Monday, 17 December, 2018

Alberta needs 7000 rail cars to move oil says Premier

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley delivers a speech in Ottawa Wednesday Alberta Premier Rachel Notley delivers a speech in Ottawa Wednesday
Rhonda Young | 03 December, 2018, 04:27

As Alberta Premier Rachel Notley continues to pitch for more trains to carry 120,000 additional barrels of oil out of the landlocked province, Transport Minister Marc Garneau says Canada's rail system has become safer since a deadly train derailment, oil spill and explosion in Lac-Mégantic, Que.in 2013.

If a temporary production cut is introduced, Notley said it could help reduce oil stockpiles and shrink the price gap between Western Canadian Select and West Texas Intermediate.

The commission is seeking to enter into commercial agreements to obtain rail service from railroads in the form of locomotives, staff and track capacity; tank cars from midstream suppliers; on-load capacity in Alberta to load oil into tank cars; and off-loading capacity to unload the cars at destinations. "And we're not wasting any time". The province's costs will be fully recouped through royalties and the selling of shipping capacity, she said.

She didn't give estimates on the cost of the cars but industry experts suggest that one rail vehicle can cost between $120,000 and $150,000 to buy, or about $1,200 per month to rent, putting Alberta's plan at upwards of $1.05 billion.

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But she says in her letter that rail cars, new pipelines and increasing domestic refining capacity won't bring relief soon enough.

"Don't mistake me, this is not the long-term answer".

Garneau was in Vancouver to announce Oceans Protection Plan funding when he was asked by National Observer what he would tell residents along rail lines who may be concerned about the risks of trains carrying more oil.

"Don't mistake me - this is not the long-term answer", Notley said.

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Notley has previously said that her administration is studying the output-cut idea and hasn't ruled it out. "As owners, we have an obligation to get the most value possible".

He said the added plan to buy locomotives helps address one of the biggest pinch areas, and will be a boost to the railways as well. She laid out the problem, saying 35 million barrels of Alberta oil are sitting in storage because of transportation backlogs. Today, she said that differential has grown to $80 million a day. "We're not talking about trying to disrupt other products", Notley told reporters after giving a speech before the Toronto Regional Board of Trade on Thursday.

"It is one of the toughest decisions we will make as a province", Ms. Notley wrote in the Edmonton Journal of her announcement on Sunday.

"The nature of the industry is more complex than what it once was", she said.

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While companies including Cenovus Energy Inc. and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. have said government-mandated production cuts would help the industry, integrated producers whose refineries are benefiting from the cheaper feedstock have opposed it. "The way different corporations are structured are more complex than they once were so the consequences are complex, but you will hear something from us in the near future".

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