OTTAWA — Canada’s natural resources minister is taking the European Union to task over its proposal to discriminate against crude from the Alberta oilsands.
Joe Oliver has written to union energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger to complain about a plan to differentiate oilsands products from other sources of heavy crude.
The proposal stems from complaints that the oilsands have a greater greenhouse gas footprint than conventional production.
Oliver’s letter says other oil sources produce the same or even greater amounts of greenhouse gases, but aren’t singled out for special treatment.
He says discriminating against Canadian heavy crude could violate the European Union’s international trade obligations.
Canadian exports of oilsands crude to Europe are low, but Oliver says he takes the proposed discrimination seriously.
In his letter, he says Canada is open about greenhouse gas production, while other countries hide or fudge their data.
“We object to being treated less favourably than other crude oil sources simply because Canadian industry provides more detailed data on oil sands emissions,” he said in his letter.
“It is not sufficient for the European Union to fail to address these data issues and base its directive on incomplete information.”
He said Europe should base its policies on scientific data and look at all its sources of heavy crude, not just oilsands production.
Oliver plans to speak to his European counterparts about the matter next week.