Big producers tell Alberta: we commit to rail, you ease oil curtailments
Canada’s largest oil producers are calling on the Alberta government to reward companies that commit to adding crude-by-rail capacity by easing their oil curtailment levels.
Suncor Energy CEO Mark Little told Canadian Press the proposal makes a lot of sense because it would allow crude oil export capacity to increase at the same time that barrels are being produced to fill that capacity.
He says the result would be that Alberta producers would be able to get better prices for higher volumes of oil.
Alberta enacted a program to reduce oil exports starting in January after discounts on Western Canadian Select bitumen-blend crude soared to as much as US$50 per barrel compared with U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate prices.
The situation was blamed on the inability of pipeline capacity to keep up with growing output from the oil sands.
The curtailment program was to gradually be reduced and end by late 2019, but Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has said it may need to continue for longer if storage levels in the province remain high.
Meanwhile, his government has also indicated it wants to turn over 120,000 barrels per day of crude-by-rail contracts negotiated by the previous NDP government to the private sector.