Sun, Jul 15, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Chinese oil executive pans Canada


Chinese companies coveting Canada's oil patch are unhappy about the chilly reception they are getting from Ottawa, a top Chinese oil executive told media on Friday, after withdrawing from a Canadian pipeline project amid delays.

Song Yiwu (宋亦武), vice president of China National Petroleum Corp (中國石油天然氣), the parent of PetroChina, said Ottawa should have done more to help along a US$4 billion pipeline project linking Canada's booming oil sands to a Pacific port.

Delays in starting the project reflected an unwillingness to allow Chinese firms into the Canadian markets, he said.

"The environment is not comfortable. We tried to come here and we can't," Song told the daily Globe and Mail during an investment conference in Calgary.

"We sincerely wanted to do something and open up a new market for Canadian crude, but Canada doesn't want to open up its own markets to us," he said.

PetroChina had agreed in principle with Enbridge Inc, a Calgary-based pipeline company behind the so-called Gateway project, to buy half of some 400,000 barrels of crude expected to flow each day through the pipeline.

But the project has been delayed because of lack of support by Canadian firms and native land claims along the proposed route. Enbridge pushed the completion date from 2009 to beyond 2012.

Song singled out Ottawa for not trying to resolve these issues, saying, "In my country, for a project this big, the government has to support it."

Shippers were also not willing to open their domestic market for Chinese participation or commit enough oil supply to make it viable, Song said.

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