Article: “Canada to watch from the sidelines amid ‘extraordinary times’ in global energy markets”

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Two major trends are unfolding in global oil and gas markets, but Canada seems unable to take advantage of the first one, and is already an unfortunate casualty of the other, says a new report.

First, the world’s energy demand will rise the equivalent of China and India’s current energy consumption over the next three decades — but Canada has limited direct conduits to connect those energy-hungry markets to its store of the world’s third-largest oil reserves.

The second development, which has already dented the Canadian oilpatch, is the rise of U.S. tight oil and gas that is taking dollars and focus away from the Western Canadian industry.

The global energy markets are in the midst of “extraordinary times”, writes Fatih Birol, executive director at the International Energy Agency in its annual World Energy Outlook, launched in Paris on Tuesday.

The benchmark report notes that with renewable energy technologies nipping at the heels of oil, natural gas and coal and a global push by policymakers to cut carbon emissions, juxtaposed with near-insatiable demand from a global population that will hit 9 billion within a few decades and the rise of the U.S. as the world’s largest oil and gas producer, the energy sector is experiencing disruptive times.

Amid these upheavals, Canada will likely remain a minor actor, its global plans dashed partially through self-restraint and rules, and also by its next-door neighbour who is upending global markets and disrupting Canada’s plans to export oil and gas in the process.