BC and Alberta one step closer to moving Alberta's oil to Asian markets

BC and Alberta reach energy agreement

BC Premier Christy Clark and Alberta Permier Alison Redford | Creative Commons image by Province of British Columbia

The premiers of BC and Alberta surprised the public on Tuesday after striking an agreement on energy resources.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford and BC Premier Christy Clark had initially cancelled Tuesday's meeting after discussions hit a wall Monday night. But with Alberta accepting five conditions from BC, the two released a joint statement on Tuesday.

The agreement provides a framework for moving energy resources to new markets.

"Agreement on B.C.'s 5 conditions is a necessary first step before any proposals can be considered for approval," said Clark. "It is the way we do business in B.C. and it works. By working together with Alberta through these principles we can grow our economies, and strengthen Canada's economy overall."

Though not the official debate topic, the agreement is critical to Enbridge's pipeline proposal between the two provinces. The Northern Gateway pipeline would carry crude from Alberta's oil sands to BC, where it could then make the journey to Asian markets. Clark rejected the plan earlier this year, saying she wasn't convinced of the benefits it would bring to BC.

In 2012, Clark set out five conditions:

1. Successful completion of the formal environmental review processes.

2. World-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for British Columbia.

3. World-leading practices for land spill prevention, response and recovery systems for British Columbia.

4. Legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights must be addressed and First Nations be provided with the opportunities to benefit from these projects.

5. British Columbia receives a fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits of proposed heavy oil projects that reflect the risk borne by the province.

As part of Tuesday's agreement, BC will also endorse Redford's Canadian Energy Strategy.

"Today's agreement with B.C. is good news for Alberta, for British Columbia and for all Canadians," Redford said.