NEW YORK, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- The Canadian government is working "aggressively" to enhance its role as a leading oil and natural gas exporter, the minister of natural resources said.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has worked to establish a better energy trade relationship with Asian economies. Nearly all of Canadian oil exports, however, head to the United States.
Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver told an energy summit in New York City Tuesday the government was bent on contributing to regional and global energy security.
"Canada has the resources in place to meet its own needs and the growing energy demands of global markets," he said in published statements. "We are aggressively working to enhance Canada's position as a stable, secure and environmentally responsible energy supplier to North America and the world."
The government is working to persuade U.S. President Barack Obama to sign off on the Keystone XL oil pipeline to transport Canadian tar sands oil to southern U.S. refineries. The project is opposed by critics worried about the pollution tied to the production of oil sands.
Domestic projects meant to deliver oil and natural gas to overseas markets have been met with local opposition from critics wary of the economic benefits.
The Canadian Natural Resources Ministry said it expects global energy demand to increase by 35 percent by 2035. Canada, meanwhile, holds the world's third-largest deposits of oil and is the fifth-largest producer of natural gas.