VANCOUVER - Canada needs to explore development of a public-private energy transportation corridor to export oil and gas to the Asia-Pacific region, suggests a report issued Wednesday by two special-interest groups.

The transportation corridor would consist of a combination of pipelines and rail transportation to Canada's west coast, operated by the private sector but regulated as a kind of public utility, the report suggests.

The report was released by a taskforce sponsored by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and the Canada West Foundation.

Some of the infrastructure exists and several companies plan to build more but the report says there needs to be a broader, more strategic approach.

"A commitment to invest in hard and soft infrastructure to export energy is a pre-requisite for closer economic ties with Asia. Developing a public energy transportation corridor constituted by government, regulated as a kind of public utility, and operated by the private sector merits further study.

"This corridor could consist of a combination of pipelines and rail transportation for oil and gas to the west coast."

Similar calls for a Canadian energy strategy have been made recently by Alberta's Alison Redford in a meeting with other western provincial premiers. The energy industry has also been in favour of looking beyond the United States and Canada.

However, plans to build the Gateway pipeline system between Alberta and Kitimat, B.C., have been opposed by a variety of environmental and First Nations groups — resulting in months of public-hearings that are currently under way.

The federal government, led by Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, has promised to speed up the regulatory approval process by eliminating duplication of efforts and creating hard deadlines for completing approvals within two years.

Kathy Sendall, Director of CGG Veritas and a co-chair of the taskforce that produced the report, said in Wednesday's announcement that "we can no longer be complacent in how we deal with Asia on the energy file.

"The window of opportunity will not be open forever, and now is the time to play our strongest card to strengthen our overall relations with the region," Sendall said.

The other co-chairman of the task force is Kevin Lynch, a vice-chairman of the BMO Financial Group (TSX:BMO), one of Canada's largest banking companies.

10 IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT CANADA'S OIL INDUSTRY
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  • 10. Oil And Gas Accounts For 4.8 Per Cent Of GDP

    The oil and gas industries accounted for around $65 billion of economic activity in Canada annually in recent years, or slightly less than 5 per cent of GDP. Source: <a href="http://www.ceri.ca/docs/2010-10-05CERIOilandGasReport.pdf" target="_hplink">Canada Energy Research Institute</a>

  • 9. Oil Exports Have Grown Tenfold Since 1980

    Canada exported some 12,000 cubic metres of oil per day in 1980. By 2010, that number had grown to 112,000 cubic metres daily. Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=9&SheetID=224" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>

  • 8. Refining Didn't Grow At All As Exports Boomed

    Canada refined 300,000 cubic metres daily in 1980; in 2010, that number was slightly down, to 291,000, even though exports of oil had grown tenfold in that time. Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=7&SheetID=104" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>

  • 7. 97 Per Cent Of Oil Exports Go To The U.S.

    Despite talk by the federal government that it wants to open Asian markets to Canadian oil, the vast majority of exports still go to the United States -- 97 per cent as of 2009. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>

  • 6. Canada Has World's 2nd-Largest Proven Oil Reserves

    Canada's proven reserves of 175 billion barrels of oil -- the vast majority of it trapped in the oil sands -- is the second-largest oil stash in the world, after Saudi Arabia's 267 billion. Source: <a href="http://www.ogj.com/index.html" target="_hplink">Oil & Gas Journal</a>

  • 5. Two-Thirds Of Oil Sands Bitumen Goes To U.S.

    One-third of Canada's oil sands bitumen stays in the country, and is refined into gasoline, heating oil and diesel. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>

  • 4. Alberta Is Two-Thirds Of The Industry

    Despite its reputation as the undisputed centre of Canada's oil industry, Alberta accounts for only two-thirds of energy production. British Columbia and Saskatchewan are the second and third-largest producers. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>

  • 3. Alberta Will Reap $1.2 Trillion From Oil Sands

    Alberta' government <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/27/alberta-oil-sands-royalties-ceri_n_1382640.html" target="_hplink">will reap $1.2 trillion in royalties from the oil sands over the next 35 years</a>, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute.

  • 2. Canadian Oil Consumption Has Stayed Flat

    Thanks to improvements in energy efficiency, and a weakening of the country's manufacturing base, oil consumption in Canada has had virtually no net change in 30 years. Consumption went from 287,000 cubic metres daily in 1980 to 260,000 cubic metres daily in 2010. Source: Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=6&SheetID=99" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>

  • 1. 250,000 Jobs.. Plus Many More?

    The National Energy Board says oil and gas employs 257,000 people in Canada, not including gas station employees. And the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says the oil sands alone <a href="http://www.capp.ca/aboutUs/mediaCentre/NewsReleases/Pages/OilsandsaCanadianjobcreator.aspx" target="_hplink">will grow from 75,000 jobs to 905,000 jobs by 2035</a> -- assuming, of course, the price of oil holds up.