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After Saudi Oil Drone Attack, Canada Touts Its Remoteness and Security

By Catherine Ngai and Kevin Orland

(Bloomberg) Canada is counting on its geographical isolation as a key to protecting itself from attacks like the one this past weekend in Saudi Arabia that knocked about 5% of global supply offline.As oil producers, traders and analysts grapple over the implications of what energy security looks like after Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for the drone assault over the weekend, Canada’s top oil producing province is concerned, but less so, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney told Bloomberg in an interview.“Security is always a concern for us,” Kenney said at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York. “Our resources produced are primarily in north Alberta – this is a very remote region. We’re not a drone’s flight away from Yemeni militia or the Iranian revolutionary guard.”

Kenney said that while it’s possible for there to be challenges, there hasn’t been a major incident of that nature and companies have already invested more in tightening security since 9/11.

The oil producing region of Fort McMurray, some 460 miles (740 kilometers) northeast of Calgary, has had troubles of its own that have hit its energy market. In 2016, environmental activists effectively shut five pipelines with capacity to carry more than 2 million barrels a day of Canadian crude into the U.S., after trespassers cut chains and attempted to turn off valves, causing Canadian prices to rally to multimonth highs.

Earlier that year, wildfires ravaged Fort McMurray, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee while disrupting Western Canada’s oil-sands operations that became the costliest catastrophe in the country’s history.

“I anticipate from time to time there will be environmental protests, particularly around pipeline construction,” Kenney said. “But the kind of military strike we saw this weekend is obviously unthinkable in Canada. And really, I hope American policymakers and investors are reminded of that.”

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