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The Pentagon and the Canadian oilsands

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Citing the need to protect US jobs and America’s energy security, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and two other organisations filed a petition on 29 September in federal court asking to intervene on the side of the Pentagon in a case challenging its use of fuels derived from Canadian oilsands crude oil.

API, the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA) and the US Chamber of Commerce petitioned the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California to intervene in a lawsuit filed in June by the Sierra Club and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy seeking to stop the department from buying fuels derived from crude oil produced from Canadian oilsands.


‘Over the next fiver years, Canadian oilsands development could lead to an additional 343 000 jobs in the US,’ said Bob Greco, API’s downstream director. ‘Those are jobs that our struggling economy could certainly use, and as the economy recovers, it could also use the half a billion barrels per year of crude oil that Canadian oilsands could provide.' 

In their lawsuit, the environmental groups allege the Pentagon is not complying with section 526 of the 2007 energy bill requiring that the agency not acquire fuels derived from crude oil sources, such as Canadian oilsands, with higher greenhouse gas emissions than fuels derived from conventional sources.

API argues that the fungible nature of crude oil makes it impossible for the Pentagon to determine which fuels are derived from oilsands crude, preventing it from being able to comply with Section 526.

In addition, it says,  Canadian oilsands producers comply with strict environmental rules requiring the return of all developed land to its natural state.

‘And, contrary to claims, the lifecycle of greenhouse gas emissions from the crude oil from oilsands are comparable to those from other crude oils refined in the US,’ Greco said.

API contends that keeping the Pentagon from using Canadian crude would also make the nation less energy secure and more dependent on oil from overseas.

‘No oil source outside our own borders is more secure than Canada,’ Greco said.

Author: American Petroleum Institute

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