US may not decide on Keystone XL this year:Canada minister

12 September 2013 19:31  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--The US may not make a final decision on whether to approve the long-delayed 830,000 bbl/day Keystone XL oil pipeline project this year, Canada’s federal energy minister said on Thursday.

Up till now, the US administration had been expected to come to a final decision on the controversial project by the end of 2013.

If realised, Keystone XL would enable oil pipeline shipments from the oil sands in Canada's Alberta province, as well as from North Dakota’s Bakken shale region, to reach refineries on the US Gulf Coast.

“[The US decision] may not be this year,” energy minister Joe Oliver said in a televised media briefing.

“First, the US State Department has to complete their final environmental assessment, and then there is an opportunity for the public to opine on it, and then there are eight other [US] agencies to give their view, and if there is a dissent, then that goes up from the secretary of state to the president,” Oliver said.

Oliver added that Keystone XL was an important project for both countries’ economies and that it had support from many US political and business leaders.

He also said that Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper brought up Keystone again with US President Barack Obama when the two leaders met at a recent G20 summit in Russia.

“The prime minister raises Keystone every time he meets the president,” Oliver said.

Earlier this week, Canada’s state media group CBC reported that Harper had sent a letter to Obama proposing “joint action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas sector” in order to win US approval for Keystone XL.

Obama has said that the Keystone XL project could only be approved if it does not significantly exacerbate carbon pollution.

In 2011, Canada pulled out of the Kyoto climate change pact, partly because high emissions from its energy sector made it hard for the country to meet its Kyoto emissions reduction targets.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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