Good afternoon dear members of the committee.
My name is Nancy Bérard-Brown. I am speaking to you on behalf of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
I sent copies of our brief and of our presentation to the committee, as well as copies of the comments we submitted to the Honourable Minister of Transport in 2006. The documents are in both official languages.
Prior to introducing the oil tanker moratorium act in May 2017, Transport Canada undertook very brief consultations. CAPP did not support the proposed moratorium because it is not based on facts or science. There were no science-based gaps identified in safety or environmental protection that might justify a moratorium.
It is worth noting that Canada has an outstanding record on marine safety due to its stringent regulatory, monitoring, and enforcement regime and good operating practices deployed by industry. Canada has extensive experience in moving crude oil and petroleum products by sea.
The federal government has been a leader in ensuring that Canada has a world-class marine safety system that continues to evolve over time. Many safety measures have been implemented over the last number of years.
The government set up an independent tanker expert safety panel to review the Canadian regime. That panel concluded that the regime is fundamentally sound and it made some recommendations, which were all endorsed by the federal government. The national oceans protection plan launched by the Prime Minister will continue to ensure that Canada remains a leader in marine safety.
The bill as it stands would prohibit maritime access for a large range of hydrocarbon products. The moratorium would close the most economical route toward Asia, in addition to sending the message to the community of investors that Canada is not open for business.
Our production of oil and natural gas continues to increase. Canada has to expand its energy markets beyond the United States. The very broad definitions in the bill could exclude future condensate shipment opportunities from natural gas deposits that are rich in liquids and light hydrocarbons in the first stages of development.
Results have been very promising up till now.
My comments today will focus on the various definitions of oil and the need for science-based research.
As written, the regulations would prohibit the transportation of crude oil, persistent oil, or a combination of both.
First, the definition of crude oil is very broad and essentially includes all hydrocarbons. On the other hand, a list of persistent oils included in the moratorium is provided in the schedule. Having a “persistent oil” and a “crude oil” definition is confusing. If an oil product is not listed in the schedule, that does not necessarily mean that it could be transported, because it may fall under the definition of “crude oil”.
CAPP, respectfully, would recommend that the bill include only one definition of persistent oil, which links to a schedule that can be modified by regulation. Alternatively, CAPP would recommend that the crude oil definition be amended to say something like “any liquid hydrocarbon designated by regulation”.
The concept of persistent and non-persistent oils is very important, as it informs the response required in the event of a spill. The distinction is based on the likelihood of the material dissipating naturally. As a rule, persistent oils contain a large proportion of heavy hydrocarbons. They dissipate more slowly and require cleanup. In contrast, non-persistent oils are generally composed of lighter hydrocarbons, which tend to dissipate quickly through evaporation.
I would like to note that in the schedule, “condensate” is defined as a persistent oil in accordance with the ASTM D86 method. While distillation thresholds have been broadly used to define persistence, there are other key physical properties that should be considered in determining persistency.
Of note, definitions of persistent oil do vary. For example, Australia relies on standards that refer to API gravity and viscosity, in addition to alternative distillation.
Of note, western Canadian condensate is a unique, light hydrocarbon, which has very different properties and behaves differently from heavier crude oils. The timeline for condensate persistence in a marine environment is often hours or days.
CAPP would recommend that alternative definitions of persistent oil and thresholds be explored further. CAPP is also seeking consideration for alternative treatment of condensate from the list of persistent oil products.
The safe and reliable transportation of all of our products is critical for our members.
More scientific analyses are needed in order to better understand the changes and behaviours of various oil types. The industry is meeting that need. Our association and the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association have commissioned a study which should be completed in 2018.
We recommend that the federal government undertake a science-based risk assessment related to oil tanker movements along the British Columbia north coast.
We also recommend that you examine scientific research regarding the fate and behaviour of oil products under the Oceans Protection Plan.