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Trudeau: Ottawa Open To Proposals For British Columbia Refinery

Bank of Canada

Canada’s federal government is open to proposals for a refinery in British Columbia, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday, just as the B.C. authorities started hearings in the inquiry into high gas prices in the province.  

The federal government of Canada is always open to proposals and finding solutions to help people pay their bills, Trudeau said, and in this case, this refers to the high price of gas at the pump for B.C. residents. Trudeau made the comments at an event with the Premier of British Columbia, John Horgan, to announce new investments to improve public transit for British Columbia.

British Columbia residents are feeling the pain from gas prices in Metro Vancouver that surged to record highs in May.

The soaring gasoline prices prompted British Columbia’s Horgan to ask the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) to launch a public inquiry into why B.C. prices at the pump are so high. The commission is scheduled to provide advice to the government in a final report on August 30 this year. The inquiry will look into factors that contribute to both retail and wholesale price fluctuations such as access to refineries, the amount of fuel in storage, refinery and pipeline capacity, market size and demand, distribution methods, and seasonal variations, among other things.

The irony is that British Columbia, after fiercely opposing the expansion of the Trans Mountain which the federal government approved last month, is now looking at pipeline and refinery capacity in its territory.

Related: A New Gasoline Glut Is In The Making

The B.C. province in May lost a case at the B.C. Appeals Court where it sought to stop the expansion by claiming rights to determine the amount of oil that flows across its territory. B.C. is appealing the ruling at the Supreme Court.

Hearings in the B.C. inquiry into gas prices began this week, and Parkland Fuel, Shell, Imperial Oil, Husky, and Suncor will speak under oath to a three-member panel. The panel will be asking the oil companies how refinery closures affect fuel prices and what role the Trans Mountain pipeline plays in forming the price of gasoline and diesel in B.C.

Parkland Fuel already testified before the panel, saying that there isn’t any collusion to set the fuel prices and that the gasoline retail market in Canada is highly competitive.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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