Amid Trump Trade War, Canada Oil Group Seeks Less U.S. Reliance

(Bloomberg) -- With President Donald Trump roiling the American relationship with its neighbor to the north, the Canadian oil industry’s biggest trade group is floating ideas for reducing its dependence on the U.S.

One possibility would be reviving Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, according to Tim McMillan, chief executive officer of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Currently, all but one of Canada’s oil pipelines run to the U.S., and gaining the ability to ship crude off the northern Pacific coast to Asia is “crucially important,” McMillan said during an on-stage interview at an industry conference on Tuesday.

“Today Canada only has one customer for our crude oil, and growing markets around the world want Canadian product,” McMillan said. “So there’s a natural incentive for us to build to new markets.”

The Northern Gateway pipeline was rejected in 2016 by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said the project wasn’t in the best interest of the indigenous communities along its route from an oil hub near Edmonton to Kitimat, British Columbia. But in light of Trump’s recent imposition of tariffs on Canadian metals and his personal attacks on Trudeau, the government should consider revisiting the proposal, McMillan said.

“If there’s ever a time where we need to reassess decisions made even a year or two ago, it’s now,” McMillan said.

Enbridge declined to comment beyond saying that it is focused on its C$22 billion ($16.9 billion) growth program.

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