Alberta slams EU "dirty fuel" label, says hurts reputation

Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:56am EST
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By Marie Maitre

PARIS (Reuters) - The European Union must not single out Canada's unconventional oil in a proposed ranking of fuels, said a government representative of Alberta, home to the bulk of Canada's oil wealth, calling for an equal treatment with other fuels.

Cal Dallas, Alberta's Minister of International relations, told Reuters the EU tar sands proposal could damage the reputation of Canada's most lucrative export, but he declined to say if Ottawa could take the case to the World Trade Organization.

"I remain hopeful that we will be able to come to a reasonable solution," Dallas said in an interview in Paris as part of a European tour due to take him to the WTO in Geneva, and to Britain, a traditional ally of Canada.

Britain, home to oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell, has led opposition to the EU proposal to label oil derived from Canada's huge reserves of tar sands, as highly polluting in a proposed green fuel ranking.

"We support the idea of measuring these fuels and the move to a lower-carbon environment but we feel that as it (the EU fuel quality directive or FQD) is currently proposed we are being penalized," Dallas said.

"The data for other fuel sources is not transparent, is not available, and is not being considered in the development of the directive."

The EU ranking assigns tar sands a default greenhouse gas value of 107 grams of carbon per megajoule, informing buyers it has more climate impact than conventional crude with 87.5 grams, EU sources have said.

The EU green fuel ranking completes legislation introduced in 2008, when the bloc agreed to reduce the carbon intensity of its transport fuels by 6 percent by 2020.   Continued...