Canadian Government Pushing Need for Pipeline Construction

Canadian-based Enbridge Inc operates the largest pipeline system in the world. The company is hoping to get approval to build a pipeline from Alberta through British Columbia to the West Coast. (Enbridge Inc)

Federal Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver said that building more pipelines to Canada’s coasts and border is vital to the country’s economic well-being.

The Minister spoke to the Great Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, where he said that the success of Canada’s energy sector depends on the construction of more pipelines.

“Our government believes it is critical that Canada build pipelines west, south and east to ensure we have customers for our energy projects,” the Minister said at the luncheon.

The federal government in recent days has been defending the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project, which is a plan to build a pipeline from Alberta to Canada’s Pacific coast to allow Canadian energy exports to Asia. The plan has faced criticism from a coalition of environmental groups and aboriginal activists, who say they don’t want a pipeline to go through British Columbia.

The government insists that transporting oil and gas by pipeline is the safest and cheapest method available, and that the country’s regulators have the tools necessary to keep the risks at acceptably low levels. Prime Minister Harper described the Enbridge pipeline this week as being “in the vital interests of Canada”.

The oil and gas industry, which depends on pipelines to transport its products, constitutes a major part of Canada’s natural resource sectors, which in turn produces over 50 percent of the country’s export revenues, amounting to over $200 billion in exports each year.

The resource sectors played a significant role in the average net worth of Canadian households surpassing that of American households for the first time in history last year, as rising commodity prices buoyed the value of the Canadian dollar.