“Alberta oilsands”, India slows invest, Canada says

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India slow to invest in Alberta oilsands, Canada says 印度对加拿大西部油砂投资放缓

By David Ljunggren, ReutersOctober 7, 2012 10:19 AMcurriebarracks

The Suncor oilsands mine near Fort McMurray, Alta. Energy Minister Joe Oliver says the Canadian energy industry needs $650 billion in investment over the next decade. Ottawa concedes much of it will have to come from abroad.

Photograph by: Bruce Edwards, Postmedia News file photo

OTTAWA — Indian companies are lagging behind when it comes to investing in Canada’s giant oilsands but could well start making deals within the next five years, Canadian Energy Minister Joe Oliver says. Oliver, speaking to Reuters before a visit to Delhi and Mumbai, said Canadian energy industry needs $650 billion in investment over the next decade. Ottawa concedes much of it will have to come from abroad. To some political consternation in Canada, China is rapidly buying up assets in the tarsands of northern Alberta, one of the world’s biggest crude oil deposits. But India — the world’s fourth-largest oil importer — has yet to conclude a deal. “I think they realize … they are certainly behind others, and they acknowledge that,” Oliver said. “They are looking to Canada now with increasing interest. I can’t predict what precisely they’ll do, but I’d certainly be surprised that if in five years from now the picture didn’t look quite a bit different.” Last month, sources said a trio of state-run Indian oil companies had bid $5 billion for stakes in Canadian oilsands holdings owned by ConocoPhillips. The bid from the group, which comprises producers Oil and Natural Gas Corp and Oil India Ltd. with refiner and retailer Indian Oil Corp., is the first by Indian energy companies for assets in Canada. Canada is now deciding whether to approve a $15.1-billion bid by Chinese state-owned CNOOC Ltd for oil producer Nexen Inc., which is active in the oilsands. Some in the Conservative Party are uneasy about allowing a Chinese state-owned enterprise to buy such assets. Indian state companies are partly owned by an elected government in what is the world’s most-populous democracy, and this could help reduce Canadian hesitation about future deals. Oliver said he would try to boost Canadian energy exports to India. The government, keen to reduce its export reliance on the United States, is already trying to boost oil sales to China. Canada exported $1.4 billion worth of natural resources to India last year — including only $4.1 million in energy products — and Oliver said he sees great potential for more trade. “There is tremendous complementarity between our two countries. We have these vast resources — oil, gas, minerals, metals and forestry — and India is growing … there are immense opportunities,” he said. Oliver — noting Saudi Arabia and Iran together supply 29 per cent of India’s oil — said major importers of crude generally want to diversify their sources of supply to include what he called reliable and stable countries. But any talk of boosting Canadian oil exports to India will depend in part on how soon new pipelines are built from the Alberta oilsands to ports on the Pacific Coast. Opposition to one of the proposed pipelines, Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway project, is steadily growing and there are doubts as to whether it will ever be built.

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