Alberta’s premier sees oil tariffs gaining traction in North America

By Kevin Orland on 4/9/2020

CALGARY (Bloomberg) - Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the idea of the U.S. and Canada placing tariffs on OPEC crude imports is gaining traction as a way to protect North American energy producers from the market’s collapse.

Kenney said he spoke with U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette for 40 minutes on Monday, and the Canadian, American and Mexican energy ministers are speaking on Thursday about a potential coordinated approach to saving the North American energy industry.

“If OPEC+ does not stop the madness, we will be redoubling our push for coordinated import tariffs on OPEC and foreign oil into North America,” Kenney said in response to reporters’ questions Thursday. “That’s something our federal governments could do, and I’m getting a very receptive response on that from both Washington and Ottawa.”

Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed in principle to unprecedented production cuts at a OPEC+ meeting Thursday. It’s still unclear what they will ask from countries like the U.S. and Canada at a G-20 meeting on Friday. The U.S. has insisted that it will just let market forces reduce its record production as shale explorers shut in wells. Alberta, home to the world’s third-largest crude reserves, already has an output curtailment program in place.

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