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March 11, 2022

Canada looks to boost oil exports to tackle energy crisis

The nation’s energy export infrastructure is reportedly at or near capacity, though talks as to whether this could be increased are underway.

By Scarlett Evans

Canada is looking at ways to boost its crude oil exports, in a bid to help Europe stabilise its energy market as nations boycott Russian supplies following its invasion of Ukraine, Reuters has reported

Pipeline operator Enbridge Inc said in a statement this week that it was in talks with the government “about how the industry can help relieve the current energy crisis”. 

Currently, Canada exports more than four million barrels of oil per day to the US, with a portion of this then sent on to other nations. While the country’s export capacity is seemingly maxed out, Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson told Reuters that the government was looking at whether the pipeline network was “fully utilised”.  

The nation is also reportedly looking at exporting other energy sources to Europe, in particular renewable sources such as hydrogen. 

The news comes a week after Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault told Bloomberg in an interview, “we can’t help Europe with oil”, adding that the country doesn’t have the infrastructure to support increased exports to European nations.  

“Our export capacity is pretty much maxed out,” he said. “We’re building a pipeline. It’s just going in the wrong direction and the idea that we somehow could start to build a bunch of new infrastructure in Canada and it would magically happen – either for gas or for oil – is not very serious.” 

While Enbridge has similarly said that its liquid and natural gas networks are at capacity, the company is looking at options to channel more resources into the US and Europe, such as export facilities on the Gulf Coast. 

President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine two weeks ago, and since then a spate of sanctions have been levelled against the nation in an attempt to cripple its economy, with French Minister of the Economy, Finance, and the Recovery Bruno Le Maire calling it “all-out economic and financial war”.  

One such sanction has been against imports of oil and gas from Russia, which is currently a primary supplier of European energy. The need to fill this gap is growing increasingly pressing as nations deal with inflating prices and high demand.  

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