Canada is studying ways to increase pipeline utilization to boost crude exports to the United States, with the aim of helping European countries that phase out imports of Russian oil, the natural resources minister said on Thursday.
“We are looking at whether our pipeline network is fully utilized, such that we might be able to send incremental crude to the United States… which would then essentially go to Europe to help with the challenges that Europe faces,” Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said in a telephone interview.
After Russia invaded Ukraine two weeks ago, Canada and other nations said they would no longer import Russian crude. On Thursday, European Union leaders are set to agree to cut their reliance on Russian fossil fuels.
Canada exports more than 4 million barrels a day of oil to the United States and a small portion of that is then re-exported to other countries.
The government is conducting the analysis to ramp up pipeline flows together with industry, Wilkinson said, adding that he expected to “have an answer in terms of what Canada can do” as soon as next week.
Most of Canada’s crude exports travel on Enbridge Inc’s Mainline system, with another 590,000 barrels a day flowing on TC Energy’s Keystone pipeline. Neither company immediately responded to requests for comment.
Canadian oil companies exported a record amount of crude out of the U.S. Gulf Coast at the end of 2021, most of which went to big importers India, China and South Korea.