The global economic crisis has slowed the growth of the tar sands, with the industry saying there won't be enough new oil to justify building new big pipelines like Northern Gateway until sometime in the 2020's. (1)
'That's true', says Enbridge CEO Patrick Daniel, "but let me ask that you think about Gateway as a pricing play." (2)
What Daniel means is that he thinks there's a pricing advantage for tar sands companies in sometimes selling to Asian markets when US prices are low compared to the rest of the world; and that this sometimes-advantage could outweigh the loss shippers would be forced to absorb when they couldn't produce enough oil to meet their commitments.
But if shippers saw real value in an in-the-ground pipeline to BC's coast by Enbridge's advertised completion date of 2015, they would be signing supply contracts for it. Instead, they're bringing action against Enbridge for building too much pipeline capacity too fast…
Will carry an average of 525,000 barrels of petroleum per day
In 2008, Alberta exported 1.51 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of crude oil to the U.S., supplying 15% of U.S. crude oil imports, or 8% of U.S. oil demand.
U.S. oil production by state – barrels/day