This problem is decades in the making – and we are working to solve it. We know that getting our resources to non-US markets is the ultimate solution to relieve this pain. When the federal Conservatives came into power in 2006, 99% of our oil went to the USA. After a decade in power, that number was still 99%. Not one inch of pipeline was built to new energy markets.Our Liberal government is committed to getting pipelines built.
We approved the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline project, which is currently under construction. In 2019, it should come into operation and relieve some of the pipeline pressure. Keystone XL will relieve it even further. We are so committed to the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion that we bought the project to ensure it would proceed in the right way – and we plan to sell it once it has crossed the finish line.
Right now, we are full-steam-ahead with the enhanced, more meaningful consultations with Indigenous groups. This will do two important things: 1) it will ensure the project is done the right way, and 2) it will demonstrate to the court that we’ve taken the appropriate steps, so the court will allow the project to move forward. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s the most efficient path forward. Minister Amarjeet Sohi has already personally met with 40 First Nations and Metis leaders in this regard.
In the short term, to deal with the immediate issue, the federal government launched a non-partisan working group of government experts from Canada, Alberta and Saskatchewan – including finance, rail, and energy experts. This group has been analyzing options, including the oil by rail proposal that we received from Alberta government, to relieve the pain being felt by so many. This rail proposal is not an immediate fix however, as it would take at least nine months to get the trains running.
Recently in Calgary, the Prime Minister and I met with leaders in the oil and gas industry. While there is no consensus among industry for an immediate solution, everyone agrees that when one part of the sector loses, we all lose.
In our fall economic update last month, Canada moved forward over $770 million for infrastructure improvements through the national transportation corridors initiative, which will help open up new rail efficiencies for crude, with tight coordination across other crucial sectors like grain, lumber and potash.
The refineries that went offline in October and November (which significantly hurt the price of Alberta oil) are now back online and ramping up production. This will bring some welcomed relief and capacity to the system, and begin to deal with the storage backlog.
We just launched an accelerated capital cost initiative across industry. The Canadian oil and gas sector will be able to reduce year one capital costs by three times as much as before.We’re also helping producers build up refining and partial upgrading capacity here in Canada. More in-Canada refining and partial upgrading means more value for every barrel. Partially up-graded bitumen can get an extra $10-$15 USD for every barrel.
Through programs like the Clean Tech program, we have invested over $50 million in oil and gas projects, including for partial upgrading.
Currently, we’re meeting with Canadian commodities shippers to advance rail solutions that work for everyone – including Albertans.I am here to work every day for Calgarians. We need to ensure we are getting the highest value possible for our product. We need to finally diversify our exports to non-US markets so we are not beholden to a single customer. We need to upgrade and refine our products, so we can get that higher value. We need to continue to become the leading country in the world in clean technology, including in the oil and gas sector, so we continue to reduce heavy pollution. We need to increase our competitiveness.
And if we work together on this, we will succeed.
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