LAKE LOUISE, Alberta, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Many refineries in Europe, India and South America are easier to reach from Canaport, New Brunswick, in eastern Canada, than from the U.S. Gulf Coast, the chief executive of Irving Oil said on Friday.
Laying out his case for eastern Canada to become a major marine exporter of crude oil, Irving chief executive Paul Browning said Canaport is the closest port in North America to the world's largest refinery, Reliance Industries Ltd's Jamnagar complex on the west coast of India.
It is also the closest to Repsol SA's 900,000 barrels per day refinery in Spain, Browning told an industry conference in Lake Louise, Alberta.
He did not say whether any agreement had been made to supply either company with crude.
Privately-owned Irving Oil and TransCanada Corp are building a C$300 million marine terminal at Canaport in St. John, New Brunswick, to export oil sands crude to world markets.
The terminal, and Irving's existing 300,000 bpd St. John refinery, will be supplied by TransCanada's proposed 1.1 million bpd Energy East pipeline.
"At Canaport we have a marine terminal with ice free water that's 128 feet deep, making it capable of unloading the largest crude vessels in the world year round," Browning said.
"Today our continent is becoming long crude oil. This creates a new opportunity for Irving Oil ... which is marine export of oil from Canada."
Nearly all Canadian crude oil exports currently go to the United States.
Browning said it takes less time to sail from Canaport to many South American ports than from the U.S. Gulf Coast.
He told the conference the eastern Canadian marine terminal was six days closer to Spain, two days closer to Rio de Janeiro and four days closer to South Africa than the U.S. Gulf Coast.
He also said Canaport was five days closer to India than the west coast of Canada.
"If you want to ship crude to China and East Asia you want to ship it off the west coast of Canada, but if you want to ship crude to India, Europe, Africa, South America, you want to come east," he added.