Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver was in Israel this week looking to strengthen bilateral energy ties with the Jewish state.
On the heels of recently discovered massive natural gas reservoirs off the coast of Israel in 2010 and another shale oil field just south of Jerusalem – estimated to potentially contain some 250 billion barrels of shale oil – Canada wants to help the Israelis with technology and know-how.
Energy sector experts predict the finds could mean energy independence for Israel, which currently imports much of its oil from Russia, Khazakstan and other former Soviet-bloc states.
Oliver, who left for Israel last Friday, was scheduled to meet with “senior Israeli government officials and energy industry executives and discuss the potential for trade and investment between the two countries. He will reinforce Canada’s role as a secure energy supplier and promote Canada’s commitment to energy diversification and to modernizing major resource project approvals,” according to the ministry’s website.
Canada is one of the world leaders in the development of shale oil extraction technology.
In a June 22 Financial Post report, Oliver said Canada knows that Israel’s energy security “is a critical strategic issue. I think it is for every country, but for them in particular.”
A spokesperson for the ministry told The CJN Oliver was holding “high-level” meetings during his visit to Israel.
The minister is scheduled to conduct a media teleconference from Israel Thursday to give more information about the trip.
He returns to Canada on Saturday.