Environmental groups released new data today on Eastern Canadian oil imports, disproving TransCanada’s claim that its Energy East pipeline proposal is necessary to eliminate Canada’s heavy dependence on overseas oil.
In recent media reports and in public materials, TransCanada claims Eastern Canadian refineries import 86 per cent of their daily needs from more expensive overseas sources including Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela and Algeria.
(This is a full text of a press release from Environmental Defence and Greenpeace Canada).
But, the most recent year-to-date 2014 Statistics Canada information, obtained by Environmental Defence and Greenpeace Canada, shows no more than 14 per cent of Eastern Canada’s oil imports come from those four countries. In fact, Eastern Canada imports no oil from Venezuela and almost no oil from Nigeria. Quebec, the only eastern province to import oil from Algeria, imported 11 per cent while 52 per cent of its oil came from the United States.
“It’s time TransCanada stops misleading the public with inaccurate information in a bid to justify its risky project. The import statistic cited by TransCanada is false – no matter how many times the company repeats its misinformation,” says Environmental Defence’s Adam Scott. “As the information shows, Energy East would mainly serve to export unrefined oil, not stem an already waning tide of pricey foreign imports.”
As the information confirms, there are no longer enormous amounts of higher-priced, overseas oil coming to Eastern Canadian refineries that could be replaced with Western Canadian crude – TransCanada’s stated case for Energy East.
The largest supplier to Eastern Canada’s refineries is now the United States, with crude imports skyrocketing as U.S. crude production reaches levels not seen since the 1960s. U.S. refineries may reach a saturation point for the type of crude being produced – light crude from shale – as early as 2015 and if that happens, the primary market is Canada.
“Given the growing supply of light crude from the U.S. to Eastern Canadian refineries, there is nowhere for Energy East’s crude to go except into a tanker for export,” Scott says. “TransCanada should just come out and admit Energy East is an export pipeline – not a made in Canada energy solution.”
The oil industry claims it wants Energy East because the pipeline would bring cheaper ‘low-cost’ oil to Eastern Canada. But, building Energy East would do just the opposite, by eliminating the discount for land-locked western crude.
TransCanada won’t acknowledge this is an export pipeline because it would mean admitting Energy East benefits oil companies, not most Canadians. Also, this mega export pipeline would create relatively few long-term jobs, despite the pipeline’s massive risks.
“This new import information shows hands down Energy East provides little economic value to the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick. With no good jobs, and no new refining, Quebec would be merely a conduit for tar sands oil, forced to bear a huge part of the risk to feed one company’s bottom line,” said Patrick Bonin of Greenpeace Canada.
For the full information, click here.