Canada will make a high-level pitch for greater tie-ups in the energy arena next week even as the first-ever energy cargo from North America heads for Indian shores.
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver will be arriving here to consolidate participation in natural resources, including uranium. At the same time, Alison Redford, Premier of the Canadian province of Alberta from where this shipment is headed for India, will be leading a trade mission to Delhi, Amritsar, Mumbai and Bangalore.
Mr. Oliver is visiting the country in very different circumstances from two years ago when his primary purpose was to pitch Canada as a safe and secure long-term source for blended bitumen, compressed natural gas and uranium.
Since then, Indian companies have taken an active interest in Canada’s natural resources wealth which has been helped by the confidence- building measures such as concluding the civil nuclear agreement and elevating the energy dialogue to Ministerial level.
``The Indian (as well as Chinese and Japanese) interest in striking long-term energy partnership with the two North American countries, Canada and the U.S., has the potential to galvanise the geopolitics of the energy market,” notes Indian Council of World Affairs scholar Zakir Hussain.
Dr. Hussain’s formulation was repeated at a recent meeting of experts ahead of an oil exposition that Mr. Oliver would attend. Almost two-thirds of the group felt shale gas in North America and Canadian tar sands had emerged as important global resources India could target.
India and Canada both have an interest in diversifying their sources. As Mr. Oliver said, “even if they [India] can get all [liquid natural gas] they need from Qatar, is that a smart thing for a country this size to do? Obviously not.” Canada, too, has been selling all its oil to the U.S. and demand may not pick up any further because of the American success with shale oil.
The Minister, who arrives on Saturday, will be accompanied by a Canadian business delegation.
“Building on extensive and productive Canada-India engagement, the Minister will reinforce Canada’s role as a reliable, secure and environmentally-responsible energy supplier,’’ said a Canadian High Commission statement.
This is a major change in circumstances since his 2012 trip when Mr. Oliver had to highlight Canada’s natural resource base and the many needs that Canada could meet.
According to experts, demand for liquids is expected to reduce due to an increase in energy from gas, nuclear and renewable sources. In India, however, the share of liquids may remain constant but the absolute demand may double in 20 years.
The oil and gas partnership will be underpinned by the uranium alliance that marks a return of confidence in each other.
India and Canada had snapped their nuclear relationship after the ‘74 nuclear tests which Ottawa suspects was conducted with material from a reactor it had supplied.