Will Canada boost LNG exports amid German concerns? ‘Business case’ is key: Trudeau

Click to play video: 'Trudeau says strong ‘business case’ needed to increase LNG exports to Germany'
Trudeau says strong ‘business case’ needed to increase LNG exports to Germany
WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked on Monday during a joint press conference in Montreal with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz whether Canada is willing to increase liquified natural gas (LNG) exports to Germany. Trudeau said due to the long distance between the two countries, there’s never been a “strong business case” to pursue such a project, but companies are exploring a number of potential projects in light of the Russian war on Ukraine – Aug 22, 2022

As summer draws to an end and the prospect of winter gas shortages in Germany near, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced repeated questions on Monday about whether Canada is prepared to ramp up liquified natural gas (LNG) exports.

The answer, he suggested, lies with businesses.

“There are a number of potential projects, including one in Saint John and others, that are on the books for which there has never been a strong business case because of the distance from the gas fields,” Trudeau said Monday during a press conference alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

“We are looking right now and companies are looking at whether the new context makes it a worthwhile business case to make those investments.”

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Click to play video: 'German chancellor visits Canada to sign crucial energy deal'
German chancellor visits Canada to sign crucial energy deal

Canada’s best bet for helping Germany right now, Trudeau added, is to “continue to contribute to the global market.”

Germany, which is heavily reliant on Russian gas supplies, has been experiencing a reduction in the power source as the Russia-Ukraine war continues.

The Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom reduced gas deliveries from its Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which runs to northeastern Germany, by 60 per cent in June, citing turbine-related technical problems.

Earlier this month, Canada granted an exemption to the economic sanctions issued against Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

The two-year waiver allows six Siemens Energy turbines, which were in Montreal for repairs, to be returned to Germany for use in the Russian state-owned Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

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Click to play video: 'Energy in focus at Trudeau and German Chancellor Scholz’s meeting in Montreal'
Energy in focus at Trudeau and German Chancellor Scholz’s meeting in Montreal

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said last month that Canada’s decision to grant the waiver was “absolutely unacceptable.” Trudeau has defended the decision, however, and continued to do so on Monday.

“What we have done by returning … that turbine is remove the excuse that Russia had to blame someone else, anyone else, for their decision to weaponize energy policy,” he said.

Standing alongside Trudeau at the press conference, Scholz said Germany continues to support Ukraine “intensely,” despite the energy concerns.

The country has been working to reduce its dependence on Russian gas, he added.

“We are decreasing the imports,” Scholz told reporters.

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In anticipation of future uncertainty, Germany has increased imports from other countries — including Belgium and the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, Gazprom announced plans on Friday to once again shut down the Nord Stream 1 pipeline from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 to undergo “routine maintenance.”

Canada has called the repeated shutdowns a calculated move aimed at deepening divisions between Western nations and reducing support for Ukraine.

“What Russia’s goal is, is not just to create divisions among countries that are solid and steadfast in their support for Ukraine,” Trudeau said on Monday, “but undermine public support for the strong stance that our countries have taken in support for Ukraine.”

— With files from The Associated Press

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