Thursday, May 30, 2024

Germany should not rely on Canada this winter

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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Canada will not provide much assistance to Germany this winter in its quest for sources of natural gas supply other than Russia, Berlin and Ottawa admitted. But they say it will be at the heart of the shift to new sources of green energy, including hydrogen, which will happen much faster than one might imagine.

Canada currently has no means on its east coast to liquefy natural gas and ship it directly to Europe across the Atlantic. However, it will take significant time and money to build such facilities, especially since they are usually built next to sources of supply and these sources, in Canada, are in the provinces of the West, explained on Monday, in Montreal, the Canadian Prime Minister. Minister, Justin Trudeau, during a press conference sharing the podium with his German counterpart, Chancellor Olaf Schulz.

“There has been no viable action plan yet,” Prime Minister Trudeau continued on exporting Canadian LNG to Europe. It now remains to be seen whether “the new context and new needs change the situation enough to move by” with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Europeans wanting to turn their backs on its fossil energy. This is what ministers and companies are currently discussing. On the government side, we are ready to smooth things over to allow regulatory hurdles to be overcome quickly. »

This accelerated treatment will not apply to environmental rules, however, the Federal Environment Minister, Stephen Gilbolt, outlined in an interview with Should. Of the 15 projects that are said to be on the drawing board at the moment, he said, it would be surprising to see more than one project really in the light of day. It will take at least three or four years to achieve this.

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“Are the Germans going to hold their breath for the next three or four years? I don’t think so. It’s clear that the federal government is not going to invest in an LNG project in Canada, [et qu’il] There will be no rapid environmental assessment process for these projects. »

imminent revolution

“In the short term, we will do everything we can to help the Germans,” Justin Trudeau emphasized. This could take the form of increasing Canadian exports to the United States and across the Pacific, which, in a ship-link game, would free up natural gas reserves elsewhere in the world that could take the route to Europe.

But in the long term, Canada’s contribution should be much greater, particularly in terms of green hydrogen production, the supply of critical minerals as well as the technologies necessary for the transition towards a carbon-neutral economy, Olaf Scholz said. He arrived in Canada on Sunday at the head of a large delegation of German ministers and business representatives, and will leave on Wednesday.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that hydrogen production from renewable energy is still in its infancy, he said. “Like all great industrial developments of the past, it starts slowly, and then there comes a point where it picks up quickly when companies decide to make change. […] This is what we are currently seeing. We will all witness this change, not just future generations. »

In a statement to Globe and MailCanada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Jonathan Wilkinson, indicated Thursday that for it to be acceptable, any natural gas liquefaction project must be designed in such a way that the plant can then be converted to liquid hydrogen production and export. Since all of these processes require a great deal of energy, we especially rely on the massive wind energy production capabilities of the Atlantic provinces.

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Meanwhile, the first agreement on hydrogen production and export is due to be signed on Wednesday in Stephenville, Newfoundland. Before that, German carmakers Volkswagen and Mercedes will announce in Toronto on Tuesday that they have signed a contract to supply nickel, cobalt and lithium to manufacture electric car batteries, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

Quebec liquefied natural gas

In an interview, Stephen Gelbo confirmed that Canada was not under any pressure from Germany to revive GNN Quebec’s natural gas liquefaction project in Saguenay.

Instead, Chancellor Schulze once again thanked Canada for not falling into the “Vladimir Putin trap” and for returning to Europe a turbine that had been repaired in Montreal and destined for the Russian Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline. Although it was diversified and legalized recently, Germany’s efforts are still dependent on Russian gas, and Canada’s strict enforcement of its embargo on Russia would have given Moscow an excuse to turn off the tap on Russia, and Europe as well as sow division in the ranks of the Western alliance formed against it since its invasion of Ukraine.

With Boris Prolix

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