India looking at Alberta oil

Alberta’s oilsands bitumen might eventually flow to refineries in India.

Alberta’s oilsands bitumen might eventually flow to refineries in India.

Premier Alison Redford, who was in India this week with International and Intergovernmental Relations Minister Cal Dallas, said in a statement that Veerappa Moily, India’s minister of petroleum and natural gas, has expressed interest in accessing Alberta bitumen for his country.

“Dr. Moily was particularly keen on discussing the potential for exports of bitumen directly to India, as well as the potential for Indian companies to become strategic partners in developing Alberta’s oilsands, building off the agreement signed between Indian Oil Corporation Limited and the Alberta Petroleum Marketing Corporation last fall.”

During a conference call from Singapore on Thursday, Dallas elaborated on India’s appetite for Alberta oil.

“Energy security and security of supply are conversations that are every bit as evident and important in this market as it is in North America,” he said.

Dallas said he and Redford met with officials from a variety of private and state-owned enterprises. These have been researching energy opportunities in Canada, he said.

“There’s clearly very significant interest in terms of upstream, midstream and downstream in all aspects of our western and in particular Alberta energy complex.”

In fact, added Dallas, some are test-refining Alberta crude brought to market by rail. But because the volume of oil needed could “easily surpass a million barrels a day at its optimum,” pipeline connections are essential, he said.

That issue was discussed at every meeting, said Dallas.

“Clearly, that’s key.”

India has alternatives, he acknowledged, but Canada appears to be the preferred supplier due to such considerations as business conditions, economic stability, performance and environmental sustainability.

Dallas said interest in Alberta energy extends beyond oil, with natural gas and even coal discussed during his visit.

Other trade opportunities between Indian and Alberta were pursued during his and Redford’s mission, said Dallas. These resulted in two memorandums of understanding related to the sharing of agricultural expertise and products.

“It’s clear that with the very large population in India that food security is an important aspect of their daily lives and strategic planning, and that there are further opportunities for Alberta enterprises to provide product into that region.”

Redford and Dallas opened an Alberta trade office in New Delhi this week. Another is scheduled to open in Singapore.

Dallas arrived in India last weekend, and continued on to Singapore yesterday. He’s scheduled to return to Alberta on Tuesday.

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