Premier Kenney encouraged by Trudeau ban on Russian oil, wants Biden to follow suit

Click to play video: 'Kenney believes Canada can help fill gap for countries banning Russian oil imports'
Kenney believes Canada can help fill gap for countries banning Russian oil imports
WATCH ABOVE: In response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Canada is banning imports of Russian oil. Premier Jason Kenney is among those who called for such a move and believes Canada is ready to step up to fill the gap for other countries doing the same. But as Tom Vernon reports, it is not that simple – Feb 28, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada will ban imports of Russian crude in response to that nation’s invasion of Ukraine. While Canada is not a major importer of oil from Russia, that country does rely heavily on oil revenue.

“This unnecessary war must stop now. The costs will only grow steeper and those responsible will be held accountable,” the prime minister said while announcing the measure.

READ MORE: Canada will send Ukraine anti-tank weapons, upgraded ammo: Trudeau

It’s a step that many have been calling for since Russia launched its invasion last week, including Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

“Encouraging to see the Government of Canada take steps to shut Canada’s border to Putin’s conflict oil that is funding his war on Ukraine,” Kenney said in a statement following the announcement.

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He’s publicly pressed for the United States to take the same step and to increase imports from Canada to make up the difference.

Click to play video: 'Russia-Ukraine conflict: Sanctions pummel Russian economy'
Russia-Ukraine conflict: Sanctions pummel Russian economy

“Now let’s get North American pipelines built,” the statement concluded.

Premier Kenney has used the war to criticize the Biden administration’s cancelling of the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that would have had the capacity to transport more than 800,000 barrels per day of oil to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

If the project had gone ahead, construction would not have been completed at this point.

READ MORE: Western sanctions will sink Russian ruble, but unlikely to end war in Ukraine: experts

Whether an American embargo is put in place or not, energy policy expert Richard Masson expects American refineries to search out other sources to replace Russian crude, and Canada will be high on that list.

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“Rail is probably the near-term option,” Masson told Global News.

That being said, Masson said Alberta isn’t in a position to significantly replace Russian crude right away as the energy industry in Canada is already running at nearly full capacity.

“We might be able to ramp up 100,000, or 200,000 to 300,000 barrels per day over the next few months. And that’s always dependent on which projects are in maintenance mode,” Masson said.

AIMCo makes announcement in light of military conflict

On Monday afternoon, AIMCo president and CEO Evan Siddal tweeted that the public investment management body will be divesting its “small number of Russian positions as soon as possible and we will make no new purchases of Russian securities during the conflict.”

According to its 2020 annual report, 14.7 per cent of the $118.6 billion in assets AIMCo manages are from the “rest of the world,” i.e. not Canada, U.S., U.K. or Japan. But the report did not specifically mention what those Russian positions AIMCo holds are or in what amount.

–With files from Adam Toy, Global News

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