Pipelines a benefit to all, say premiers

OTTAWA — All of Canada will reap the rewards of moving landlocked Canadian oil to coastal ports to allow its sale to international markets, two of the country’s premiers said Tuesday.

OTTAWA — All of Canada will reap the rewards of moving landlocked Canadian oil to coastal ports to allow its sale to international markets, two of the country’s premiers said Tuesday.

“Every province, every region, every community, every Canadian will benefit when we’re able to diversify our markets and get full value for the resources that we have,” New Brunswick Premier Dave Alward told a trade conference hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Alward and his Saskatchewan colleague, Brad Wall, urged provinces like Quebec and Ontario against standing in the way of pipeline projects like TransCanada’s proposed Energy East line, which they say would speed Canadian oil to market.

Refining and manufacturing industries in both provinces will get a shot in the arm from the pipelines, they asserted.

“If we look at it collectively as a country, we’re all going to benefit, but if we get into this situation where we look at one individual item or opportunity and don’t think we’re getting enough out of it, then ultimately none of us are going to gain anything,” Alward told a receptive business audience.

“We’re all winners, but the two largest winners are actually Ontario and Quebec.”

TransCanada recently delayed until next year its goal of filing an application for the $12-billion Energy East project with the National Energy Board. The company said there’s too much work to be done to file the application before the end of the year.

The 4,500-kilometre Energy East pipeline would ship up to 1.1 million barrels per day of Alberta oilsands bitumen to refineries and export terminals in Quebec and New Brunswick.

The proposal involves converting a portion of TransCanada’s underused natural gas mainline to move oil, and to build 1,400 kilometres of new pipeline to Saint John.

It’s one of two projects that have been proposed to transport oil out of Western Canada.

Enbridge (TSX:ENB) plans to spend $110 million to reverse its Line 9B to carry western crude to meet Quebec’s refining needs. The National Energy Board, which recently held heated hearings into the proposal, is expected to make a decision on the proposal in 2014.

Wall expressed dismay that Canada seems almost “apologetic” about the fact that it’s an energy powerhouse. Canada is third in the world in oil reserves and in the Top 10 in terms of oil production, Wall noted, “but we’re not acting like it.”

“A country with all of this would find ways to move energy to tidewater, to improve the return to Canadians for the resource, to ensure there are jobs for the future for all of us — including First Nations, non-First Nations, for the entire country,” he said.

“We would do everything we could to ensure we had this great resource working not just for today’s economy but helping for the economy of tomorrow. We have to get our head around moving that energy.”