Alison Redford to discuss west-east pipeline for Alberta oil
By Christopher Walsh
Premier Alison Redford is welcoming New Brunswick Premier David Alward to Alberta today to continue conversations held late last week in the Maritimes around Redford’s proposed national energy strategy that could see Alberta bitumen piped east to New Brunswick.
The eastern province could play a huge role in opening up new markets to Alberta oil, Redford says, as this province expects to lose $6 billion in expected resource revenue this year due to a gap in American benchmark prices and the price Alberta receives for its crude.
“Opening new markets for Alberta’s resources – especially Alberta oil – is job one for my government,” Redford said in a press release. “Alberta and New Brunswick may be at opposite ends of the country, but we share an interest in the future of an energy industry that is secure, reliable and environmentally responsible.”
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Alward and New Brunswick Energy and Mines Minister Craig Leonard are expected to take meetings with government and industry representatives in Edmonton, tour oil sands projects in northern Alberta and take part in the 10th Annual Canadian Oil Sands Summit Tuesday.
New Brunswick is home to the biggest oil refinery in Canada, an Irving-owned facility located in Saint John, which produces more than 300,000 barrels a day.
“I am pleased to be working directly with Premier Redford and Alberta business leaders to help make a west-east pipeline a reality,” Alward said in a release Friday. “Through its strategic location, infrastructure and skilled workforce, New Brunswick is well-positioned to add significant value to Canada’s natural resources.”
New Brunswick has also seen harsh fiscal realities of late. A report out of New Brunswick estimates that province’s deficit at $356 million –nearly double the amount forecasted in last year’s provincial budget.
The amount of Alberta’s deficit this year is still not known, but many expect it could be anywhere between $4 and $6 billion. Redford said in a televised message late last month that “tough choices” for the upcoming budget are on the way.
Redford has pledged to find new opportunities for Alberta oil, after falling U.S. prices and stiff opposition to the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to British Columbia.
“I am … pleased that Premier Alward will take this opportunity to tour the oil sands and see first-hand the hard work, ingenuity and innovation that goes into developing this globally important natural resource.”
Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said late last week that the federal government supports the idea of converting a TransCanada natural gas pipeline into a line that could carry Alberta oil to Quebec and New Brunswick.