A Canadian Minister actively seeks the export of oil sands crude to Europe

Ottawa (Reuters) – The Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said that the European Union plan concerning the classification of crude extracted from oil sands in Alberta territory as an environment polluting oil is an unfair plan and could harm Canada efforts to find new export markets.

As part of a plan to reduce greenhouse gases emitted from the fuel consumed by the means of transport, the European Commission issued a directive on the quality of fuel. This directive could classify the oil extracted from tar sands in Alberta in the category of the more polluting oils than conventional crude. This step has been met with strong opposition from Canada which has huge reserves of oil sands.

Extracting crude from oil sands in Alberta requires more energy than that demanded by conventional oil production. Experts in the environmental affairs say that this increases the emissions of greenhouse gases and this makes the oil sands a main target for the environment protecting efforts. Canada sends 99% of its oil exports to the United States. However, the abundance of supply and complete pipelines cause lower prices, a problem showing the Canadian sector need to find new markets.

Ottawa felt resentful as this directive does not penalize Russia in which natural gas is burnt and emitted during the oil extraction. Oliver said that this means that Russian crude extraction results in the same amount of emissions caused by the extraction of tar sands oil or even more.

Although Canada sends almost no crude to the European Union now, this can change in case of implementing the proposals of the establishment of a pipeline from Alberta to the east coast of Canada. Oliver said “we do not export to the European Union in the meantime but we do not want to see our crude oil subjected to distortion which may have repercussions in other places.” He added “What we want is a scientific approach based on facts and which makes the (Union) rule based on scientific facts and not pure pre-conceived ideas … and the need to deal with our oil in a different way.”

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