Sep 28, 2020
Alberta’s government welcomes the U.S. presidential permit for the project, Sonya Savage, the province’s energy minister, said in a tweet. “We support the development of trade corridors that can unlock new markets.”
The rail link could serve as an alternative way for oil sands producers to sell into the Asian market, allowing the industry to diversify its customer base away from the U.S., which currently buys nearly all of Canada’s oil exports. A planned expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline to Vancouver is currently under construction, but the project has faced years of delays and fierce opposition from some residents of British Columbia, who see it as a threat to the environment.
Although the collapse in oil demand because of the Covid 19 pandemic has reduced crude-by-rail shipments, Canadian oil producers have turned to rail in recent years due to a shortage of export pipelines and a series of setbacks and court delays in getting new ones built.
Shipments of Canadian crude by rail to the West Coast of North America for export are rare. In 2018, a company called Canadian Advantage Petroleum shipped a cargo of heavy Western Canadian crude out of Oregon to China.