Alberta pins economic hope on coastal pipelines

Canadian province Alberta’s finance minister said last week building pipelines to the west coast of the country is the best way to sell its energy resources, Kallanish Energy reports.

In releasing its budget plans through 2020, the provincial government said 2016’s dual strains of low oil prices and wildfires cut roughly 1 million barrels per day (MMBPD) in production, with the economy just starting to recover.

"As our economy recovers, we will continue to bring the deficit down to balance, and we will do so without sacrificing the supports and services families need," finance minister Joe Ceci said, in a statement.

The finance minister said while drilling is on the rise and oil prices are recovering, the provincial economy is not yet "out of the woods."

“Oil sands production will continue to expand, reflecting investments made prior to the oil price collapse,” the ministry said. “Market access remains critical given the production profile of the oil sands and the increased reliance on higher cost rail transportation.”

Canada is the No. 1 oil exporter to the U.S., but is relatively landlocked. However, with President Trump a big proponent of the Keystone XL Pipeline that would extend from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico Coast.

“The approval of (Kinder Morgan’s ) Trans Mountain Pipeline (nearly tripling capacity to 890,000 BPD), along with the approval of (Enbridge's) Line 3 (replacement project), is helping to recharge investment in our oil and gas industry,” Ceci said in his budget speech. “The failures of previous governments to get new pipelines approved to Canada’s coast set our province back.”

Getting a Canadian pipeline built to a Canadian coast is the best way for Alberta’s “world-class energy producers to sell our resources at world-class prices,” Ceci said.