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Canadian oil 'not a must to have' for Asian markets: AB gov't advisor

Asian markets are well supplied with fossil fuels and have no pressing need to import them from the oil sands, or any other sources in Canada, said an industry insider helping advise the Alberta government.

"Canadian oil and gas is a nice thing to have but it's not a must to have," J.J. Chen recently told a Calgary conference, according to the Globe and Mail.

That's not to say Japan, South Korea, China, India or other markets wouldn't buy hydrocarbons from Canada. They'd welcome the new supply, he reportedly said, so long as it was competitive with other supply sources.

Chen describes himself on Linkedin as "an experienced physical and financial crude oil trader with global perspectives." He worked several years with Nexen, the Calgary-based firm recently bought by China's CNOOC, and last summer began advising Alberta Energy about "Asia oil market practice."

Asia-bound oil tankers in B.C. waters, and the pipelines that would supply them, featured large in last night's provincial election leader’s debate.

NDP leader Adrian Dix repeated his opposition to Enbridge's Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan's pipeline expansion, stating if elected he would not let Ottawa "make our decisions about these pipelines."

Premier Christy Clark stuck to the "five conditions" for pipeline approval she first announced last summer, which includes greater financial remuneration for B.C.

Green Party leader Jane Sterk suggested that Dix isn't completely opposed to tankers, while Conservative leader John Cummins said in effect: Bring them on.

Geoff Dembicki reports for The Tyee.

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