photo by thedarkerside.to (source: Flickr Creative Commons)

According to Greenpeace, petrol stations in the European Union sell fuel derived from the oil sands of Northeastern Alberta, Canada. A Greenpeace report entitled ‘Tar Sands in Your Tank: Exposing Europe’s role in Canada’s dirty oil trade’ claims that petroleum products from the tar sands are regularly entering EU markets.

Canada’s tar sands oil extraction project is considered by many to be one of the worst ‘ecocides‘ perpetrated against the environment. BP, in an effort to draw attention away from the Deepwater Horizon oil leak disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, has been talking up oil sand extraction as a safer alternative to deep-sea drilling.

From an article in the Guardian:

BP, which is investing heavily in tar sand production and upgrading refineries near the Great Lakes specifically to refine this crude, had no comment to make on any existing exports.

Presenting the choice between unpredictable and sudden disasters like the Gulf spill and a drawn out, measured ecocide like the tar sands seems to be a cynical and ultimately dishonest proposal by the oil industry. It may be their only choice, but it isn’t ours – even if we have left things a little late.

Additional resources:

Vancouver Observer – BP spews and BC sucks: welcome to Oil 2.0

Financial Times – Where oil sands products ends up: In Europe