MONTREAL – A coalition of business and union groups have come together in support of Enbridge’s Line 9 reversal project, which they say will maintain almost 2,000 jobs in the province’s petrochemical industry.
The coalition said Wednesday the Line 9 reversal project will allow Quebec to become less dependent on oil from outside North America.
Enbridge (TSX:ENB) is planning to reverse a stretch of its Line 9 pipeline that currently runs from Montreal to Westover, Ont., and increase the line’s capacity from 240,000 barrels per day to 300,000 barrels.
Restoring the pipeline’s original flow would allow refineries in Montreal and the Quebec City area to have access to Western Canadian crude.
“Quebec must take advantage of this promising project as well as help save our two remaining refineries by creating and maintaining 2,000 high-paying, direct and indirect jobs,” said Francoise Bertrand, president and CEO of the provincial federation of Chambers of Commerce.
Bertrand noted that Quebec’s petrochemical industry has been hard hit in recent years and its two remaining refineries in Montreal and Levis, Que., would benefit.
“It will also alleviate our trade deficit given the onerous, $15-billion tab we are currently paying for the import of offshore oil from North Africa and the Middle East,” Bertrand said in a news release.
Daniel Cloutier of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada said the project meets environmental standards and it’s one “we can’t afford to live without.”
“It will preserve and create jobs as well as create wealth for decades to come,” Cloutier said.
Enbridge’s Line 9 flowed from west to east when it was built in the 1970s, but was reversed two decades later to respond to market conditions at the time.
Enbridge now needs regulatory approval to restore its original flow direction so that eastern refineries can have access to western crude instead of refining imported crude.
Environmental groups have mounted a campaign against the Line 9 reversal project, saying it’s just one step towards creating an eastern route for “dirty” oilsands crude exports.
Other groups in the Quebec coalition include the Quebec Employers Council, Association industrielle de l’est de Montreal and the Montreal Metropolitan Board of Trade.