Gulf Oil Spill Bullish for Canadian Oil Sands

Montreal, Canada

As the Obama administration faces enormous pressure to reverse its recent decision to boost Gulf of Mexico drilling, the United States should look to Canada to secure safely transportable and reliable oil. The disaster unfolding in the Gulf only solidifies Canada's place as a secure source of oil for the United States.

The Canadian oil sands are estimated to harbor the second largest source of untapped crude oil after Saudi Arabia. Provided oil prices remain north of $35 to $40 a barrel, the feasibility of drilling the sands remains not only profitable but equally expedient for the United States – Canada's biggest export market.

The United States continues to import more than 57% of its daily oil requirements and politicians want that number reduced at the expense of rising domestic production and renewable energy sources.

In all likelihood, the massive spill still gushing from British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon oil rig (operated by Transocean) will take weeks to plug. There's no functioning stopgap apparatus on the BP platform in the Gulf; the spill will easily top the 1989 Exxon-Valdez disaster because the current gusher can't be contained by BP; the Exxon-Valdez was a tanker and held a finite amount of crude oil.

Meanwhile, the environmental damage caused by the spill might rank among the worst in American history as beaches, wildlife parks and seafood are drowned by crude from Louisiana to Florida.

Canadian Oil Sands Trust (Toronto: COS.UN) and other players operating in Alberta should benefit from a probable flip-flop of Obama's Gulf of Mexico drilling initiative. These companies remain highly profitable, continue to boost dividends and are extremely well suited to benefit from the events now unfolding in the Gulf. An official cancellation of drilling legislation passed last month would serve as a catalyst for future gains in Canada's oil sands.

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