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Oil producers could lose $72 billion without Northern Gateway pipeline: Report

Without the Northern Gateway pipeline from Edmonton to Kitimat, Alberta heavy crude oil producers could lose $72 billion between 2017 and 2025, according to a Wood Mackenzie report done for the Alberta government.

Submitted in December, the report says the pipeline would enable oil producers to deliver 525,000 barrels per day to Kitimat, thereby serving as "an important link to the significant and fast-growing Asian market." According to the executive summary:

Wood Mackenzie's assessment of adding West Coast crude oil export capacity results in the following substantive findings:

•Additional export capacity connected to heavy crude refining markets is needed to place growing Canadian oil production by 2017;

•Tidewater access provides an important link to the significant and fast-growing Asian market;

•Asia is an attractive market for Alberta production on a netback basis

•Canadian producers not having sufficient access to premium heavy crude refining markets could lose about $8/bbl for every Canadian heavy crude barrel, with a revenue impact averaging C$8 billion per year for 2017 to 2025.

The report was the subject of a January 3 news release published on the website of Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. It said the report "details some eye-popping numbers that support the notion that there is a compelling business case for the project." The release continued:

Revenues that flow to oil producers also translate into some big benefits for Canadians.

According to estimates by the Oil Sands Developers Group, development of the oil sands has the potential to generate more than $483 billion in royalty and tax revenues for Canada’s federal and provincial governments over the next 25 years.

Oil sands investment will generate $1.7 trillion in economic activity and 456,000 jobs will be directly and indirectly linked to construction and operation of oil sands facilities over that same time frame, says the group.

A December 31 report on the website says that over 4,000 persons, most of them environmentalists, are scheduled to speak at public hearings that begin in Kitimat on January 10.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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