend our reliance on simply someone else’s fossil fuels.”
That was echoed by the Canadian setting minister, Steven Guilbeault, who advised Canada’s Nationwide Observer on-line newspaper this month that “the answer to world vitality issues is to not improve our dependency on fossil fuels” – however quite to scale back oil and gasoline dependence “no matter the place it’s coming from”.
Thursday’s announcement additionally comes lower than per week earlier than Ottawa releases an in depth plan on the way it will minimize carbon emissions. Environmental activists urged the federal government to concentrate on changing Russian vitality with cleaner sources.
“The one actual resolution to oil-fuelled aggression towards folks and the local weather is to speed up the transition off fossil fuels by investing in renewable vitality and effectivity,” mentioned Greenpeace Canada’s senior vitality strategist Keith Stewart.
Wilkinson, the vitality minister, mentioned on Thursday that the Canadian authorities can be methods it might displace Russian gasoline with liquified pure gasoline (LNG) from Canada after requests from European international locations.
Wilkinson mentioned Canada is having conversations with European international locations about whether or not it could actually construct extra LNG initiatives. At present, Canada doesn’t export any LNG, however a SHEL.L consortium led by Shell, an oil and gasoline firm, is constructing a big facility on the west coast.
Any LNG venture would should be ultra-low emissions and capable of transport hydrogen in future as Europe weans itself off fossil fuels, Wilkinson mentioned.