World

Trudeau Getting Award From Oil Industry At Houston Conference

REUTERS/Chris Wattie

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

The world leader who just this year talked about “phasing out the oil sands,” a massive petroleum exploration project in northern Alberta, will be receiving a major energy award in Houston Thursday night.

At what’s known as CERAWeek, event organizers will be honoring Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his self-proclaimed ability to balance an energy-driven economy with environmental messages.

Trudeau is also slated to give the keynote address Thursday night and will be the first Canadian prime minister to do so.

Trudeau has run afoul of some of his closest environmental supporters in Canada when he approved two major oil pipelines within the last six months — including the cross-border Keystone XL line.

That won’t be on the agenda tonight.

“We recognize that Prime Minister Trudeau has taken a very clear position in terms of integrating energy and environmental concerns and the way that the two interact with each other,” CERAWeek conference chair Daniel Yergin told CBC News.

“The award will highlight on a global basis what the prime minister is achieving in Canada and what he is conveying really to the world community on how to approach the challenges around energy and environment that the entire planet faces,” said Yergin.

The CERAWeek conference is the brainchild of international financial services firm IHS Markit and attracts in a mixture of traditional energy executives and green energy advocates. There are delegates from 60 countries and a 300 media at the five-day conference.

Yergin suggested that Trudeau’s presence could be very appropriate given the current cross-border fixation on NAFTA and energy discussions.

“I think at this particular time of discussion about trade and investment, to highlight in particular U.S. and Canadian relations is very important.”

CERAWeek, though dominated by the energy sector, expressed increasing enthusiasm for green energy during the Obama years with an emphasis on renewable energy, electric cars and progressive world leaders like Trudeau.

That focus seems to be shifting. “We have a unique president today,” Continental Resources Inc Chief Executive Harold Hamm told Reuters on Wednesday, “unique in that he keeps his promises.” Hamm, an early supporter of the president, said: “It is a good start.”

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