Canadian price of crude oil would rise with the creation of Northern Gateway pipeline

Listen to the first segment of Part 3 of CBC's "As It Happens" for Tuesday, September 4th titled "Northern Gateway Hearings. The Alberta Federation of Labour says the Enbridge pipeline project will actually eliminate Canadian jobs":‐tuesday‐edition‐45/html

The Alberta Federation of Labour has two main criticisms of the Northern Gateway pipeline: (1) Canadian jobs would be created if the crude bitumen was refined in Canada and then exported rather than being exported directly; and (2) The pipeline will reduce the "Asian" premium, which means a higher price of oil in Canada and job loss due to the higher processing costs for Canadian refineries.

In about 200 words carefully explain why the creation of the Gateway pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat BC will raise the price of crude oil for Canadian refineries. Be sure to include proper references to your background material.

According to Gil McGowan (President of Alberta Federation of Labor), the creation of Northern Gateway pipeline will raise the price of crude oil for Canadian refineries. Oil refineries take crude oil as the raw material for production and convert it into consumable products like gasoline. Currently, the oil suppliers for Canadian refineries are primarily domestic, and the buyers/consumers of their refined products are primarily domestic as well.

With the pipeline in place, the expansion of Canadian crude oil industry to a world market would bid up the domestic price of crude oil to meet the world price (narrowing the gap between the domestic and the world price). This will be so as the result of a much higher demand from a worldwide refinery industry/oil market, particularly with access to the ones in Asia and West coast US. Mr. McGowan mentioned that the Saudi Arabia (currently the main oil supplier to the Asian market) when facing the Canadian entering their Asian oil market could lower their oil price to keep their market share. Thus, it would result in a reduced "Asian Premium". The "lowered" oil price in Asia market/world market would then still be higher than the current Canadian domestic price of crude oil because of the high demand. This would encourage Canadian crude oil export as long as it allows a higher margin of profit than selling the oil domestically. The potential shrinking supply of crude oil domestically would cause the domestic oil price to rise. In addition, the Canadian refineries' bargaining power would be reduced as the Canadian crude oil industry is open to the world market which would probably be reflected on an increase of price of crude oil as well.

Happy Trades Blog, September 10, 2012

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