For many coastal nations, the marine transportation of crude oil by sea is common and often large-scale practice. The marine transport of Canadian oil by tanker on the West Coast of Canada is currently modest by comparison. Pipeline projects have been proposed to export greater volumes of Canadian oil, raising questions about Canada’s ability to ship crude safely. The report Assessing Marine Transport for Canadian Oil Sands on Canada’s West Coast was released on June 27, 2013.  The IHS CERA Oil Sands Dialogue report was developed in conjunction with IHS Maritime and Wave Point Consulting. The study reviewed oil tanker activity and regulations to inform better the policy discussions surrounding potential marine transport of Canadian oil movements on Canada’s West coast. The study draws on the IHS Maritime extensive database of ship movements which includes global data on tanker movements, incidents, and oil spills and analytical insights provided by Wave Point Consulting team.

Marine Transport of Canadian Oil Research Findings

Canada has extensive experience in the marine transport of Canadian oil by tanker, with policies and regulations similar to other major shipping nations, says a new IHS study that reviews oil tanker activity and regulations in light of proposed new pipeline projects to accommodate increased oil production led by the growth in oil sands. Oil accounts for one-third of all Canadian cargo, and it is the largest international commodity handled by the shipping industry. Canada is party to the same international agreements and rules—such as those set out by the International Maritime Organization— like many other major shipping nations, including the requirement for tug escort and pilotage. Further, if an oil spill were to occur, compensation in Canada exceeds what is available internationally. Improvements in Canada’s level of prevention and response capabilities on the West Coast in response to increased tanker movements would enhance the safety of the shipping industry as a whole.

Consequently, if Canadian West Coast marine transportation tanker movements increase, it is likely that some measures that were taken to prepare for an oil spill would need to be adjusted from current practice to reflect the growing need. Ultimately this could lead to improved safety for all shipping in the region. The full study is avail able at the IHS CERA Oil Sands Dialogue’s Web site, . See Business in Vancouveweb link to BIV on Global BC for a video summary.