Europe: Sorry we rejected you, Canada; we really want your oil sands after all
posted at 4:41 pm on June 5, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
One of the reasons eco-radicals harbor such strong distaste for the Keystone XL pipeline is because they believe that Canada should quixotically eschew the economic opportunities in their oil sands and instead leave those natural resources in the ground. Their quest to kill the pipeline has therefore always been epically illogical, since Canada will and has found a way to get their oil to market, either to our Gulf refineries via rail transport or else by building their own domestic pipelines out to the coasts for shipment by sea.
These Keystone XL-hatin’ eco-radicals almost had a helpful partner in the European Union, which — heeding the complaint that oil sands are somewhat more carbon-intensive than conventional crude — was all ready with legislation meant to encourage the use of cleaner transport fuels by slapping heavy and deliberately discriminatory penalties on imports of Canada’s oil sands. Canada was all ready to get to work and trade with Asian countries anyway, but all the better if they can open up the European market, too — and Europe’s newfound skittishness about energy security and eagerness to reduce dependence on Russia has the bloc looking to diversify its supplies.
I mentioned last month that the EU was rethinking its high-minded pooh-poohing of the oil sands, and it looks like Canada may actually get its wish in the form of a major reversal on those forthcoming EU regulations that will instead allow Canada’s oil sands to do steady business there, via the Financial Times:
Canada today exports little crude to Europe, but it has plans to increase those exports if new pipelines are built linking the oil sands to ports, such as TransCanada’s proposed Energy East project to take oil from Alberta to the east coast. …
Chris Davies, a European parliamentarian on the environment committee, said that Connie Hedegaard, the EU climate commissioner, had lost out to stronger voices in the commission with industrial and trade portfolios. “She got beat,” Mr Davies said. …
The latest draft of the EU legislation is a reversal from earlier versions of the plan, which would have required fuel suppliers to disclose the carbon footprint of the original crude oil that was used to make their products, and stay below maximum limits for associated emissions. …
Under the new methodology, companies will only have to make their emission cuts based on EU averages for the “output” fuels – the petrol or diesel – regardless of whether it was originally made from heavy crude or not.