Analyst: Pipeline Projects Key for Canada to Win N. America Oil Export Race
Europe could emerge as a key destination for exports from both Canada and the U.S., as there is infrastructure in the U.S. Gulf Coast to export crude oil from this area to Europe. There is a provision that allows Canadian crude oil moved into the U.S. to be re-exported through U.S. ports, and Repsol has recently purchased Canadian crude oil for export from Freeport, Texas, to refineries in Spain. While Canada is permitted to re-export oil from the U.S., exporting U.S. crudes to Europe remains banned.
Rigzone: Where do Energy East, Northern Gateway, and the Trans Mountain Expansion stand in terms of gaining regulatory approvals and project development? Do you see any significant hurdles for these projects from regulators, non-governmental organizations and others?
Rositano: The Northern Gateway Project’s Joint Review Panel recently concluded that Canada and Canadians are better off with the project than without it. The Governor-in-Council must now decide, within 180 days, whether to accept, reject or request a reconsideration of the panel’s recommendation. However, local Aboriginal groups could reject the recommendation and a legal challenge could go all the way to the Supreme Court.
The Trans Mountain is now conducting field studies along the proposed pipeline route from Edmonton to Burnaby, comprising workshops and open houses in communities. First Nations groups and businesses will participate in the field studies to assist with data collection and to ensure that their concerns are heard and considered.
The National Energy Board approved the Line 9B reversal and Line 9 capacity expansion project in the Eastern Access Initiative in March 2014. All regulatory applications will be filed in 2014 and final approval is expected in Q4 2015.
Rigzone: What will these projects mean for Canada’s economy, particularly in terms of job creation, growth for related industries, etc.?
Rositano: Canada has the third-largest oil reserve position in the world, and the increase in production is surplus to its internal requirements. Exports to the U.S. have just about reached their maximum level as U.S. domestic production continues to increase. It is unclear why any country would choose not to develop and export its resources and instead let them sit in the ground.
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