OTTAWA — The National Energy Board says Canada’s existing export pipelines are running at maximum efficiency and the only way to realistically get more oil to market through pipelines is to build more of them.
The board responded Friday to questions posed last fall by Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi, who wanted to know if there was any way to improve the efficiency of pipelines while Canada struggles to expand existing lines or get new ones built.
“In a nutshell, pipelines are full,” said Jean-Denis Charlebois, the chief economist for the National Energy Board.
In a statement Friday, Sohi said the report confirms that Canada needs to build new pipelines.
The report says the amount of oil Canada is producing has increased while the capacity of pipelines to carry it has not. There are five pipeline projects, the report notes, that have been proposed and then cancelled or delayed in recent years. That includes the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which is in limbo pending a new round of reviews after a Federal Court of Appeal ripped up cabinet approval for it last year.
The NEB recently recommended cabinet proceed with the Trans Mountain expansion after completing a new review of the impact it will have on marine life. A new round of Indigenous consultations is underway and could be completed this spring.
The others are the Energy East pipeline from Alberta to the east coast (which Trans Canada abandoned), the Northern Gateway pipeline between Alberta and northern British Columbia (which the Liberals rejected in 2016), and the Keystone XL pipeline and the Enbridge Line 3 replacement (both of which face uncertainty due to regulatory challenges in the United States).
Altogether, those five projects could have added 3.4 million barrels of oil per day to Canada’s shipments. According to the NEB, the capacity in pipelines out of western Canada was just under four million barrels a day as of last September.
The report says moving more oil by rail is also not a “perfect substitute” because doing so is more expensive and complex.
It also tells Sohi that while there is room to streamline the system used by oil producers to get access to pipeline space, doing so would only reallocate existing capacity, not create more.
The improvements largely surround how the pipelines verify the ability of producers to supply the amounts of oil they want to ship in pipelines. The way the system works now, sometimes companies overestimate how much they can send, expecting that when the limited space is allocated on a percentage basis they will end up getting what they actually need.
Sohi’s request to the board came last fall as Canadian oil prices plunged thanks to temporary refinery closures in the Midwest, creating a price differential between Canadian oil and U.S. oil of $50 per barrel.
That price gap has since closed to less than $10 a barrel after refineries came back online and the Alberta government imposed a mandatory cut in production.
Charlebois said the report does say the system would benefit from better transparency of market data, to help shippers understand the pipeline operations.
Sohi Friday asked his officials to establish a team with Alberta and Saskatchewan to work on the availability of data, as well as make the suggested to improvements to how producers apply for pipeline space.
He is also working with Transport Minister Marc Garneau on improving rail access for smaller oil producers.
Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
Four Central Albertans will play key roles in the new Alberta Government!
From the Province of Alberta
Premier Kenney appoints strong team ready to lead
Alberta’s 18th Premier, Jason Kenney, and his cabinet were sworn in at Government House in Edmonton on April 30.
“Albertans gave our new government a huge democratic mandate for bold change that gets our economy back to work and stands up for this province. This is a strong team that is ready to lead, and to deliver that change starting today.”
“Many of the ministers appointed are Albertans by choice and not chance, having immigrated to this province because they saw it as a land of opportunity that they now seek to serve. Alberta’s new cabinet includes farmers, teachers, tradespeople, small business owners, lawyers, business executives, musicians, oil and gas experts, public servants and a range of other professional backgrounds. These ministers are in touch with the lives of the people they will be serving.”
“This is a young, energetic and diverse team with deep experience. With an average age of 43, most members of this cabinet are new to public service. They ran for all of the right reasons: because they want to work hard to reverse years of economic decline and stagnation, and to get our economy moving again. This is a team that will be obsessed with creating jobs, showing the world that Alberta is open for business again, and fighting for a fair deal in Canada.”
