Just heard this one: “If Canada were like China, the Northern Gateway pipeline would be built in six months.” Which also sounds like this one: “If Alberta were part of the United States the Keystone XL Pipeline would be built by now.”
This kind of talk occurs more often than necessary, especially over lunch in Alberta cafeterias. During dinner, in fancier restaurants, such scenarios are not discussed as straightforwardly, although they are inevitable elements of the current ethos in Canada’s fossil energy sector, where all kinds of plausible and impossible scenarios are discussed ad nauseam.
In one of these recurring discussions, Alberta’s oil sands are at the center of an imaginary T intersection. Besides the Northern Gateway and Keystone pipelines, which are envisioned for exporting its bitumen, the third leg of the T is rather illusory in terms of economic practicality and refers to sending the bitumen through existing pipelines all the way to Canada’s East Coast to be refined in Irving facilities or similarly retrofitted facilities in Central and Eastern Canada.