With both Alberta and Saskatchewan now threatening to “turn off the tap,” potentially starving B.C. of oil and gas, a fuel industry expert says British Columbians should brace for pain at the pump.
Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst for Gasbuddy.com says if Alberta Premier Rachel Notley follows through on threats to use legislation restricting fuel exports, prices could jump by around 30 per cent.
The two western provinces have proposed legislation to restrict fuel exports as the dispute over the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline deepens.
“A scenario like this would see at least two-thirds of all fuel products potentially cut off, including jet fuel, including diesel and gasoline,” he said.
“Now, assuming no controls were immediately imposed… the wholesale price of gasoline would rise about 45 cents a litre.”
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McTeague added that even Lower Mainland drivers who slip across the border to Washington to save on fuel costs would likely find themselves paying more.
“Bear in mind that the Trans Mountain pipeline does deliver not an insignificant amount of oil to Washington State refineries, so it’s not like this wouldn’t affect prices in the Pacific Northwest,” he said.
McTeague said because jet fuel shipments could also be blocked, air travellers may find the cost of a flight heading skyward as well.
Alberta’s proposed legislation would require energy companies to get an export licence for natural gas, crude oil and refined fuel like gasoline or jet fuel. Export restrictions could also be imposed on pipelines, rail cars or trucks.
Notley says the move is not designed to punish B.C. for delays in the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but that Alberta is “very committed to putting pressure on B.C. to come around and focus on what this pipeline actually means.”
On Monday, B.C. Attorney General David Eby rejected that characterization, arguing it was clear that Alberta was targeting B.C., and threatening to take legal action over what he suggested was an illegal and unconstitutional move.