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April 11, 2022

‘More Oil From Canada,’ Says Guy Who Killed Keystone

Joe Biden doesn’t want pipelines, but his terrible poll numbers mean he still needs the oil.

President Joe Biden believes he may have found a way to ease America’s oil crisis. Not by embarrassing himself and the country begging other countries to sell more oil. Not by draining the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which was once meant only for national emergencies but now appears to be a quick fix for sagging political polling numbers. No, Biden appears ready to work something out with our friends to the north.

Canada holds the world’s fourth-largest reserve, is our largest trading partner, and is quite willing to do more business with America. But logistics for getting the oil from there to here is a little tricky, and maybe even a bit counterproductive. The only two ways to transport extra oil is via existing pipelines, which are running at capacity already, or by rail, which is not nearly as environmentally safe and decidedly more expensive than pipelines.

A quick aside: If this deal goes through, it will certainly keep BNSF Railway busy. BNSF is the largest shipper of crude in the United States and is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, whose controlling shareholder is Warren Buffett.

Like other schemes to ease gas prices and get a grip on inflation, the impact of this endeavor may be muted. Canadian producers will be able to ramp up to an extra 590,000 barrels a day. But not until the end of 2023. They can add an extra 200,000 barrels a day by rail, but this is a fraction of the average four-plus million barrels a day the U.S. already imports from Canada. In either case, additional capacity will incur additional costs, which will add to the price per barrel.

You might think Biden regrets killing the Keystone XL pipeline right about now, but you’d be wrong. Joe Biden is either too much a political animal or too ignorant to realize that he is a victim of his own stupidity. Really, it’s both. One sometimes follows the other.

Keystone XL was set to move 850,000 barrels a day from Canada to Gulf refineries and ports, providing hundreds of thousands of new jobs. It was considered environmentally sound by the Obama administration. Biden killed it his first day in office as a sop to the environmental Left without a moment’s thought as to the repercussions.

This has been the case all along with the Democrats and their precious environmental agenda. Crazed to see an end to fossil fuels, Democrats berated the energy industry to reduce oil output last fall just as gas prices started going out of control. Which was why Democrats berated oil companies for more production this week.

The tone-deaf response from the White House was to beat the price of gas by purchasing an electric vehicle. An EV in January would have set you back about $56,000. That’s the price of an entry-level luxury car. And even if everyone started buying EVs, the current electrical grid would never support it.

A coherent energy policy will not be found with Biden. But pursuing more trade with Canada won’t hurt. Jason Kenney, premier of Alberta, where most of Canada’s oil lies, is eager to revive Keystone. That is unlikely to happen with Biden, and Kenney has criticized the president for it.

Kenney’s spokesman, Justin Brattinga, encapsulated his boss’s thoughts: “Instead of going cap in hand to the Saudis, Iranians, and Venezuelans to replace Russian energy, instead of replacing dictator oil with dictator oil, come to your liberal democratic friends and allies in Canada.”

Well said.

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