Canada launches new attack against EU's proposed dirty oil rules

Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:06am EST
 
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By Scott Haggett

CALGARY (Reuters) - Canada on Wednesday renewed its attack on the European Union's plan to classify Canadian tar sands oil as particularly dirty and released a study questioning the data behind the controversial measure.

Canada has the world's third-largest proven reserves of crude, much of which is locked in the tar sands of Alberta. Extracting the oil requires more energy than conventional production, a fact regularly highlighted by environmental campaigners.

The EU is working on a Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) to cut emissions of greenhouse gases from the transport sector. The directive singles out the tar sands, a move Canada fears could set a bad precedent and hit crucial energy exports.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver on Wednesday released a study - commissioned by Canada's right-leaning Conservative government - that claims the EU directive relied on weak data.

"The FQD implementation measures, as currently drafted, are unscientific and discriminatory," said Oliver, who intends to fly to Europe next week to lobby against the directive.

The report by energy consultants ICF International Inc said the FQD ignored the fact that the EU uses oil from Venezuela, Iraq, Nigeria and Russia, which burn and release natural gas during extraction. Oil from these nations is therefore sometimes dirtier than tar sands crude, it added.

"The FQD would discriminate against Canada by discouraging EU refiners and consumers from using Canadian crude oil and products, thereby negatively impacting Canada's energy sector," Oliver said in a statement.

"We hope the European Union will consider this report's findings as a basis for changes to make the Fuel Quality Directive sound, fair and effective."   Continued...