A pipeline bringing crude oil from Alberta to New Brunswick could be more realistic than building a pipeline to the west coast, according to an energy expert.
Premier David Alward is in Alberta for three days to meet with Alberta Premier Alison Redford, oil executives and tour the oil sands in an attempt to drum up support for a pipeline to New Brunswick.
Warren Mabee, director of the Institute of Energy and Environmental Policy at Queen’s University, said TransCanada Corporation’s proposal to convert an existing natural gas pipeline might be more realistic than other plans to move Alberta oil to the west coast.
“It’s caught a little bit of the public imagination,” he said.
“This is something that really would bring together a lot of Canada. The real question is, will it bring us together? Or will it open up more wounds and more divisiveness?”
The energy expert said the terrain is relatively flat between Alberta and New Brunswick, making the idea feasible.
If the west-to-east pipeline were to be approved, it would still take several years before western crude would be flowing into Saint John’s Irving Oil Ltd., the largest refinery in Canada.
Mabee said it would take five years if the project started now.
TransCanada Corporation has said it wants to convert an existing, underused natural gas line to do the job, but it would be up to the National Energy Board to approve the projects.
TransCanada has not yet formally submitted the proposal.