According to the IEA World Energy Outlook 2009, fossil fuels remain the dominant sources of energy worldwide, accounting for 77 per cent of the demand increase from 2007-2030. The demand for natural gas worldwide is set to resume its long-term upwards trend, though the pace of demand hinges critically on the strength of climate policy action as well as on the rate of economic growth.
The IEA predicts large growth rates in global demand for all primary energy, mainly because of increased industrial activity in regions like Asia, Latin America and some parts of Africa. This presents market opportunities for energy exporting nations like Canada. Low-emissions fossil fuels from Canada would go a long way in meeting this demand without compromising the global environment. Therefore, CCS technology and expertise developed anywhere (including Canada) would be well received in international markets.
Developing CCS is strategically important to Canada for several reasons. Most importantly, Canada (and its closest trading partner, the United States) is endowed with abundant fossil fuel deposits. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates Canada's proved oil reserves total around 178 billion barrels if the oil sands are included, which would make its reserves the world's second-largest, after Saudi Arabia’s. Canada also has large natural gas deposits, especially frontier and unconventional opportunities such as coalbed methane, tight gas and gas hydrates. Canada has rich coal reserves, and in fact, North America has the largest global coal resource.
Developing CCS technology represents a way to extract the economic benefits of these resources while maintaining strong environmental objectives. But CCS must also act as a bridging technology, not just a way to expand fossil fuel use. Storing CO2 from large stationary sources allows renewable sources of energy the time to develop to commercial scale as well. Whether the future hinges on fossil fuel sources, or renewable energy, CCS helps provide the time for economies to adapt and adjust to innovative solutions.
CCS is of great strategic importance to Canada