OTTAWA - New research indicates Canada's economic growth requires finding some way to export oil to Asia, instead of just to the US - almost the only market for Canadian energy right now.
"Perhaps the greatest frustration for Canadian producers is the lack of access to the tidal water in order to reach fast growing Asian markets," concludes the Macdonald-Laurier Institute in a report released Tuesday.
Report co-author Stefania Bartucci said that means Alberta's oilsands crude has to get on Asia-bound oil tankers, likely on the West Coast.
"It's clear that in order to diversify (our markets) we will need new pipelines," said Bartucci. "Where they go, that will depend on what regulators see as being feasible."
The proposed Northern Gateway pipeline is still being reviewed and is also the subject of a spat over revenue and other issues between BC and Alberta.
Bartucci said the rest of the country needs to see that dispute resolved and some sort of energy strategy developed.
"The oilsands are big employer directly of a lot of East Coast labour," she said. "But also Ontario's manufacturing sector is pretty dependent on growth in the oilsands."
Have-not provinces like Quebec also depend on equalization payments that are partly fed by oilsands revenue from Alberta, she said.