A new fuel-quality directive, passed yesterday by the European Union, will create a separate label for Canadian oil produced from oilsands.
Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said in Edmonton the federal government was "surprised" the directive came down before a full analysis of oilsands emissions had been completed. The Edmonton Journal reports:
“This was a non-binding resolution. Frankly, we were a bit surprised by it, because the European Union made a decision to have a full impact analysis done, and we had been calling for that,” Oliver said.
The directive would single out Canadian crude as producing more emissions than conventional crude, something the federal government takes issue with.
“From our perspective, the fuel-quality directive as it is currently drafted is non-scientific, and it is discriminatory, and it attempts to pigeonhole, isolate and stigmatize the oilsands based upon an alleged higher emissions level.”
As the Journal article points out, Canada exports little oil to Europe but is concerned that a "dirty" label would set a dangerous precedent. Ottawa has therefore pursued an aggressive strategy in both the US and Europe to defend the oilsands and attract investment to the sector.