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Energy Won’t Stay in the Ground

Canada is already famous for hockey and maple syrup, and it will soon boost its status as an oil exporter as well. The country has plenty of oil, much of it in its western provinces, and it is eager to tap that asset now.

Much more of that oil will move through the Trans Mountain Pipeline, after an expansion that “will nearly triple the flow of crude from Alberta to Canada’s Pacific Coast to 890,000 barrels per day,” Reuters reports. Canada already produces 4.8 million barrels per day of crude oil, and it expects to bump that up to 5.3 million bpd this year. “In 2024, Canada could be the largest source of growth in global crude oil production,” CBC reports. “The country’s expected jump in oil output of about 500,000 bpd is higher than the 400,000 bpd projected growth in the U.S.”

>>>READ: Biden’s Dangerous Climate Extremism

An American pipeline, Keystone XL, was supposed to bring much of that oil to the United States, where our high-tech refineries are well prepared to turn that heavy crude into valuable products, such as fuel for American drivers. Instead, the Biden administration killed that project in on its first day in office in 2021, leading to the Trans Mountain expansion project.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Energy finally admitted that the Keystone XL pipeline would have created between 16,000 and 59,000 jobs and would have had a positive economic impact of between $3.16 and $9.6 billion. Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana said killing the pipeline was “the first step in the Biden administration’s war on oil and gas production in the United States.” 

That is a war we can never win. The world needs oil even as we attempt to transition to other energy sources, but American refineries don’t have enough to keep them busy.

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“The Keystone XL pipeline was going to be built to offset declining imports from Venezuela, because Canadian oil is the same type as what they produce in Venezuela,” Forbes noted in 2022, after Russia invaded Ukraine and the Western world imposed sanctions on Russian exports. “The White House canceled the Keystone XL pipeline and they are now asking Venezuela for more oil.” 

Meanwhile, Canada’s oil is going west instead, and will be shipped to Asia and refined in China, where environmental protections aren’t as stringent as those in the U.S. That’s not the way to reduce global emissions.

The lesson is that energy will not stay in the ground. So, it is best to use, refine and export cleaner American energy whenever possible. As a bonus, that boosts the economy here at home and enables more exploration of greener energy sources.

>>>READ: Don’t Make LNG Exports the Next Keystone XL

Unfortunately, the Biden administration is replaying its pipeline mistake by pausing future exports of LNG, which harms our domestic energy industry in the long run. 

Because of advances in fracking technology, the U.S. enjoys a surplus supply of natural gas. That has driven down prices here at home, where we have an abundance of fuel in storage and prices are expected to remain low for the rest of the year. This excess can be liquified and shipped overseas. 

One reason to deploy this resource is that the U.S. is famous for doing more with less. “The U.S. natural gas industry continues to shrink its environmental and climate footprint,” C3’s Nick Loris writes. “For instance, from 2011 to 2018, methane emissions intensity from natural gas extraction in the Permian Basin ​​fell by nearly 85% even as production jumped by over 416%.” That is the way to reduce international carbon emissions.

“U.S. LNG exports have been a tremendous boon to the economy, strengthened relationships with America’s allies and can be imperative to meeting the world’s energy needs and climate goals,” Loris concludes. But only if we utilize it. 

Canada will benefit from the Trans Mountain pipeline. But the U.S. and the planet could have benefitted even more. Let’s not make the same mistake with LNG.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

Copyright © 2020 Conservative Coalition for Climate Solutions

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