Announced via press release on Thursday, the news confirmed long-held suspicions that the $15.7 billion, 4,500 km oilsands pipeline simply wouldn’t cut it in today’s economic context.
But that hasn’t stopped commentators on all sides from pouncing on the cancellation as proof of their political project. Conservative politicians have lambasted the federal Liberals for introducing carbon pricing and new rules on pipeline applications, while environmentalists have claimed the company’s decision was a direct result of their organizing.
DeSmog Canada is here to help wade through the mess. Here are five things you should know about the cancelled Alberta-to-New Brunswick pipeline.
1. Energy East was primarily for export
Perhaps the most lingering myth about Energy East was that it would be built to displace foreign oil imports in Eastern Canada.
In fact, that very notion was repeated by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley in her Facebook post about the cancellation: “We believe this nation-building project would have benefited all of Canada through new jobs, investment, energy security and the ability to displace oil being imported into Canada from overseas and the United States,” she wrote.
Except it’s never been true.
An application by TransCanada to the National Energy Board back in May 2016 indicated that it would ship an estimated 281 tankers per year of oil, equivalent to about 900,000 barrels per day. That’s more than 80 per cent of the pipeline’s planned 1.1 million barrel per day capacity, leaving around 200,000 barrels per day to be refined at New Brunswick’s Irving Oil refineries.
That’s far below the 736,000 barrels per day that TransCanada suggested is being imported from foreign countries due to a lack of a west-to-east pipeline. In addition, Irving Oil’s president suggested in 2016 that his company wouldn’t necessarily displace its use of cheaper barrels from Saudi Arabia with product from Alberta.
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