Discussions surrounding the need for new pipelines to transport Canada's oil to market have been a dominant economic, environmental, and political issue for the past several years. Canadas overwhelming reliance on the United States as a customer, the U.S.s growing energy self-sufficiency, and limited pipeline infrastructure have placed a low ceiling on the prices Canadians are able to secure for our energy exports.
Yet another train derailment involving petroleum products has re-invigorated the debate over how we transport oil in Canada. In this case, 17 cars on a train near Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, derailed; nine of which carried dangerous goods including crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas. According to recent reports, the cause of the derailment seems to involve a brake failure of some kind. As we have seen in other derailments, the derailed cars erupted in flames, causing, in this case, the evacuation of 150 people from nearby houses.
As almost everyone knows by now, Canada has some interesting challenges looming when it comes to transporting increasing oil production to markets both inside and outside of Canada. What many Canadians might not realize is how important oil exports are to Canadas economy. Canada has the worlds third largest proven oil reserves, is the fifth largest exporter of crude oil, and is the fifth largest producer of crude oil in the world.