Plan would reduce Canada’s need for OPEC oilSeptember 6, 2013
Canada is considering a proposal to fuel itself by building a pipeline from the oilsands of Alberta to the more heavily populated provinces of eastern Canada. Although Canada is already a net energy exporter, this pipeline would be a further step in weaning North America off Arab oil and reducing the flow of petrodollars to de facto state sponsors of terrorism.
Freedom oil: Energy East pipeline appealing and has a politically important spinoff
The largest oil refinery in Canada isn’t in Alberta. Neither is it in Ontario or Quebec, the biggest provinces with the most cars.
It’s the Irving Oil refinery in New Brunswick.
Trouble is, that refinery, like most of eastern Canada, buys imported oil, including from OPEC countries. It’s a paradox: Canada produces an enormous amount of oil, but we export the good stuff to the U.S. and import conflict oil for ourselves.
It’s not just that Canadian oil is produced in a more environmentally friendly manner than OPEC oil; we also use the proceeds for peaceful purposes, treat our workers well and respect human rights. It’s like the difference between Canadian diamonds and African blood diamonds.
There’s another difference, too: Canadian oil is cheaper – on any given day, oil from Canada’s oilsands sells at a $10 to $35 discount to world prices, mainly because of a pipeline bottleneck. So Irving Oil is spending literally millions of extra dollars every day on expensive foreign imports. All for a lack of a pipeline connecting Alberta to the East.
Which is why the proposed Energy East pipeline, announced last week by TransCanada Pipelines, is so appealing.
Its main purpose is to ship oil, of course. But politically it has a more important spin-off. At an estimated $12 billion cost, the pipeline is easily the largest infrastructure project in Canada. Construction will employ thousands of workers, mainly in eastern Canada. And the more affordable crude oil it ships will save thousands more jobs at refineries not just in Saint John but along the route in Quebec, where several refineries have recently closed and more are teetering on the brink.
The pipeline will carry a staggering 1.1 million barrels a day, enough to supply the refineries along its route and then some.
And so TransCanada and Irving Oil propose to build a tanker export facility in Saint John. Instead of Saudi tankers bringing shariah oil to Canada, imagine the possibility of Canadian tankers sending freedom oil out.
At the announcement ceremony at the Saint John refinery, rows of workers stood in hard hats for a photo, and behind them and around the site were simple banners reading “Alberta, Always Welcome.”
Nothing to do with economics, nothing to do with jobs. Everything to do with national unity and calling out the unseemly anti-Alberta bigotry that animates so many anti-oilsands extremists.
What a noble, dignified, grand answer to the critics, like the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair, who has called the oilsands an economic “disease.”
New Brunswick knows this pipeline is the most important economic opportunity they will have in a generation; their partisan provincial legislature issued a unanimous statement of support for it.
Alberta wins with a new path for its oil, a path that can’t be blocked by a pro-OPEC U.S. president.
Quebec and New Brunswick refineries win with affordable feedstock. Construction workers win.Canada wins with a deep-water port to export oil to the world.
Who loses? Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Angola, three odious dictatorships that will have to peddle their blood oil somewhere else…