March 25, 2022
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A3
Subject: Canada’s Natural Gas Industry is Ready to Support Global Energy Security
Dear Prime Minister:
The government’s announcement to create a Canada-EU working group on green transition and LNG is welcomed by the Canadian Gas Association. This is a positive step to address how European dependence on Russian natural gas can be reduced, and how Canada can help to address European, and global, energy security.
The Canadian gas industry stands ready to help with the working group, but more broadly with the greater challenge we and our allies face at this time.
Canada has hundreds of years of natural gas supply, robust infrastructure, and industry expertise that meets the highest standards of corporate and environmental performance. We can do more for Europe and the world, and we want to. We are prepared to work with the Government of Canada on a plan to address global energy security and bring Canadian gas energy to those who need it.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed decades of natural gas energy geopolitics overnight. One of the world’s biggest energy producers, Russia has been meeting approximately 40% of the natural gas needs of Europe – one of the world’s biggest energy markets. However, European consumers want to end that dependence. They want alternatives. And they want Canada to step up.
The global natural gas industry has taken swift and unprecedented action on Russia. The International Gas Union, the global industry association, at the request of Canada and the United States has suspended Russian Federation entities. In addition, next year’s long-planned Global Conference on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG2023) will not take place in St. Petersburg. This was going to be an opportunity for Russia to show its prowess on the global energy stage. Industry has stated that it will not give this platform to Russia.
Such moves, while important symbolically, do not address the very troubling energy crisis facing Europe. The only way to address that crisis is to help Europeans to guarantee their energy security with alternative supply.
How can Canada help?
As a first step, Canadian industry is prepared to sit down with government and identify how we might move more energy from Canada to Europe in the near term. Although Canada has limited LNG capacity, our infrastructure is well integrated across the continent. The possibility exists to move more gas to the United States and thereby enable our American colleagues to export more. We need clear signals that governments in both Canada and the US will support this and work with us to achieve it.
Second, the whole Canadian gas industry is working on a strategy to realize the short, medium, and long-term opportunities for gaseous energy (natural gas, renewable natural gas and hydrogen) globally. Canadian gas producers are proud to be producing what is increasingly the lowest emission molecule on the planet – in our view no one is doing a better job at driving emissions down. Canadian gas infrastructure companies are second to none in moving that energy efficiently and reliably while keeping emissions down. Canadian gas delivery companies are working with millions of customers to ensure affordable, reliable, clean delivery to homes and businesses. And the many companies in our supply chain are supporting all of this. Together, these efforts show a strong commitment to deliver. Canada should be working to ensure reliable suppliers – like us – are helping the world. If we do this, we will then have the credibility to inform the global conversation on opportunities for RNG and hydrogen and other fuels and technologies as they emerge – innovative work on which Canadian industry is also leading. We would welcome opportunities to work with government to further this agenda.
Third, and key to the success of all the efforts noted above, Canada needs to streamline our regulatory frameworks to (1) enable rapid project development in this time of great need and (2) foster investment confidence to drive that development. That means Canada needs to put the conditions in place so more domestic facilities (gas transmission and distribution infrastructure within the country) and more export facilities (LNG infrastructure on both coasts) are built more quickly to move gas to markets. The Government of Canada needs to make this a priority, just as the Biden Administration has announced it as a priority for the United States. If we are to be in any position to help our European allies and contribute to global security over the medium and long term, infrastructure has to be built.
Canada’s population includes millions who have come to this country from areas of great strife and suffering to pursue freedom and opportunity. These Canadians look to what is happening in Europe and want to help. Our resource strength positions us to provide that help. The affordable, reliable, clean energy we provide has done great things for Canada and could do great things for the world. Canada’s gas industry wants to do its part.
Some might view this war in Ukraine as a near term crisis that simply needs to be managed. We don’t believe that is the case. We believe we are witnessing dramatic shifts in global energy politics, and with that in energy markets, with profound implications for the wellbeing of millions around the world. Canada has an opportunity to address the immediate crisis, and to be a valuable partner in a broader effort to build a more secure global energy future. We in Canada’s gas industry look forward to working with the Government of Canada and our international allies to do just that.
Timothy M. Egan
President & CEO, Canadian Gas Association
Chair, NGIF Capital Corporation