Pipeline essential for our oil to reach global markets

Contributed to The Province
Tim McMillan
President and CEO
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
June 05, 2017
When Canada first became a nation it was a land filled with pioneers - innovators who saw the opportunities the future would bring to our country.

And although the times have changed, our ideals remain the same - to serve in the best interest of all Canadians and ensure our position as a global leader in environmental stewardship, responsible development and innovation.

As we prepare to celebrate our 150th birthday as a trading nation, it is as evident today as it was then that we are blessed with an abundance of natural resources that not only meet our country's needs but can fulfil increased energy demands globally.

Pipeline infrastructure is critical to securing our energy future.

For more than 60 years, Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipeline has safely and reliably transported oil from Western Canada to tidewater along B.C.'s coastline. From there, it has been shipped to international markets that ensure Canada gets fair market value for its resources. The Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline (TMEP) is an extension of that system.

Canada is home to the third-largest oil reserves in the world. And it boasts some of the most robust and stringent regulatory policies in the industry today.

The TMEP was federally approved in November 2016 after undergoing extensive review by both the National Energy Board and the Canadian Energy Assessment Agency. As well, it met five strict conditions in the province, including establishing world-class marine and land oil spill response plans and guaranteeing financial benefits to B.C.

The Canadian energy sector is an industry deeply committed to innovation and technology that will help make it a part of the world's lower-carbon energy future.

In fact, in advance of any federal regulations, producers have already begun working together through the Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance to develop new technology aimed at cutting emissions while growing production.

In 2015, members of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association transported about 97 per cent of Canada's daily oil and natural gas - about 1.2 billion barrels of liquid over 119,000 kilometres of pipeline - from producing regions to markets throughout North America with a 99.999-per-cent safety record.

The need for increased market access for Canada has never been greater. Historically, the U.S. has been Canada's biggest customer and now it is quickly becoming our biggest competitor as production from U.S. shale plays continues to rise. We can no longer rely on the U.S. to secure our energy future.

TMEP is as significant today as it was when it was approved by the federal government last year. We will need all sources of energy - including Canadian oil and natural gas - to meet growing world energy demand.

The International Energy Agency estimates global oil demand will jump 12 per cent by 2040, particularly in Asia. Demand in China, for example, is expected to grow nearly 50 per cent by 2040.

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated on numerous occasions, Alberta's Climate Leadership Plan helped pave the way for Ottawa to approve TMEP because of its strict emissions limit of 100 megatonnes in the oilsands by 2030.

Both Alberta's and B.C.'s environmental plans fall within the national climate commitment laid out under the Paris accords. B.C. is the nation's gateway to Asian markets and plays a vital role in securing Canada's energy future. It connects Canada to the rest of the world.

TMEP is nationally important infrastructure that will help further build Canada's economic strength, generate revenue for B.C., and create jobs while taking action to protect the environment.

The Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates the western Canadian oil industry will contribute about $1.5 trillion in provincial and federal taxes and provincial royalties over the next 20 years.

The TMEP is an important project.

It will help provide a clean source of energy to the rest of the world while greatly benefiting B.C. for decades to come.