Canada imports back its own refined oil products it exports to the United States as well as using imported oil rather than its own, industry officials said.
The curious movement of oil came into the spotlight with two pipeline projects garnering debate among environmentalists and politics in Canada and the United States, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
One would run west from Alberta's oil sands to Pacific ports in British Columbia for export to Asian markets and the second would ship crude oil to U.S. refineries on the Gulf coast.
However, the CBC found Canada imports half of the oil it uses from Africa, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela while it exports two-thirds of its own oil to the United States.
Further, Canadian crude oil is sent to the United States for refining and then imported back for use in Ontario, the report said.
To the east, numerous oil rigs operate off Newfoundland, but all of the output is exported and the Atlantic provinces rely on imports, the report said.
Gordon Laxer, a co-director of the Parkland Institute, a research group at the University of Alberta, told the CBC he finds the system baffling.
"No one is talking about supplying Canadians with their own oil," he said. "It doesn't make sense to me."