Aerial view of the destruction of Alberta's boreal forest to clear land for the Athabasca oil sand mines. Photo: Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace

By Jeremy Berke
10 March 2017

(Business Insider) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received an unusually warm reception of his keynote address at an energy industry conference in Texas on Thursday evening.

"No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there," Trudeau said in his address to oil and gas industry executives at Houston's CERAWeek conference, discussing Alberta's vast oil sands reserves.

Trudeau's speech was met with a standing ovation from the more than 1,200 attendees — an unordinary reaction to a keynote speaker, conference-goers told the CBC. The prime minister was also given an award for his efforts to balance environmental protection and energy production.

"The resource will be developed. Our job is to ensure that this is done responsibly, safely, and sustainably," Trudeau said. "Nothing is more essential to the US economy than access to a secure, reliable source of energy. Canada is that source."

Aerial view of the destruction of Alberta's boreal forest to clear land for the Athabasca oil sand mines. Photo: Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace

Trudeau has been under fire from Canada's oil industry after he stumbled while discussing the topic in January. He told an audience in Ontario that the oil sands should be phased out, later telling The Globe and Mail that he "misspoke."

Trudeau's speech also touted his support for the Keystone XL pipeline, one of the few areas where he and US President Donald Trump share common ground.

He further discussed juggling the priorities of combatting climate change and bolstering Canada's oil and gas industry. [more]

'No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them': Justin Trudeau gets a standing ovation at an energy conference in Texas

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