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Recent Foreign Investment in the Canadian Oil and Gas Industry Stampa E-mail
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by Jon Rozhon| senior research director Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI)


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Questo articolo esamina i più recenti trend in merito agli investimenti stranieri in Canada nel settore oil&gas. A conferma che nel mondo... il mondo dell’energia continua a svilupparsi (e non solo nella direzione delle rinnovabili), lo studio del Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) intende rispondere a domande quali: Dove si stanno concentrando gli investimenti? Chi sono i principali attori? E perché stanno scegliendo proprio il Canada e il comparto degli idrocarburi?
Particolare attenzione è dedicata anche all’esame delle legislazioni in merito agli investimenti stranieri, recentemente aggiornate dai governi locali. Riusciranno effettivamente a portare nuove risorse o, al contrario, avranno un effetto disincentivante, rispetto ai valori medi del recente passato in cui è stata superata agevolmente la soglia dei 20 miliardi di dollari/anno?
L’articolo parte da una semplice considerazione: il mondo ha ancora un grande bisogno di idrocarburi. Ma come ha rilevato la stessa US Energy Information Administration, solo il 15 per cento delle riserve mondiali di oil&gas possono essere considerate openly accessible, ovvero si trovano in nazioni rette da un governo democratico e capaci di incoraggiare (o per lo meno di consentire) l’investimento esterno nello sfruttamento di queste risorse. E il Canada, di questo 15 per cento, detiene una fetta molto significativa.
Lo stesso CERI ammette apertamente che il Canada ha deciso di diventare una superpotenza energetica e che per realizzare questo obiettivo non può prescindere dall’apporto di capitali stranieri. D’altra parte, come ha avuto modo di precisare il primo ministro Stephen Harper: “Quando diciamo che il canada è aperto agli investimenti esteri non stiamo certo dicendo che sia in vendita ai governi stranieri...”. La ricerca di un giusto equilibrio, tra esigenze che appaiono in contrasto, rappresenta la vera sfida.
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The Global Search for Oil and Gas
The Peak Oil discussion that was on everyone’s lips only a few years ago appears to have receded into the past. New technologies have reinvigorated old plays and made economically feasible the extraction of oil and gas from shale formations. The heavier oil in Venezuela’s Orinoco deposits, Alberta’s oil sands, and elsewhere is more or less accessible, though impeded to a degree by geopolitical and economic forces.
But despite what appears to be a world amply-supplied with oil, Governments in China, Malaysia, Japan, and elsewhere have mandated national oil companies (NOCs) to scour the globe for long-term hydrocarbon supply.
Peak Oil may not be on the immediate horizon, but oil and gas drive the world economy today - every nation, whether developed or developing, wants to make sure it has a solid hold on supply.


Why Invest in Canada?
Besides Canada’s large oil and gas reserves and advanced transportation infrastructure, the country is politically and economically stable, with a federal government aiming to develop the nation into an energy superpower - largely through free and open energy markets.
This is a rare situation in the world today, where many nations holding large hydrocarbon reserves are not established democracies, nor do they permit foreign companies equal access to resources (compared to the home NOC, for example). In fact, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that only 15 percent of world reserves are openly accessible - no companies operating in these areas receive preferential treatment, and all must abide by the laws of the land.


Any nation that values security of energy supply could do worse than source that supply from Canada, foreign entities can operate with little concern that their assets will be nationalized or their access to reserves curtailed. Also attractive is Canada’s low overall country risk, a measurement that accounts for a variety of elements such as political stability, credit ratings, and strength of economy. Canada’s country risk level is low compared to other oil producing nations, including democracies such as the US and Mexico.


From the Canadian perspective, the federal government welcomes foreign investment but not all to the same degree. Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated his government’s position to the press: “To be blunt, Canadians have not spent years reducing the ownership of sectors of the economy by our own governments only to see them bought and controlled by foreign governments instead… when we say that Canada is open for business, we do not mean that Canada is for sale to foreign governments”. There is no doubt that NOC’s, which almost always are under a degree of state control, play a major role in the global oil industry, controlling 85 percent of proven reserves and approximately 58 percent of global oil production.


Limiting access to these entities, while trying still to support an open oil and gas industry presents a dilemma: NOC’s possess the financial heft to help develop Canada into an “energy superpower”, yet the more that money is accepted, the more the resource becomes statecontrolled rather than governed by private enterprise.



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