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THE CALGARY HERALD: Shell’s Mather joins U.K. trade delegation

BY MARIO TONEGUZZI

One of the city’s top business leaders is joining a Calgary Economic Development delegation on a trade mission to the United Kingdom next month to sing the praises of Calgary’s, and Alberta’s, economic juggernaut.

Clive Mather, Shell Canada Ltd. CEO, told the Herald his message overseas will be simple: The city and the province offer a wealth of opportunities in this current boom and into the future.

“As a major business here, it’s always good to spread the word — not only about the potential that we have here but also about the assistance that we need to help develop that,” said Mather.

“We are, as you know, short of resources in a number of areas and we are going to need investors and suppliers from far afield if we are to realize the full potential of this magnificent resource.”

Mather said he has talked about this subject elsewhere — Canada, the United States, and the Netherlands.

“It really is all about the scale of the opportunity,” he said. “The world is developing at a pace which is going to need ever-increasing energy to meet its needs. And for the next 30, 40, 50 years, hydrocarbons are going to have to provide the lion’s share of that energy. And conventional resources of oil and gas are getting more difficult to find and more expensive to develop and that means there is a growing opportunity for unconventional resources like oilsands.”

He said Alberta has three positive attributes in terms of world energy demand. The first is the scale of this resource. “It is simply enormous and arguably one of — if not the — biggest deposits of hydrocarbons in the world,” said Mather.

The second factor is the political stability associated with Canada and Alberta. And the third factor is the access to the world’s biggest market in the United States.

“These are three strategic reasons which make this opportunity so important,” added Mather.

Clark Grue, vice-president, investment and trade development for Calgary Economic Development, said the United Kingdom is an important target market in a number of sectors.

“We look at it quite regularly as the year goes on for opportunities where we can be in the market and promote what’s happening in Calgary and the opportunities in Calgary to build connections between the U.K. and Calgary and Alberta,” said Grue.

Grue said Mather will help deliver the message about “Calgary being Canada’s new growth engine.” He will talk about the northern oilsands in the province and the Alberta Advantage as well as talking specifically about Calgary.

Calgary Economic Development is planning a number of trade initiatives in 2007.

The first one will be in the United Kingdom Feb. 12 to 14. On Feb. 12, Mather will be the keynote speaker during a reception in London hosted by the Canadian High Commission, the Alberta-U.K. office, U.K. Trade and Investment, and Calgary Economic Development.

Delegate meetings the next day.

On Feb. 14, the Calgary delegation will be in Aberdeen, Scotland.

The delegation will include representatives from several Calgary companies. Grue said Calgary Economic Development hopes about 10 companies will be represented on the trade mission which will focus on the energy, technology, finance and engineering sectors.

“We’re seeing tremendous interest in Calgary internationally and the important part that we feel from the Calgary Economic Development point of view is getting the message right so that companies and people understand what Calgary is, the opportunity it offers,” said Grue.

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