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Saskatchewan keen to partner India in energy sector

According to reports, a rapidly emerging economy, India is desperately looking to augment supplies of energy – both conventional and non-conventional – to fuel its economic growth.

The country’s energy needs are mounting but are not supported by adequate resources. There is apprehension India may be moving towards energy insecurity.

Talking exclusively to Business Line here in Regina, the capital of Canada’s Saskatchewan Province, Mr Bill Boyd, Minister of Energy and Resources, exudes confidence that his province is in a position to partner India in addressing energy security concerns.

“Saskatchewan is well positioned to help India address its energy security concerns”, he told this correspondent adding the two can work in the areas of both conventional and non-conventional energy sources including coal, oil and gas, nuclear and biofuels.

Currently, India imports 80 per cent of its oil requirements. In 2010, crude imports reached a new high of 159 million tonnes valued at $80 billion.

India has around 250 billion tonnes of coal reserves, but of inferior quality which by its very nature is polluting.

Elaborating his views, Mr Boyd pointed out that Saskatchewan was an international leader in “clean coal” technology.

The project currently under implementation in the province is one of only two projects in the world that are getting ready.

The technology will soon be commercialised and available in the near future.

“Opportunity for collaboration is open for private companies and governments,” the Minister pointed out adding that a demonstration project capable of testing various types of technologies can help address quality issues arising out of coal use for thermal power generation.

Saskatchewan’s clean coal technology project is expected to be completed in less than two years and will be up and running by 2014.

The Minister indicated that nuclear energy will be a huge source of power generation in the future. It is of course well known that Saskatchewan offers abundant supplies of uranium from the world’s most stable uranium producing jurisdiction accounting for a fifth of global production and endowed with the world’s highest grade deposits.

Arguing in favour of Saskatchewan, Mr Boyd asserted that low risk of economic, political or social disruption to uranium production means that supplies will be stable and uninterrupted. Importantly, the provincial government is transparent in providing geosciences information on uranium reserves.

The Minister indicated that there has been some discussion about moving oil to the west coast of Canada to Pacific Rim countries and this may open up opportunity for the development of a pipeline which in turn may include potential cooperation with India. Such a pipeline as and when developed in future can also extend to LNG.

On biofuels, Mr Boyd said the province has done a fair bit of work. Grain-based ethanol is being developed at a significant rate.

The province has five wheat-based ethanol plants in production with capacity totalling over 340 million litres annually of which only 160 million litres are used within Saskatchewan.

“In the not too distant future, biodiesel will have a significant base in Saskatchewan using canola oil,” he remarked.

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