You are here

Tour of Oil Sands and Bilateral Meetings Highlight Importance of Strong Relationship between U.S. and Canada

CALGARY, ALBERTA - U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman concluded his two-day visit to Canada today by participating in bilateral and private industry energy discussions in Alberta, Canada.  Yesterday, Secretary Bodman toured the oil sands in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada with Canadian Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn, Alberta Premier Ralph Klein, and Alberta Energy Minister Greg Melchin. 

During his visit to Alberta, Secretary Bodman encouraged the development of oil sands and other unconventional oil resources, supported increasing North America's natural gas supply, and explored with government and industry the challenges to optimal and sustainable energy resource development. 

"I was very pleased to see first-hand the magnitude of the oil sands development, and look forward to discussions of the opportunities and challenges in the oil and natural gas sector that our governments and industries are facing," Secretary Bodman said.  "Canada remains an important ally to the United States as well as our largest trading partner and most important and reliable supplier of oil and gas.  We look forward to continuing to develop our mutually beneficial relationship".

Current oil sands production is over 1 million barrels per day, and is expected to double by 2010 and reach 3 million barrels per day by 2015.  By 2015, approximately three out of every four barrels of Canadian oil production is expected to come from the oil sands.  By 2020, over $100 billion will have been invested in oil sands development. With 175 billion barrels of proven oil sands reserves, Canada ranks second only to Saudi Arabia in global oil reserves.

Secretary Bodman's visit to Canada follows President Bush's and Prime Minister Harper's meeting earlier this month in Washington where the two discussed the importance of the Canadian oil sands in providing energy security.  During that meeting President Bush and Prime Minister Harper also agreed to task respective officials in their country to provide a more forward-looking approach focused on the environment, climate change, air quality, and energy issues.

Canada is America's most important, reliable and secure supplier of imported crude oil and petroleum products, natural gas, electricity and uranium.  Canada accounts for more than 16 percent of our total imported crude oil and petroleum products, and 16 percent of U.S. gas requirements.  Canada also supplies electricity to over 30 U.S. states, and about 30 percent of total U.S. reactor requirements for uranium.

Today, Secretary Bodman met with Minister Lunn.  During their meeting Secretary Bodman discussed the development of unconventional oil resources, especially Canada's oil sands, and the associated challenges; our cooperative efforts on a broad spectrum of oil sands issues; and carbon sequestration initiatives.

Secretary Bodman also met with Alberta Premier Ralph Klein, Energy Minister Greg Melchin, and International and Intergovernmental Relations Minister Gary Mar.  They discussed Alberta's role as a key supplier of oil and natural gas to the United States and its importance to North American energy security; oil sands production potential as well as refinery capacity and other challenges to increased development; and Alberta's growing production of natural gas from coalbed methane (CBM).

U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins and Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Wilson participated in the Secretary's meetings in Calgary and accompanied the group to the oil sands on Thursday.

Secretary Bodman, Minister Lunn, and Minister Melchin also took part in an energy roundtable discussion with senior oil and gas industry leaders and associations regarding oil and gas production opportunities and challenges facing industry in both Canada and the United States.

Media contact(s):

Craig Stevens, (202) 586-4940