Suncor sends its first tanker of Western Canada heavy crude to Europe
By Nia Williams
CALGARY, Alberta, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Canada's largest oil and gas producer, Suncor Energy Inc, is shipping its first ever tanker of Western Canadian heavy crude from Canada's East Coast to Europe, a company spokeswoman said on Tuesday.
Suncor spokeswoman Sneh Seetal confirmed Reuters shipping data that shows the aframax tanker Minerva Gloria was set to pick up a cargo of crude oil from the port of Sorel-Tracy on the St. Lawrence River in Quebec.
Seetal declined to comment on where in Europe the crude cargo is going, citing commercial confidentiality. According to Reuters data it will be discharged in the Mediterranean.
The crude was delivered by rail to a storage facility in Sorel-Tracy that is owned by Kildair Service Ltd.
Barclays analyst Michael Cohen said he did not know of any other instances of a cargo of Western Canadian crude making its way to Europe via rail and tanker from Canada's East Coast.
For years producers in the oil sands in the landlocked province of Alberta in Western Canada have been desperately seeking ways to get their crude to tidewater and higher-priced international markets.
The emergence of this new and largely unnoticed export route is likely to incense environmentalists who are seeking to block any avenue for shipping crude from the Alberta oil sands, where production entails high greenhouse-gas emissions, to refiners.
But it shows that despite environmentalists' efforts for the past six years to stall the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast, companies facing growing production of oil sands crude, and deepening discounts, are seeking other means, including rail, to get their crude to markets. Continued...