The National Energy Board just reported 2016 growth in foreign oil imports now at 760,000 bpd (barrels per day) into eastern Canada. The nation-building question is why are eastern Canadians not using domestic supplies from Alberta and Saskatchewan? Part of it is pipeline access and that is why we need Energy East pipeline to be approved responsibly and built safely. The target date for completion is 2021
While 54% of oil imports came from the USA, thanks to shale and fracking, that source is in decline. A full third of imports are from OPEC sources, and those are increasing. Algeria supply grew 113% to 84,000 bpd. Nigerian supplies rose 80% to 73,700 bpd and Saudi as a source also rose to 87,000 bpd.
Do we really want to encourage oil imports from these OPEC sources given their human rights abuses, support for terrorism and corruption? These off-shore imports charge Brent prices that are always higher than the Canadian sourced supplies. The American sell oil into Canada in US dollars too.
Eastern refineries have to retool to take the heavier oil from Western Canada but why not. American gulf coast refineries have done that already to take Alberta bitumen. Why are Canadian refineries able to do the same thing?
Domestic source American oil can now be exported, with a recent change in their legislation. They now have more export options and that is considered to be a reason for the drop in supplies to Canada. The Americans are still our largest customer for oil exports but now they are also our largest competitor. The Americans buy our bitumen at much lower prices than the North American crude oil market price.
It should be an embarrassment to eastern Canadians to be enabling continuing abuses by their OPEC oil suppliers. With a NAFTA review in play, a national energy strategy for Canada should be top of mind for federal and provincial policy makers.
It is time to get serious