The Globe's Rita Trichur writes that Canada needs to get bitumen flowing to waiting markets in India. She contends it's just a matter of getting dilbit to 'tidewater' which means Atlantic Canada, not Vancouver.
Mr. Trudeau’s government has made scant progress in expanding Canada’s energy ties with the South Asian country. With Canadians set to vote in a general election in October, the next government has a golden opportunity to strengthen that energy partnership.
There’s an imperative to act because the two countries have complementary needs. Canada needs supplementary buyers of oil, while India is seeking more stable (and, yes, scrupulous) sellers, especially now that Saudi Arabia and Iran are embroiled in yet another conflict.
What’s more, gathering economic headwinds in Canada and India underscore why neither country can afford the status quo. Canada’s oil sands are stuck in the doldrums because of depressed prices for heavy crude, diminished capital investment and delayed (and deceased) pipeline projects. India covets energy security and more influence over global commodity trading – especially now that rival China is starting to position the yuan as a petro-currency to challenge the U.S. dollar’s dominance in the oil trade.Go East.
A new crude oil ETF market in India could also create potential partnership opportunities for Canada’s banks and the Toronto Stock Exchange given their interests in the energy sector – if we can get stranded crude to tide water. The next federal government should make it a priority to help resurrect the Energy East pipeline project, cancelled by TransCanada Corp. in 2017, because East Coast facilities are equipped to handle the ultralarge crude carriers needed to get oil to India.
This is a no-brainer for Ottawa. India is the world’s No. 3 importer of crude oil behind China and the United States. Last year, it purchased oil worth US$114.5-billion, roughly 9.7 per cent of the world’s total crude imports, according to World’s Top Exports. India’s top five suppliers are Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates.
Canada, meanwhile, is the world’s No. 4 exporter of crude oil (behind Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iraq) but doesn’t even rank among India’s top 15 suppliers. It’s a wasted opportunity for both countries.What timing. The opening day of the UN climate summit. India is one of the countries most vulnerable to destabilizing climate change. It is grossly overpopulated. And it intends to double down on fossil fuels, the high carbon stuff. If they're really intent on cutting their own throats, wouldn't knives be cheaper?