As a trade war continues to simmer between Alberta and B.C. over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi waded into the debate Tuesday from South Korea where he said there is a “desperate need” for Alberta crude.

“One of the most interesting things is (hearing) the other side, literally, of the Trans Mountain debate,” Nenshi told Postmedia. “I met with people here who operate one of the biggest refineries, which, in their words, is perfectly suited to upgrade Alberta crude. And they are anxiously, anxiously awaiting the construction of the Trans Mountain expansion so that they can start purchasing Alberta crude.”

Nenshi is among the proponents of Kinder Morgan’s $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline project, many of whom argue it will unlock new markets, especially across Asia, where Canadian oil can command a better price.

The dispute over the pipeline erupted last month when B.C. Premier John Horgan moved to restrict bitumen shipments from Alberta to the B.C. coast.

Alberta has since countered with a ban on B.C. wines and in the midst of the firestorm brewing between the provinces, Nenshi said it was refreshing to “get out of the bubble” to talk about the transition to clean energy and Alberta’s role as an energy power internationally.

“We very rarely hear about the desperate need for safe, clean energy on the other side of those (tankers).

“When we understand that across the world there is a real need and desire for safe, clean energy from Alberta in order to meet people’s energy needs, in order to fight poverty, in order to manage the transition to a lower carbon economy,” Nenshi said. “It’s really helpful to get out of our parochial arguments and understand what’s really at stake here.”

Nenshi made the comments while on a fact-finding mission to Pyeongchang as an Olympic observer; the mayor spent part of the trip in business meetings in Seoul, arranged by Alberta Economic Development, to drum up interest and investment in Calgary and Alberta.

The mayor’s statements are in line with previous reports about South Korean oil companies, said Nick Martin, a policy analyst at the Canada West Foundation.

Martin said it’s important that the federal government step in to end the dispute over Trans Mountain while keeping in mind the international audience that’s undoubtedly watching.

“This is a matter of a project that was deemed in the national interest by the federal government, it’s a project …read more



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Nenshi weighs in from far, far side of the Trans Mountain debate

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