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Getting oil, gas to markets vital: Baird

OTTAWA - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says the crisis in Ukraine makes getting Canada's oil and gas to international markets that much more important.

And he says that highlights the need to quickly complete a pipeline to transport energy products to the Atlantic from the west.

European countries that depend on Russia for energy are scrambling to find new sources the wake of the crisis in Ukraine.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel points out that, while Germany is interested in importing Canadian energy, Canada lacks the infrastructure to get its energy overseas.

Germany gets 35 per cent of its energy from Russia.

But Baird suggests the greater concern is countries including Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia that are almost completely dependent on Russian natural gas.

And he says Russia's recent move to annex Ukraine's Crimean peninsula puts pressure on Canada to speed up the construction of infrastructure that would allow for greater exports.

"I think, if anything, it underlines the importance of moving ahead responsibly on the export of not just our oil but natural gas," Baird told an Ottawa news conference Thursday.

"This crisis in eastern Europe, casting a shadow over all of Europe, reminds us that Canada is one of the only countries with substantial oil reserves that is both an open economy, governed by the rule of law, and a stable, liberal democracy."

Beyond Europe, Industry Minister James Moore adds that Canada needs to build infrastructure to send energy to other markets, including Asia and the Middle East.

"We want Canadian resources to get world prices and we want them to do well in the global market and we want to engage and build these projects," he said in a teleconference from Amsterdam.

"From our meetings with South Korea, to Jordan, to Israel, and here in Germany and Netherlands … that’s five very distinct and very different global markets all of whom when we meet with them, among their first questions is, 'tell us about your resource development and what you are doing on energy policy'."

The Canadian Press


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