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Energy-Clean Technology Seminar: Speech

"Energy is essential to a healthy economy. However, it must go hand-in-hand with a healthy environment." 

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Ladies and gentlemen…friends…it is a great delight to be here in Tokyo.

I am so pleased to make my first visit to Japan, to honour the long-standing and special relationship between your country and our province.

And it is exciting to join you at this energy and clean technology seminar.


It is wonderful to see such great participation from Japan’s and Alberta’s energy and clean energy industries, and research community.

And it is a great honour to share the podium with:

  • Mr. Koichi Hamano, Executive Vice-President of JOGMEC; and
  • Mr. Kiyoshi Ogino, Executive Vice-President and Executive Officer at JAPEX.

Their expertise—along with that of:

  • Ms. Wendy Thomas from AltaGas Ltd,
  • Minister Deron Bilous from Alberta Economic Development and Trade, and
  • Mr. Garret Matteotti from Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association, and
  • Ms. Yukari Yamashita from the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan…

…will make this a hugely informative seminar.

I also thank Canada’s Ambassador Ian Burney and his staff for their generous hospitality in allowing the Alberta Japan Office to host this seminar here in the Embassy.

And thank you to David Anderson and the entire Alberta Japan Office for this great opportunity to promote co-operation among Japan’s and Alberta’s energy and clean technology sectors.

Lastly, I recognize someone who is making an extraordinary effort to build relations between Alberta and Japan.

Deron Bilous is Alberta’s Minister of Economic Development and Trade, and he is making his second visit to Japan in the past five months.

Minister Bilous and I are happy to build on the success of all of Alberta’s previous visits.


Today, we are all here to discuss two topics that—at first glance—would seem to be unlikely to share the same venue.

The first topic is conventional oil and gas, and the pipelines that would deliver them.

The second is the development of clean technologies that support our environment and efforts to address climate change.

We all know that the two are inter-related and co-dependent.

With our government, Alberta developed the first provincial climate strategy in Canada.

And yet, a big part of my mission here is promoting and supporting Alberta energy.

That’s because…whether we are energy users or producers…oil and gas drive our economies, cities and the quality of life of people around the world.

Energy is essential to a healthy economy. However, it must go hand-in-hand with a healthy environment. 

Recognizing that reality makes for a strong partnership:

  • between energy and the environment, and
  • between Japan and Alberta. 


First, I will look at our long collaboration in traditional energy—oil and gas—and what that means for our future.

Alberta is rightfully proud of our energy resources.

We have the third-largest oil reserves in the world, and some of the largest gas formations.

Production is growing, with 600,000 barrels a day coming on line over the next two years.

And I sincerely thank the long-standing Japanese investors in Alberta’s oil and gas sectors, including, of course JAPEX, and other key sectors of our province for your vision, support and confidence.

Alberta oil and gas offers significant energy security…as our friends with the Japan, Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation—or JOGMEC—know.

JOGMEC’s mandate is to secure a stable supply of energy and resources for Japan…and has been active in Alberta for years.

In fact, it is one of Alberta’s most significant and long-standing stakeholders.

Yesterday—in fact, the very first thing I did after getting off the plane at Narita Airport was to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with JOGMEC to support our collaboration on energy and technology.

The agreement is another step forward in our deeply rooted friendship.

For land-locked Alberta, providing a stable supply of oil and gas depends on reliable access to tidewater.

That’s why my government is working hard with all Canadian authorities and partners to get our oil and gas to tidewater…and easy access to Japan and Asia.

Just last fall, the Government of Canada approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to Canada’s west coast, where it will have easy access to the Asia Pacific.

Alberta—as well as British Columbia and Canada—has already provided Kinder Morgan with the necessary permits.

This expansion will almost triple the pipeline’s capacity—from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day.

At a 90 per cent use rate, the Trans Mountain takeaway capacity is expected to be more than a half-million barrels per day, starting in 2020.

Efforts to bring Alberta natural gas to the Asian market also are underway.

Since August 2014, Liquified Petroleum Gas from Alberta has been coming to Japan through the Ferndale terminal in Washington State thanks to AltaGas and its partners.

An agreement early last year aims to export at least half of the 1.2 million tonnes of propane AltaGas will be sending to tidewater to Japan through a partnership with Astomos Energy.

Those shipments will be made from the proposed Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal in British Columbia when it opens next year, in 2018.

Ms Wendy Thomas from AltaGas will have more:

  • on that agreement,
  • on her company’s massive investment, and
  • on the steps toward starting commercial operations.

Japan can be assured that gaining access to tidewater for Alberta oil and gas is a top priority for Alberta companies and my government.

