Canada’s oil sands dispute with EU flares

After raising the possibility of filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization and potentially getting into a trade war with the European Union, Canada’s minister of natural resources, Joe Oliver says Canada is not looking for a fight. Yesterday, Oliver warned EU officials against “discriminatory treatment” of fuels made from products of Canadian oil sands. Oliver met in Brussels with European Commission officials including Gunther Oettinger, commissioner for energy, and Antonio Tajani, vice-president of the EC responsible for industry and entrepreneurship.

Al-Gore-Oil-Sands-Canada-Joe-Oliver-EDIWeekly
Al Gore was in Canada over the weekend and according to Joe Oliver, Canada’s energy minister, made “wildly inaccurate” statements about the oil sands. Gore said, among other things, that there is no such thing as “ethical oil.”

The heart of the dispute is a proposed Fuel Quality Directive put forward by the EC, which assigns fuels derived from oil sands an especially high value in calculations of “greenhouse gas intensity.” This is one of the key parameters in proposed controls on vehicle fuel. European refiners who used heavy feedstock from Canada would be penalized under the proposal.

However, at this time Canada does not export oil to Europe. Nevertheless, environmental groups in Europe continue to campaign against oil-sands products, which they say contribute disproportionately to emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) and global warming.

Oliver said in London today that while Canada hopes for a positive outcome in the dispute with the EC, he would still consider going to the WTO if changes to the Fuel Quality Directive are not made. He said that Canada was simply looking for a “science-based” approach that is fair. How likely that is remains a big question, as the directive has already been adopted and is in the process of being implemented.

Canada and the oil sands industry have always maintained that GHG emissions and chemical properties of oil sands crude are similar to those of other heavy crudes produced elsewhere in the world and consumed in Europe.

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • Regional LNG plant approved in Quebec
  • $2 Billion expansion of Nova gas pipeline planned by TransCanada Corp to increase pipeline capacity
  • Canada's start-ups need more help to become global players: OCC
  • Bombardier workers unite with company management in support of "battle" against U.S. based aerospace giant Boeing Co.
  • Magna producing first all-olefin liftgate assembly for Nissan Rogue
  • SpaceX "first orbital class rocket capable of reflight" test flight today: $12 billion in contracts and a 100 missions at stake: live feed of launch
  • Ethical Concerns Rise Over the Future of Autonomous Vehicles
  • Bruce Power nuclear deal good for Ontario manufacturers: CME
  • June a very good month for manufacturers
  • Oil prices, production in Canada not likely to reach former levels again: CIBC
  • Little agreement on whether it works, but governments press ahead with infrastructure spending
  • Toyota celebrating 50 years in Canada with Special Edition Corolla S
  • Magna International acquires German transmission giant
  • Agile robotic arm could catch space debris, falling humans
  • Oil Industry News: Oil Companies Shedding Assets
  • Ontario College of Trades report recommendations accepted by minister
  • Developing BC's LNG industry would generate $7.4 billion per year: report
  • Job losses in Alberta, gains in Ontario, leave employment flat in January
  • Researchers fly first hybrid-electric aircraft with in-flight battery recharging
  • GE increasing its investment in fracking technology
Scroll to Top