The Hon. Peter Lougheed, premier of Alberta, said yesterday Canada can no longer supply oil to the United States, but added that his province is prepared to double its natural gas exports to meet American energy demands.
Speaking before about 100 Business School officials and students, Lougheed said Canada could export large quanities of natural gas to New England, but added. "There's no way we're going to sell natural gas to the United States below the Mexican price."
A portion of Alberta's 140 trillion cubic feet of natural gas could arrive in New England within two years if the proposed Quebec-Maritime-Maine pipeline is approved by the Canadian National Energy Board, Lee Richardson, one of Lougheed's aides, said yesterday.
Alberta continues to discover major natural gas fields, but exports are limited to Northwestern states at present, Richardson said, adding. "We have a lot of gas that we want to sell. The federal government just has to approve the sale."
Another aide, Jim Seymour, explained that at the present level of technology, there will be no hope of exploiting the rich tar sands of Alberta to such a degree that the Canadian federal government would allow exports to flow once again.
These tar sands contain reserves which exceed the total oil resources of Saudi Arabia, Lougheed said. He invited American participation in the development of these resources.
The Premier discussed these issues with several senators, including Sen. Henry Jackson (D-Wash.) and Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho), when he visited in Washington this week. He also met with Charles R. Duncan, the new secretary of energy.
Asked about the possibility of a North American common market, Lougheed said "Canada would lose in a common market at present. When we build on the strength of our resources we will be on an equal footing for negotiations with United States."
He added, "Our goal is to completely wipe out imports of foreign oil to Canada."
Lougheed is in Boston to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his graduation from the Business School.