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Kinder Morgan loophole poised to kill jobs at Burnaby refinery

VANCOUVER, Sept. 19, 2014 /CNW/ - The international system of bidding for oil used by companies using the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline is being abused, according to documents filed today with the National Energy Board (NEB). Unifor says the abuse creates a disadvantage for Chevron's Burnaby refinery, threatening good Canadian jobs.

"Yet again, Canada's natural resources are being taken advantage of by foreign firms, and the government is doing nothing to stop it," said Joie Warnock, Unifor's Western Director. "When is the government going to put Canadians first?"

Several oil companies receive a share of the oil product that is shipped from Alberta through the Trans Mountain pipeline. They undertake a monthly bidding process for the amount of oil they can take.

In evidence submitted to the NEB, Unifor demonstrates that larger American refineries bid for vastly more oil than they need. This over-subscription to the pipeline squeezes out smaller refineries, who then may need to buy oil from the over-subscribed firms at inflated prices.

Unifor estimates that 75% of the Trans Mountain flow already goes to foreign markets, putting BC consumers at risk.

"If the government doesn't step in, the Kinder Morgan pipeline will become a pure export pipe," said Russ Day, Unifor Local 601 Secretary-Treasurer at the Burnaby refinery. "Our natural resources should create long-term Canadian jobs and meet Canadians' energy needs."

The Burnaby refinery supplies between 30%-40% of the petroleum products in BC's Lower Mainland.

Unifor was founded Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged. With more than 305,000 members, Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector.