Ban looms on crude tankers off northern BC

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears ready to fulfill a campaign promise to ban crude oil tankers off northern British Columbia in a move that would throw the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline into question.

The $6.5 billion, 1,177-km twin pipeline proposed by Enbridge Corp. would carry blended bitumen from Alberta to a terminal at Kitimat, BC, and return diluent to Alberta.

Trudeau, whose Liberal party won a pivotal election Oct. 19, has asked new Transport Minister Marc Garneau to make the crude-oil tanker ban a priority, according to press reports.

As a potential link between the Canadian oil sands and global trade, the Northern Gateway proposal gained importance when US President Barack Obama on Nov. 6 rejected TransCanada Corp.’s application for the border crossing of the Keystone XL project, which would have increased pipeline capacity between Alberta and the US Gulf Coast (OGJ Online, Nov. 6, 2015).

TransCanada also has proposed a project called Energy East, which would link the oil sands with eastern Canadian provinces and the Atlantic.

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