OPEC Officials Visit Canada in Search of Closer Ties

OPEC President Edmund Daukoru said yesterday that he wanted resource-rich Canada to start a "common dialogue" with his cartel, but Canadian officials immediately rejected his overture.

"Canada could well get to a point where they would have to begin to listen to what OPEC is saying ... and maybe, God knows, even a common dialogue with OPEC," Daukoru said in Calgary, where OPEC officials are visiting this week.

Canada is producing 2.5 million barrels of oil per day, including 1 million bpd from its estimated 179 billion barrels of oil sands. OPEC estimated in June that Canada's output would reach 3.5 million bpd by 2015.

Canadian Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn said Canada had no intention of forming closer ties with OPEC. "Canada will not even consider joining OPEC," he said. "Our energy production in Canada is based on the principles of a free market. We will not stray from that at all."

Said Canadian Energy Ministry spokesman Bob McManus: "We have participated in past OPEC meetings as an observer, and certainly, we have an interest in what's happening in the marketplace, but in terms of any kind of formal relationship, it's not in the cards. There are some pretty significant differences between Alberta and most of the OPEC countries: We don't have a state-owned company that has a monopoly on the production of the resource, so it would be problematic to impose a quota" (Michel Comte, Agence France-Presse, Oct. 23).

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