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Where were all the Canadian oil executives at CERAWeek?


March 19, 2019  


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Mark Little of Suncor was one of few Canadian oil executives to attend CERAWeek in Houston, Texas.

According to Deborah Yedlin of CBC News, if there was one takeaway from attending the annual CERAWeek conference in Houston, it is this: Canada is at risk of becoming a footnote in the global energy matrix.

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper might have proclaimed – back in 2006 – Canada’s intention to become an energy superpower, but what was clear from this year’s gathering was that the United States has eaten our lunch on that one.

Whether in the context of growth in production from the prolific shale plays – oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids – and the building of liquified natural gas (LNG) terminals, Canada continues to fall behind.

It’s easy to blame this on government policy gone wrong – and when it comes to the challenges approving pipeline infrastructure, that is certainly a more than valid criticism. Increasingly  fingers are being pointed directly at legislation passed in 2012 as marking the beginning of the challenges surrounding the timely permitting for projects.

But the Canadian energy sector hasn’t done itself any favours, either.

The lack of effort put into telling Canada’s energy story at home and abroad – of responsible development, economic growth and scientific contribution – has been well-documented.

But there is another piece missing. And it was in full evidence at CERAWeek.

To read the entire opinion piece, click here.

Other than three chief executive officers of Canadian energy companies — Mark Little of Suncor, Doug Suttles of Encana and Andy Calitz from LNG Canada, as well as Janet Annesley of Husky — who were all part of different panel discussions, Canadian energy leaders were nowhere to be seen.

CERAWeek brings together all the major energy players from around the world, and this year it drew 5,400 delegates from 75 countries.

It presents an invaluable opportunity to learn about macro trends, hear about what is going on in other jurisdictions, the challenges being faced and the dramatic developments in technology aimed at increasing production, decreasing costs and mitigating the carbon footprint that are taking place.

To borrow from a sports analogy – when you are competing against another individual or team, isn’t in your best interests to understand the toolkit they have relative to the one you are using?

(Deborah Yedlin/CBC News)