CALGARY — The inability to get Western Canadian crude to the right markets is costing the country’s economy dearly, according to a new report paid for by the Saskatchewan government.
Each stalled pipeline means a loss to the Canadian economy of between $30 million and $70 million every day, said the report penned by the Canada West Foundation, a Calgary-based think-tank.
“The economic impact is just devastating,” foundation CEO Dylan Jones said in an interview Thursday.
The Saskatchewan government paid $50,000 to commission the report. Premier Brad Wall has been an outspoken supporter of new pipeline projects, most recently signing a letter, along with 10 U.S. governors, urging U.S. President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
Alberta’s oilsands, the third-largest reserves on the planet, get most of the attention when it comes to the pipeline debate. But Saskatchewan, which has considerable oil resources of its own, is affected by the pipeline pinch as well, Wall said in Regina.
“We hope this helps get the message out, even to a greater degree than it is now, that we have a pipeline- capacity issue in western North America and that’s costing Saskatchewan people a lot of money,” he said.
“Because of the pipeline-capacity issue, we’re losing up to 19 to 20 per cent return on the taxpayers’ resource.”
In recent months, oilsands crude has been trading at a painfully steep discount to both U.S. and global light crude benchmarks. It’s a trend that has both eroded oilpatch profits and caused the Alberta government to warn of a $6-billion revenue shortfall this year.
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