While the maintenance shutdowns of oil-sands upgraders, including Syncrude Canada Ltd.’s plant near Fort McMurray, combined with rail lines moving “a little more” crude has helped alleviate the logjam, the discount could widen back out to between $17 and $19 a barrel once Syncrude resumes operation, Birn said. That assumes that a rail strike doesn’t happen. CP is the second-biggest rail shipper in Canada after Canadian National Railway Inc.The carrier shipped 3,488 carloads of petroleum products the week ended April 14, up 28 percent from a year earlier, company data show.
The company said late Friday that “significant gaps” remain between the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. A work stoppage “will severely impact CP’s ability to continue to provide safe and efficient freight and passenger and commuter service,” Canadian Pacific said Friday. “All customers and commodities would be impacted at a time when demand is soaring.”
The potential strike comes as the oil-producing provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan introduce legislation allowing them to cut oil shipments to British Columbia in retaliation for B.C.’s efforts to derail the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. A move to turn off the taps to B.C. could further worsen the current glut by removing an export route.
“The oil industry is concerned about any further impact on the availability of rail capacity given the tight pipeline situation and is monitoring these new market developments as they unfold,” Chelsie Klassen, spokeswoman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said in an email.
Sources and photo-credits: Bloomberg with assistance by Frederic Tomesco