Safety key for Canadian energy boom

Feb. 13, 2012 at 9:19 AM
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CALGARY, Alberta, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- With Canada expecting an oil and natural gas boom, a safe record in the energy sector will aid in the pursuit of a sustainable energy future, an official said.

Canada has some of the richest oil deposits in the world in its so-called tar sands oil fields in Alberta. Gaetan Caron, chairman and chief executive officer at Canada's National Energy Board, told members of the Alberta Chamber of Resources that oil and natural gas supplies could reach record levels in the next quarter-century.

"With increasing activity in the energy sector, effective and comprehensive safety and environmental protection measures will continue to be a major component of Canada's pursuit of a sustainable energy future," he said.

Caron said that while NEB doesn't regulate the supply of natural resources, it does regulate oil and natural gas pipelines so credibility and monitoring are of paramount concern.

Canada wants to send tar sands oil through the planned Keystone XL oil pipeline through the United States or the Northern Gateway pipeline to the Canadian west coast. Environmental groups have described Canada's oil as the dirtiest type of crude oil on the market, however.

"A number of high-profile accidents and infrastructure applications in both Canada and the United States have resulted in heightened public scrutiny on both environmental protection and safety issues," said Caron. "The credibility and competency of industry and its regulators is constantly being questioned and assessed."

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