Churchill could benefit Canada and Europe

“The triumphs of peace have been in some proximity to war.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson”.

The current Russian-Ukraine war may provide new opportunities for Canada’s oil and gas industries to consider.

Peter McKay in a recent column in the National Post proposed that the Port of Churchill could become a prominent asset to Canada in providing oil and natural gas to Europe. The Russian invasion of the Ukraine has demonstrated how much Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and many other nations rely on Russian gas and oil to drive electrical turbines, heat homes, and supply energy to manufacturers.

The current spike in gasoline prices in North America is a direct consequence of Europe cutting off supplies of gas and oil from Russia and causing a demand for those products from other producing nations. Canada has surplus resources of those energy products but can’t get them to tide water ports. Canada can help get Europe off Russian oil and gas by creating a new tidewater port to ship those products.

Historically, the energy industry has been blocked for political reasons, with provinces and groups protesting the construction of pipelines to both the east coast and west coast as well as south into the United States.

McKay looked at an alternative.

Currently the Port of Churchill operates for a five-month period from mid-July to mid-November. With warming temperatures, it is possible that the shipping season can be extended, and Liquified Natural Gas could be shipped from the port for much longer periods. With Canada building a new fleet of ice breakers, the shipping season can be extended and the possibility of moving ships across northern Canada to the Bering Sea can be explored.

Today, the port is primarily used for outgoing shipments of grain. It is a fast bridge to Europe. It has saved Canadian prairie grain farmers transportation costs by reducing rail costs and avoiding Saint Lawrence Seaway charges.

The Port is undergoing a two-year rehabilitation process. The 627-mile rail line is being rebuilt as are the terminal buildings. To be ready to deliver LNG and crude oil, additional rail lines will be required. A full LNG port will have to be constructed and pipelines will have to run from existing pipelines in Manitoba to the Churchill port.

This out of the box solution, could create thousands of jobs in northern Manitoba and the western grain provinces. These would be long term jobs and would raise the quality of life. The war in Ukraine has created new opportunities.

Former Publisher
Fort Frances Times

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