Alberta, Quebec to study rerouting Canadian crude eastward

Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:06pm EST
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* Quebec, Alberta to study benefits of getting Western crude

* New Brunswick, Manitoba enthusiastic

* Landlocked Western crude selling at discount

* Eastern Canada linked to pricier North Sea Brent

By Richard Woodbury

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Alberta, Canada's oil-producing heartland, and Quebec's separatist government will study the benefits of shipping the western province's crude to refineries in Quebec, a shift that could help cut the industry's dependence on the U.S. market.

The development is a shift from previous comments by Quebec officials that had cast doubt on the energy industry's quickly evolving plans to get oil sands-derived crude to Eastern Canadian refineries, which now handle mostly imported oil that arrives at a much higher price.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford and her Quebec counterpart, Pauline Marois, agreed on Thursday to set up a working party to look at the issue ahead of a Marois visit to Alberta next year.

"It's exactly the evaluation we will do, to see if it's advantageous for both sides to have Albertan oil refined in Quebec," Marois said on Thursday evening on the sidelines of a meeting of Canada's provincial premiers.   Continued...