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Hoping Ottawa will help Alberta's oilpatch? That train has left the station

13 101 786

If the Alberta government is waiting for Ottawa to help pick up the $3.7-billion tab to lease rail cars in the coming months, I’m not sure it will ever get what it wants.

And if the province and oilpatch are hoping the Trudeau government will kill its oil tanker moratorium off the northern British Columbia coast — as the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) urged Thursday — I’d firmly put the request in the ain’t-going-to-happen bucket.

In an interview Thursday, federal Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi did not categorically reject the Notley government’s request it help pay for leasing 4,400 rail cars to bolster crude-by-shipments out of the province, but left the key question unanswered.

The province approached Ottawa last fall for financial assistance for its rail strategy, coming at a time when Western Canada’s oil production exceeded pipeline capacity by about 365,000 barrels per day.

The glut led to a crippling discount for Alberta crude, costing the industry, province and country millions of dollars a day, which ultimately led the province to mandate production cuts.

Sohi asked the National Energy Board for advice and options to optimize pipeline capacity out of Western Canada. The report is now done and expected to come out imminently.

The Edmonton MP said he’s not yet in a position to say if Ottawa will support the province’s request, but instead referred to $700 million that’s already available to finance........

© Calgary Herald