Put Canada's energy needs first, union tells NEB


CALGARY, April 3, 2013 /CNW/ - The president of Canada's largest energy union says a case being heard today by the National Energy Board will determine whether Canadian oil will continue to flow to the US when a Canadian refinery is being starved for supply.

"The NEB has a duty to protect the public interest and ensure that Canadian energy security is given the highest priority," says Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union President Dave Coles.

Coles will be cross-examined at the NEB hearing today on his union's position that supply to the Chevron refinery in Burnaby BC, be given priority over exports to Washington State.

Chevron had asked our National Energy Board to be declared a "priority destination" so that it will have enough crude oil to operate. It is attempting to meet its supply needs by ensuring that it have first call on oil flowing the TransMountain Pipeline from Northern BC and Alberta. The refinery is the only one remaining on the West coast and is running out of crude to process due to increased direct exports.

Several large US refineries operating in Washington State oppose the application. One of those refineries, Tesoro, has also argued that NAFTA rules prohibit the NEB from granting Chevron's application.

"This case represents a critical test of whether Canadian needs will be met in the face of growing export demand," says Coles. "Chevron is running out of crude. Our position is that the NEB must not bow to the interests of American companies."

Coles also notes that if the NEB denies Chevron priority access to pipeline flows, it will put Chevron's ability to maintain and create Canadian jobs, through value-added production, in great jeopardy.

The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada is the largest union in several key sectors of Canada's economy, including forestry, energy, telecommunications and media. CEP represents some 35,000 members employed in oil and gas extraction, transportation, refining, and conversion in the petrochemical and plastics sectors, and 120,000 members in total.