Canada is a country rich in raw materials and energy. In addition, Canada has been politically stable so far. When it comes to cooperation in the field of energy and the economy, the country is a reliable and long-term partner of Europe and Germany. Olaf Schultz’s visit to Canada also revolves around these topics. Gerd Brown, Canadian freelance journalist, ranks on SRF News.
journalist in canada
Brown has lived in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, for about 20 years. He works in various media in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg.
SRF News: As one of the world’s largest natural gas producers, Canada has so far only exported to the USA and East Asia. Why are there no direct shipments to Europe yet?
Gerd Brown: Natural gas deposits are found mainly in the western provinces of Canada. It would be a lot easier if you had the infrastructure there, like pipelines and terminals, to process natural gas and ship it to Asia.
Europeans have had little interest in Canadian natural gas until now.
It is also important to note that Europeans have not paid much attention to Canadian natural gas yet. They mainly had shipments from Russia. So Canada lacks the infrastructure to deliver it directly to Europe.
Is it realistic at all that Canada will export natural gas to Europe in the foreseeable future?
There is probably nothing that can be done in the short term in the next year or two. Canada is discussing whether this facility can be converted and expanded to also export natural gas to Europe. However, this will also take some time.
Canada supplies the United States with a large amount of natural gas, which in turn allows the United States to export natural gas to Europe. Some of the natural gas that is now flowing from the USA to Europe certainly comes from Canada.
Canada has committed to being carbon neutral by 2050. Expansion of gas exports stands in the way. How does the government deal with this contradiction?
This is the big problem for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s liberal government. On the one hand, they want to make progress on climate policy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which are very high in Canada. On the other hand, Canada’s economy has so far lived from the production and extraction of fossil fuels.
Canada wants to make progress on climate policy, while at the same time the economy lives off the production and extraction of fossil fuels.
Environmental groups say this goes against Canada’s climate policy. But the Canadian government wants to help its European partner and is willing to accept that.
European countries, led by Germany, now want gas and are looking primarily for short-term solutions. Are Canada’s big investments worth it?
The United States has built a number of terminals on the East Coast in recent years and is now exporting to Europe. Canada wants to follow suit with its energy wealth. The odds are certainly so great that Germany, for example, wants to phase out fossil fuels in about 20 years. But whether that will happen is uncertain first, and secondly there are other countries in Europe that may not have quite ambitious goals. Hence it is very interesting for Canada to have this facility.
Germany is not interested in Canada’s natural gas only in the short term.
The second important topic on the advisor’s trip: the hydrogen economy. Of course, we’re also thinking about whether these plants are going to be built to export LNG, can they then be converted into hydrogen export terminals in the long run? So I don’t think these considerations, that Germany is only interested in natural gas in the short term, preclude these investments, but that one can and want to rethink in the direction of hydrogen. Chancellor Schultz’s visit to Canada also serves this purpose.
Interviewed by Janis Fuhrlander.
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