The union representing Chevron refinery workers in Burnaby is taking issue with an American company opposing Chevron's bid for prioritized access to oil coming down the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
The Communications, Energy and Paper-workers Union of Canada is raising concerns about Tesoro, a Texas-based refining company, which has presented a motion to the National Energy Board opposing Chevron's bid for "priority destination designation."
Chevron made the application to the National Energy Board in July in an attempt to secure a more steady supply of oil amidst high demand on Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline. If granted, the designation would mean Chevron gets priority when shipping oil down the Trans Mountain, which would help stabilize operations at the refinery.
Kinder Morgan does not own or sell the oil that's shipped from Alberta to B.C.; the company simply charges customers for using the line. When oil companies ask to ship more oil than the pipeline's maximum capacity, those requested volumes are curtailed for all pipeline customers, sometimes leaving Chevron with a shortage of oil supply for the refinery.
But Tesoro is raising concerns that prioritized access for Chevron may not be consistent with the North American Free Trade Agreement. Tesoro is one of four U.S. refineries that gets oil from Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline. Tesoro's position is that according to NAFTA, all customers should be treated equally.
"It is outrageous that an American company is trying to use NAFTA rules to block a case that would allow Canadian crude to be treated in Canada," said Dave Coles, the union's national president. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @JenniferMoreau