When he says that a review panels endorsement Thursday (December 19) of Enbridge Inc.s Northern Gateway oil pipeline is an important victory for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, he puts it into a broad perspective.
For Stephen Harper to fulfill his dream of the country becoming an energy superpower, were going to need four or five pipelines like this, Rubin told the Straight by phone from Toronto.
As Rubin notes in this years updated version of his 2012 book The End of Growth, Albertas daily oil production of about 1.9 million barrels is projected to double by 2020, reaching five million barrels in 2030.
Combined with other sources, Rubin writes, this projected 2030 production will push Canadas daily production to about six million barrels, up there with Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Rubin indicated to the Straight that this increased production will require, at the very least: Northern Gateway, with its daily capacity of 525,000 barrels; Kinder Morgans planned twinning of its Alberta to B.C. pipeline (890,000 barrels); TransCanadas Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to the U.S. (830,000 barrels); TransCanadas proposed Energy East pipeline from Alberta and Saskatchewan to Eastern Canada (1.1 million); and Enbridges planned reversal of its Line 9 pipeline in Canada (240,000).
However, Rubin said he doesnt expect all this pipeline capacity to be built amid public opposition.
To use the parlance of my former business, Id short that trade, Rubin said. The chances of that happening are worth betting against.
In The End of Growth, Rubin also notes that demand in the U.S., which buys about two-thirds of Canadas oil, is down.
Even China, the intended market for oil from Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgans twinned pipeline, is not a sure bet.
If Chinas economy stops growing at its current clip, Rubin writes, maybe it wont need to import oil from the tar sands.