At the same time, both Japan and Alberta also are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to address the urgent need for action on climate change.

Climate leadership

Back on our side of the Pacific, the Government of Canada was very clear that Alberta’s commitment to climate leadership—and emission reduction under our plan was a major factor in approving the Trans Mountain pipeline.

And I was gratified to hear it.

Because I believe—and many energy consumers around the world believe that economic development can only move forward by respecting our environment and climate.

Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan achieves that balance.

While our government encourages the continued development of oil and gas under a modern royalty system and low taxation the Climate Leadership Plan:

  • puts a price on carbon across our economy,
  • caps oil sands emissions at 100 megatonnes per year, and
  • reduces methane emissions by 45 per cent off our 2014 levels by 2025, and
  • phases out coal as a fuel to generate electricity.

By 2030…30 per cent of our electrical power will come from solar, wind and other renewables.

Which means that in Alberta…most of the fuel Alberta uses to generate electrical power will still have to come from oil and natural gas.

That industry also is the largest source of methane emissions in Alberta.

So our methane reduction targets will be of special interest to our Japanese partners in this sector.

Starting in 2018, facilities will be allowed a certain level of emissions free of the carbon levy, to protect their competitiveness.

They will get performance credits for emissions below the free amount, and must take action for emissions that exceed the free limit.

So the reward for reducing emissions will be significant…and so will the reward for investment and partnership.

Clean technologies

And that brings me to the second topic of this seminar—clean technology.

Our greatest potential hope to reduce emissions—and our greatest area for partnership—is in clean technologies that will:

  • make hydrocarbons a greener choice, and
  • build our capacity for renewable energy.

Supporting that effort is Alberta’s third-largest value-added industry—advanced technology.

Already, Alberta is a leader in many environmental products and services…with more than 1,300 companies generating $3 billion in revenue.

Now—spurred by action on climate change—Alberta is supporting clean technologies through a range of:

  • agreements,
  • supportive agencies, and
  • investments.

Looking at agreements, Minister Bilous was in Ottawa in February to renew and expand a Memorandum of Understanding with our federal government on clean energy research and technology.

That agreement now includes a commitment to work together and with industry to develop cleaner oil sands technologies.

The governments of Alberta and Canada also agreed to match investments to build a new Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre that will test breakthrough technologies that turn carbon dioxide into products for everyday use.

And our agreement with JOGMEC explores collaboration on an international level.

A number of new agencies are providing supports and incentives to develop clean technologies.

A new Climate Technology Task Force is working on recommendations to guide a Climate Change Innovation and Technology Framework for Alberta.

That framework will help to guide Alberta’s innovation and technology investments in climate change innovation and technology.

Be sure that what my officials and I learn during this visit also will help us develop the new framework.

An agency called Energy Efficiency Alberta is working to promote an energy efficiency services industry…while helping businesses and households become more energy-efficient.

The agency Emissions Reduction Alberta is investing in technology projects that reduce methane.

And Alberta Innovates is a major research organization and catalyst that is working to develop clean fuels with the lowest carbon emissions.

Alberta Innovates has made investments into bio-waste, geothermal technologies…and converting methanol to ethanol.

A whole range of agencies, research institutions and industries are making investments into developing clean technology.

For our government, the main source of investment is Alberta’s economy-wide carbon levy.

Almost half of the revenues will support large scale renewable energy, bioenergy and technology.

As always, people are the source of innovation.

Alberta’s post-secondary institutions are making curriculum adjustments to support the move to clean technology.

That is great news for some of the more than 500 Japanese students attending university or college in Alberta.


Friends, Japanese companies and interests have long been investors and partners in Alberta.

All areas and sectors in our economy have felt the benefit of that interest and investment confidence.

I invite Japan to bring your technology and investment capital to Alberta.

With no provincial retail sales tax, provincial capital taxes, payroll taxes or machinery and equipment taxes Alberta offers one of the most competitive business environments in North America.

Our Modernized Royalty Framework that came into effect this January rewards innovation and improved costs.

And Alberta’s new Capital Investment Tax Credit encourages investment in capital costs including equipment, machinery and buildings.

This is a two-year program that provides a 10 per cent non-refundable tax credit of up to $5 million.

I look forward to new agreements and partnerships between us on energy development, and on clean technologies.

The potential is great, and the returns will be seen:

  • in our economies,
  • in the quality of our environment, and
  • in the quality of life of our peoples.

Back home, the test of our government’s every decision is: does this make people’s lives better?

I believe our partnership on energy and clean technologies will do exactly that.

Thank you.

Government of Alberta