“Canada has no energy plan beyond pedal-to-the-metal export of its non-renewable energy assets.”
That’s the bottom line of a recent opinion piece in Calgary Herald by David Hughes, an earth scientist and research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Canada needs a long-term energy plan to wean itself from fossil fuels and move to renewable energy, Hughes writes.
While Canada will continue to rely on oil and gas in the foreseeable future, the country is currently exporting its oil at rock bottom prices, and continues to push for a pipeline—the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion—to export it to Asian markets. However, Canadian oil won’t fetch much higher prices in the world’s fastest-growing oil market Asia, as the federal government and Alberta province hope, Hughes argues.
The costs for sending Alberta’s heavy oil to the U.S. Gulf Coast are lower than the transportation costs to sell said oil to Asia via an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline and then oil tankers. Alberta’s oil can sell in the United States for $2-$5 per barrel more than it would sell in Asia, according to Hughes.
Two pipelines to the United States with double the capacity of Trans Mountain are currently under development. These two new pipelines would ease pipeline takeaway constraints before 2022, the earliest possible completion date for the Trans Mountain expansion, if it goes ahead, Hughes says.
Therefore, the current push to save the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and sell off the Alberta oil as fast as possible “makes little sense,” he wrote. e
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