By BERTRAND MAROTTE
TORONTO -- Enbridge proposed reversal of its Line 9 pipeline
to move crude oil to Eastern Canada is a key element in keeping
Quebec's two remaining refineries competitive, says the
"If those two refineries aren't there, you can bet there is
going to be an economic impact," Enbridge CEO Al Monaco said
after a presentation to the Board of Trade of Greater
"It's crucial that the Suncor and Valero refineries get
better access to cheaper crude, and the ideal solution is
reversing Line 9 to obtain it from Western Canada and the
United States Bakken region," said Mr. Monaco.
Creating thousands of new jobs in the province's petrochemical industry is not the
goal, he added. "I look at the project as really allowing the
sustainability of the existing refinery base, the two refineries
that are left in Quebec," he said.
The cost of reversing the 38 year old pipeline would be
about $110 million, said Mr. Monaco, who spoke at a news
conference with a pro-pipeline coalition that includes
business, oil industry and union representatives from
The Line 9 project is controversial in the
province; critics say the risk of spills is too high and many
Quebeckers are opposed to importing crude from the allegedly
dirty Alberta oil sands.
Mr. Monaco said it's important at this point to move quickly
to save the two refineries, which currently employ about 4,000
"Over the last thirty years, five refineries in Montreal
have closed. Thousands of well paying direct and indirect jobs
were lost. We can't let that happen again," he said in his
Securing more domestic oil would also help reduce Quebec's
dependence on imported oil, he added.
"Today, more than a third of Quebec's total energy demands
are met by imported oil, a massive outflow of wealth estimated
at $14 billion annually," he said.
"Access to reliable western supply would serve to make the
two remaining refineries, Suncor in Montreal East and Valero in
Levis, more competitive," said Mr. Monaco, who took over as CEO
of Enbridge last year."
Quebec Premier Pauline Marois has said she views the
proposed pipeline reversal favourably but that a formal
assessment of the project is necessary before it gets
a green light.
The National Energy Board is set to conduct public hearings
on the proposal next month and a decision is expected in
It's critical to win over public opinion, especially in
light of the deadly rail crash and explosion of tankers
carrying crude in Lac Megantic, Quebec, Mr. Monaco said in his
"If the energy industry has learned anything in recent
years, it's that economic benefits alone are not enough to
achieve public support. The pipelines and facilities we operate require public
trust and confidence that we are transporting our energy
resources responsibly. Frankly, that trust is being tested," he
TransCanada is also proposing a west-east pipeline project called Energy East to
transport Alberta crude to refineries and export terminals in
Keith Stewart, climate campaigner for Greenpeace Canada, is
equally dismissive of the Energy East jobs promise. "We would
create more jobs and build a better economy if we spent $12
billion on public transit and greener vehicles that reduce our
oil consumption, rather than on building a pipeline that fuels
climate change by deepening the world's addiction to dirty
oil," he said.
Dow Jones Newswires