(Adds detail on oil sands, comments on border)
By Liz Hampton
HOUSTON, March 10 Canadian Prime Minister Justin
Trudeau on Friday dismissed a recent string of major oil
companies selling their holdings in the heavy oil sands of
Western Canada and moving investments to shale fields.
Royal Dutch Shell and Marathon Oil this
week disclosed sales of operations that largely removed both
firms from the carbon-heavy oil reserves. Shell is selling its
interests to Canadian Natural Resources. Last month,
Exxon Mobil wrote down all of its oil reserves from its
Kearl project in northern Alberta, saying extracting the oil was
no longer economic at current prices.
"Businesses will make the decisions they make," Trudeau
In a wide-ranging media briefing, Trudeau said oil and gas
executives are looking for greater clarity on regulations and
pricing, arguing that the world is ready for a low-carbon
economy. He also said Canada and the United States are working
on border issues, including migration and trade.
Trudeau said a Canadian consensus on a carbon price to meet
international climate change goals shows the nation can move
forward on difficult issues.
"The one thing I’ve heard consistently from leaders in the
energy industry is the need for clarity in terms of what (the)
frame of regulations, (and) pricing is going to be," he said.
Promoting both renewable and conventional energy sources
shows "investments in Canada are sound investments, not just for
short term, but for the long term," Trudeau said." We're going
to see many people interested in partnering in drawing on
Canadians' great natural resources."
Referring to a U.S. proposal for a tax on imports to
stimulate job creation, which his government opposes, Trudeau
cautioned that details are still lacking, and agreement is far
"Anything that creates extra barriers and impediments to the
smooth flow of goods will hurt our business and hurt our workers
and limit our capacity to be competitive," he said, repeating
his objections to a U.S. border tax.
Asked about potential repercussions if a tax were imposed,
Trudeau said his government would seek to protect the country's
export jobs and "stand up for the values we hold dear."
The United States and Canada are engaged at several levels,
he said, including on trade, refugees and immigration. The
country's minister of public safety is meeting with the U.S.
secretary of Homeland Security on border issues, he said, adding
that Canada is not skimping on border security.
Work also is continuing on gaining pre-clearance approvals
to allow more Canadians to pass U.S. customs reviews while still
on Canadian soil, he said, speeding up travel between the two
(Reporting by Liz Hampton; Writing by Gary McWilliams; Editing
by Dan Grebler)