Premier Kenney and cabinet will meet for the first time immediately after the swearing-in. They will be focused on getting to work on Day One, implementing the comprehensive United Conservative agenda. Later today, Premier Kenney will be launching his strategy to stand up for Albertans, beginning with a presentation to a Senate committee, opposing the disastrous Bill C-48 – a bill unfairly targeting and discriminating against Alberta resources.
Full biographies for Alberta’s new cabinet can be found on Alberta.ca.
Premier Jason Kenney, President of Executive Council and Minister of Intergovernmental Relations
Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education
Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
Rebecca Shulz, Minister of Children’s Services
Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Community and Social Services
Leela Aheer, Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women
Tanya Fir, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism
Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education
Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy
Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks
Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health
Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations
Prasad Panda, Minister of Infrastructure
Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
Jason Copping, Minister of Labour and Immigration
Kaycee Madu, Minister of Municipal Affairs
Josephine Pon, Minister of Seniors and Housing
Nate Glubish, Minister of Service Alberta
Ric McIver, Minister of Transportation
Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance
- Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions
- Dale Nally, Associate Minister of Natural Gas
- Grant Hunter, Associate Minister of Red Tape
- Muhammad Yaseen, Parliamentary Secretary of Immigration
Major non-cabinet assignments
- Jason Nixon, House Leader
- Doug Schweitzer, Deputy House Leader
- Ric McIver, Deputy House Leader
- Sonya Savage, Deputy House Leader
- Mike Ellis, Whip
- Joseph Schow, Deputy Whip
These are the key people Jason Kenney will be leaning on to help him lead the province
From the United Conservative Party
Premier Designate names senior staff
Team members include:
- Jamie Huckabay, Chief of Staff to the Premier: Born and raised in Lethbridge, Jamie was Chief of Staff to the Opposition Leader and UCP Caucus. Prior to this role, Jamie was a key member for Jason Kenney’s PC Leadership Campaign leading convention operations. Jamie has considerable private and public sector experience. He was previously Director at mobile technology firm Taplytics and Vice President at Gerson Lehrman Group. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Lethbridge, Masters in International Relations and Economics from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from Oxford University. As the Chief administrator, Jamie will oversee political operations and implementation of the Premier’s agenda and priorities.
- Howard Anglin, Principal Secretary: Howard is a lawyer who served in the former federal Conservative government as Chief of Staff to the Premier Designate in his role as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and as Deputy Chief of Staff to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He has degrees from McGill University and New York University, worked as a lawyer in private practice at international law firms in New York, London, and Washington, DC, and was most recently a constitutional lawyer running a national legal charity in Calgary. As the administration’s most senior political advisor, Howard will provide expert advice and direction to the Premier and Executive Council.
- Katy Merrifield, Executive Director of Communication and Planning: Katy is a long-time senior political aide from British Columbia. She served a variety of roles in the BC government including Chief of Staff to the Minister of Health and Jobs, Tourism and Economic Development, culminating as the Director of Communications to former B.C. Premier Christy Clark. She is also the first woman and youngest person to win a provincial leadership campaign in BC with the successful election of Andrew Wilkinson as current Leader of the Opposition. Katy will lead and execute the agenda for political communications and policy announcements.
- Christine Myatt, Deputy Director of Communications and Press Secretary:Christine is a long-time political aide from Alberta, having served in multiple senior communications roles in previous Alberta governments and most recently as Director of Strategic Communications for the Official Opposition. As Deputy Communications Director, Christine will be the primary contact for media relations.
- David Knight Legg, Head of Transition: David moved back to Alberta last year to advise the Premier Designate’s team on trade and finance. He originally hails from Lethbridge, where he received his undergraduate degree. David also has a Masters in Public Administration from Queens University, a PhD from Yale and a law degree from Oxford University. His professional background includes McKinsey and Company, Managing Director for Europe and Asia for the Gerson Lehrman Group and Global Head of Strategy at Commonwealth Bank. As Head of Transition, David is overseeing an orderly and seamless transition into government for the incoming administration.
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