It’s somewhat ironic that right in the midst of the Union of British Columbian Municipalities (UBCM) convention in Whistler, the Motor Tanker MINERVA GLORIA sailed from the Suncor Oil facility at Sorel-Tracy, Quebec fully laden with crude oil from Alberta.
It became the first vessel to load Alberta crude that was moved across the country by rail tanker for discharge in Europe. The 249 metre-long Greek-flagged vessel of 115,873 summer deadweight tonnes sailed on Sept. 24 and is expected to arrive in Sarroch, Italy on Oct. 7.
This means that Canada is now in competition with the oil producing giants in the Persian Gulf and Russia, traditional suppliers to European crude-oil consumers.
The UBCM delegates have undoubtedly been feverishly discussing all manner of motions and resolutions concerning proposed pipelines coming from Alberta to ports in B.C. even though oil pipeline regulations fall under the purview of the National Energy Board and outside any municipality’s
Since the Supreme Court ruling on Aboriginal Land Title this summer, the once-deafening hullabaloo about the Northern Gateway pipeline has somewhat lessened, maybe because it seems apparent that any such proposal would be tied up in litigation for years to come.
However, with this latest development in shipping Suncor crude to Europe now a reality, there may soon be much more hullaballoo as rail tankers hurtle towards Prince Rupert and other B.C. ports to fill supertankers with Alberta oil bound for China.