This past week, more than 7 thousand people in communities across British Columbia attended protests against pipelines projects that would make it possible to ship crude oil from Alberta to Asia. Meanwhile, the price of that oil, known on the global markets as Western Canadian Select, dropped to less than $60 a barrel.
The low price of Alberta oil is largely blamed on a lack of pipeline capacity. Without a pipeline making it possible to ship oil to the Asian market, all Alberta oil is headed to the US - and even that is slow moving. This week Enbridge said demand outstripped capacity on all four of its southbound pipeline routes.
According to Bloomberg, the project of “re-piping” North America to change that situation makes increasingly little sense with the current surge of light, sweet crude in the US, not to mention shale oil plays. In comparison to both of these, heavy bitumen from Alberta is expensive to produce and refine, therefore, uncompetitive.
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