Pipelines offer jobs and economic growth for all
On Aug. 1, TransCanada announced its intention to pursue the Energy East pipeline project, which could move up to 1.1 million barrels of Alberta and Saskatchewan oil to Quebec and New Brunswick refineries each day. Subject to regulatory approvals, this project could be operational by the end of 2017.
This is great news for Canada.
First of all, it means potentially thousands of new jobs. Construction of up to 1,200 kilometres of new pipeline will bring economic benefits across the country.
In addition, this project will allow marine terminal and refinery projects to proceed. Currently, 83 per cent of oil processed in Atlantic Canada and 92 per cent of oil processed in Quebec originates from Nigeria, Algeria, Angola and the Middle East. The Energy East project will allow refurbished refineries reliable access to Western Canadian oil. Of course, this increased investment will benefit all Canadians, generating revenue to help pay for vital programs.
For Albertans, currently forced to take lower than global market value for our resources, increased pipeline capacity is the key to unlocking significant investment, growth and long-term prosperity.
According to the respected Economist magazine, in 2009 only about 500 train carloads of crude oil were shipped in Canada. This year, 140,000 carloads are forecast to be transported by rail. That is a 280-fold increase in three years. While trains have proven to be effective in the short-term, it is clear this is not a viable long-term solution. Pending regulatory approval, the Energy East Pipeline can help solve this capacity crunch.
Several other proposed pipeline projects also have the potential to help. Of course, each of the projects must and will be evaluated on their own merits, ensuring they meet Canada’s high standards for safety and environmental protection.
At the end of the day, we must explore all available options. Without pipelines to open new markets, our provincial and federal governments are losing billions in potential revenue, our economy stands to forfeit billions more in investment, and thousands of high-paying, quality jobs will not be created.
Canadians – all Canadians - deserve better than that.