The world’s appetite for energy is growing. Canada is in an enviable position as it is blessed with the world’s third largest oil reserve. This means we can both fulfill our energy needs at home and generate billions of dollars for our economy when we export Canadian oil to the rest of the world. Not many countries can say the same.
For this to become a reality, we need pipelines to bring these resources to the consumers. We need to build Energy East, a pipeline that is the safest and most-efficient way to connect our abundant resources out West to our refineries and industries in the East, and beyond.
“Energy East is about making a choice on where Canadians want to source the oil they need, and how they want that oil transported,” TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling told the Toronto Region Board of Trade today. “Energy East is not a choice between oil and alternative energies. We believe we need them both and we are investing in both.”
Global energy demand is soaring. This is a fact. Policies and new technologies to boost energy efficiency have helped to curb some of that growth but our energy needs keep on climbing because our world population is rising, and hundreds of millions of new consumers from emerging countries aspire to the daily essentials that many Canadians take for granted – cars, cell phones or sanitary systems.
So in order to meet the world’s appetite, we’ll need energy from all sources: wind and solar power – which have made technology leaps but still account for a fraction of our energy supply – hydro, nuclear, and of course gas and oil.
Developing Canadian oil, and doing this in a responsible way, is of paramount importance for our country. The industry currently employs half a million people and future developments are expected to contribute $2.1 trillion to the Canadian economy over the next 25 years. To put this number in perspective, one industry in Canada produces the equivalent of the economic wealth produced annually by Brazil – the world’s 7th richest country.
We need to give ourselves the means to create wealth and energy independence at home, and we can do this while respecting the environment and minimizing the footprint of our infrastructure.
Why does Eastern Canada have to import 700,000 barrels of foreign oil every day – resulting in $13 billion leaving the country every year, based on current oil prices – when we can supply ourselves domestically in a way that produces jobs, tax revenues and economic activity, here, in Canada?
“The benefits of this resource extend beyond the provincial borders. If we do this right, this will be a tremendous opportunity for Canada. Not just Alberta, but for all Canadians,” Girling said, citing the Canadian businesses that are already benefiting from supplying contracts on the Energy East project.
Energy East will create 14,000 jobs during the seven years of development and construction – jobs in all lines of work from the welders and the x-ray specialists who will inspect the welds to the truck drivers and catering staff that will work on the construction site. The project will create additional activity for restaurants, hotels, clothes stores and banks in hundreds of communities across the country.
There is no question building Energy East would be beneficial to our country. The legitimate question many people have is whether we can build and operate it safely. The answer is: we can and we will.
Safety will be at the core of our thinking when we develop, construct and operate this pipeline – from the selection of building materials, the quality control we demand from our suppliers, and the techniques we will use to the 24/7 monitoring we do from our oil control centre, and the $900 million we dedicate every year to safety and integrity programs.
“We have the opportunity to become a global leader in the responsible development and delivery of the energy resources we need – and the world needs,” Girling said.
It’s time to seize this opportunity. It’s time to say “yes” to Energy East.