The latest flashpoint is in Maine, where activists held a news conference on Wednesday to denounce an allegedly secret plan by Portland Pipe Line Corp. to open a new route to carry western crude by way of Ontario and Quebec through northern New England to the Atlantic coast.
That prospect highlights the mismatch between abundant, low-cost western crude and the reliance of eastern refineries on premium-priced offshore imports. As the oil industry looks to spread eastward, governments in Quebec and New England will be thrust into the centre of oil politics and environmental concerns.
Portland Pipe Line - which is owned by Imperial Oil Ltd., Royal Dutch Shell and Suncor Energy Corp. - currently carries imported crude from Portland, Me., to Canada for use in refineries in Montreal and Nanticoke, Ont.
Portland Pipe's Canadian market has already been hit by Shell's closing of its Montreal refinery. , and Imperial's newly-won access to western crude ...