Alberta, in protest over Ukraine, won't attend Russia oil conference

CALGARY, Alberta Wed May 14, 2014 1:13pm EDT

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CALGARY, Alberta May 14 (Reuters) - Alberta, the Canadian province with the world's third-largest crude reserve in its oil sands, said Wednesday it will not participate in a global oil conference in Moscow next month as a protest against Russia's actions in Ukraine.

The province's government said it will not staff a booth, as had earlier been planned, in the Canadian pavilion at the World Petroleum Congress scheduled for June 15 through 19. It will also refrain from supporting any Alberta-based companies attending the event.

"Continuing actions (by Russia) to undermine stability in Ukraine make Alberta's participation in Moscow untenable," Dave Hancock, the province's premier, said in a statement. "We continue to support the federal government's persistent calls to de-escalate the crisis and oppose military aggression and illegal occupation."

Canada has imposed sanctions on a number of Russian individuals and banks to protest the country's annexation of Crimea and role in the Ukrainian crisis. But it has not prevented companies or individuals from doing business with their Russian counterparts.

Held every four years, the World Petroleum Congress is one of the largest and most prestigious oil industry events. A number of Alberta-based organizations and companies have signed up for exhibition space at the congress, including Canada's largest oil and gas company, Suncor Energy Inc, according to the WPC website.

Suncor could not be immediately reached for comment on whether it would reconsider attending the event because of Alberta's withdrawal. (Reporting by Scott Haggett; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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