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Oil-Sands Crude Sails From B.C., Sidestepping Federal Ban

  • BitCrude, Melius take advantage of tanker workaround
  • Cargo ship with bitumen-filled container has left for China
A cargo ship sits moored near the port of Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

A cargo ship sits moored near the port of Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

Photographer: Ben Nelms/Bloomberg
Updated on

A Canadian law barring oil tankers from the northern coast of British Columbia hasn’t stopped crude from setting sail there.

Two Calgary-based companies, Melius Energy and BitCrude, are exploiting a loophole in the law passed this summer -- by shipping semi-solid bitumen mined from oil sands on a cargo ship rather than in liquid form on an oil tanker. About 130 barrels of bitumen left Prince Rupert, B.C., on Saturday bound for a refinery in China, according to Cal Broder, founder of both companies and chairman of BFH Corp. He declined to name the cargo’s buyer.