Canada needs pipelines, infrastructure to profit from Ukraine crisis: experts

Canada has little hope of reaping any kind of energy or resource windfall from the crisis in Ukraine.

OTTAWA — Canada has little hope of reaping any kind of energy or resource windfall from the crisis in Ukraine.

That message was delivered Thursday to a House of Commons committee in testimony by energy experts from Alberta, Europe, and Ukraine.

The natural resources committee was told that Canada is the better part of a decade away from having the pipelines and other infrastructure necessary to be any kind of meaningful energy supplier to Europe.

The committee is hearing evidence on whether there are opportunities for Canada to export oil and gas to Europe and help wean Ukraine off its dependence on Russian energy.

Russia supplies most of Ukraine’s natural gas, which gives it a major economic lever over the Ukrainian military — one it is currently exercising.

Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula last month while pro-Russian gunmen are taking over cities in the country’s eastern region.

The testimony offered a sobering counterpoint to the Harper government’s public enthusiasm about increased Canadian energy exports to Europe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared unenthusiastic about that prospect when she hosted Prime Minister Stephen Harper in March. She, too, noted that Canada lacks the infrastructure to actually move the products.

Geoff Hill, an oil and gas expert with Deloitte Canada, said the country has abundant resources but there’s no sign of the pipelines and other infrastructure needed to increase exports to Europe.

“We’re still left with a very serious infrastructure deficit,” he told MPs.

“The most aggressive estimates to supply gas to Europe is around five or six, or eight years, during which time we have to be exceptionally busy building the needed facilities, none of which we are currently building at the required pace.”

Michael Edwards, a policy analyst with the firm, Fairweather Hill, echoed that assessment. The best bet would be for Canada to ship liquefied natural gas across the Atlantic, but there isn’t enough Canadian gas available on the East Coast to justify further investment in LNG plants, he said.

That could change if more pipelines could bring more gas into the region, “but that’s a five- to 10-year prospect,” said Edwards.

Hill and Edwards said Canada could make inroads in Ukraine’s energy sector by exporting Canadian expertise on energy efficiency to help it cut its natural gas usage.

That would be a worthy effort that could make a difference because Ukraine is one of the least energy-efficient countries, said Anders Aslund, a Russia-Ukraine expert with Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

Just Posted

Severe thunderstorm watch for Central Alberta

Thunderstorm watch covers large area including Sylvan Lake to Stettler

Bird on a wire causes electrical problems in Red Deer

City workers put protective covers on line

WATCH: Kayakers go over Ram Falls south of Nordegg

Two take 30-metre plunge, post video of thrill ride

Count shows slight decrease in Red Deer’s homeless

In two years, the number of homeless in Red Deer has decreased… Continue reading

Nightly closures on Taylor Drive next week

Taylor Drive to be closed Monday to Friday night for bridge demolition work

WATCH: Cirque ZUMA ZUMA puts on a show at Westerner Days

ZUMA ZUMA performs three times a day during Westerner Days

Divers hunt for 4 after Missouri duck boat sinks, killing 13

BRANSON, Mo. — Divers are searching Friday for four people still missing… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer’s noxious weeds are a goat’s dietary delight

Piper Creek Community Garden gets chemical-free weed control

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

From hot to not? The Baloney Meter weighs in on Scheer’s economy claims

OTTAWA — “Justin Trudeau inherited a booming economy, but he’s squandering it.… Continue reading

Scathing suicide inquiry finds gaps, shortcomings at Royal Military College

OTTAWA — Members of a board of inquiry into three suicides at… Continue reading

Premiers strike deal to allow increased flow of beer, alcohol across borders

ST. ANDREWS, N.B. — Canada’s premiers are set to wrap up their… Continue reading

Trump ready to hit all Chinese imports with tariffs

President Donald Trump has indicated that he’s willing to hit every product… Continue reading

Canada’s annual inflation rises 2.5% thanks to boost from higher energy prices

OTTAWA — The country’s annual inflation rate rose 2.5 per cent in… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month