The Myth of The Asian Market for Albertas Oil

For years, weve been told again and again (and again) that Kinder Morgans proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline is desperately needed for producers to export oil to Asian countries and get much higher returns.

The way its been framed makes it seem like its the only thing standing between Alberta and fields of gold.

Small problem: Canadian producers already have the ability to ship their heavy oil to Asia via the existing 300,000 barrel per day Trans Mountain pipeline but theyre not using it.

Virtually no exports go to any markets other than the U.S., economist Robyn Allan told DeSmog Canada. The entire narrative perpetrated by Prime Minister Trudeau and Alberta Premier Notley is fabricated.

In 2017, the Port of Vancouver only shipped 600 barrels of oil to China. Thats less than a tanker load. That same year, the port shipped almost 13 million barrels of oil, or about 24 Aframax tanker loads, to the U.S.

In other words: oil tankers are being loaded in Vancouver, but instead of heading to vaunted Asian markets, theyre heading south to California.

Shipments to Asia reached their peak seven years ago when the equivalent of nine fully loaded tankers of oil left Vancouver for China. Since then, oil exports to Asia have completely dropped off.

Some experts suggest exports to Asia are very unlikely to rebound in the short-term, with producers from many other countries continuing to dominate such markets. Others take a more long-term view, remaining optimistic that opportunities....

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