Crude-by-rail remains the pipeline alternative; Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is ready to rise; and CEPA manager Evan Wilson on why laughing matters
THAT’S THE AVERAGE NUMBER OF BARRELS OF Western Canadian crude oil transported to market by rail per day in 2015. Some of that crude goes through Quebec, where 47 people died in Lac-Mégantic, when a crude oil train exploded downtown, burning and partially collapsing buildings in a onekilometer blast radius. With transcontinental pipelines blocked by opponents, the crude-by-rail buildout will continue – U.S. refiner Valero has since begun operating a 50,000-bpd rail terminal at its Quebec refinery to receive Canadian and U.S. crude. Yet more than 80 mayors in the Montreal area are opposing TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline. The B.C. government is opposing the Trans Mountain and Northern Gateway pipeline projects, despite proposals to build refineries on the B.C. coast to process Albertan bitumen – otherwise brought by rail, albeit in a less volatile form than the light Bakken crude that leveled downtown Lac-Mégantic.
Crude by rail is a phenomenon. CN transported 128,000 carloads of crude oil across North America in 2014 – up 70 percent from the year prior