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NEWS: Harper’s agenda of free trade and energy exports to India

Oliver will meet Jaipal Reddy, Indias Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Oliver will meet Jaipal Reddy, India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Energy minister Joe Oliver will be in Delhi and Mumbai from October 8-12 to promote sales of “energy, minerals, metals and wood products” to India. Today, Reuters reports:

1- “Oliver said he would try to boost Canadian energy exports to India. 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.”

2- “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.”

3- “‘(India is) 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,’ says Oliver.”

4- “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.”

5- “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.” That said, the Globe and Mail has reported, “As protests in the West threaten to scotch plans to export crude off B.C.’s coast, the energy industry is escalating efforts to send oil tankers to India and China by way of the east coast. It is shorter to reach India’s west coast refining hub via Canada’s east coast than it is to ship oil off the west coast, Laurie Smith, partner at Bennett Jones LLP, said in an interview.”

At the World Economic Forum this past January, Stephen Harper pledged to the global corporate audience there, “We will work to complete negotiations on a free-trade agreement with India in 2013.” The fifth round of negotiations toward a Canada-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) took place July 24-26, 2012, in New Delhi. The Harper government media release noting Oliver’s visit to Delhi and Mumbai highlights, “India is the world’s fourth-largest energy consumer, with consumption expected to double by 2025.”