Canada opposition party rejects Keystone XL pipeline to US

08 November 2013 19:06  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--Canada’s main opposition party on Friday reiterated its rejection of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to ship oil-sands-based crude from Alberta province to refineries on the US Gulf coast.

The socialist New Democratic Party (NDP) fears that project will shift manufacturing jobs that could be created in Canada to the US.

Peter Julian, the NDP’s energy critic, told media that Keystone XL would intensify the trend of exporting unprocessed raw bitumen and as such would result in the "export" of an estimated 40,000 Canadian jobs to the US.

Instead, the NDP supports planned west-to-east pipeline projects that would see crude from Alberta being processed at refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick provinces.

Canada’s government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper is firmly behind Keystone XL. Harper’s Conservatives have a majority of seats in parliament, and the third-largest party, the Liberals, also supports the project.

In past months, Harper’s government has stepped up lobbying in the US to persuade President Barack Obama to grant final approval to the long-delayed project.

However, it still remains unclear whether or when the US administration will grant approval. US environmentalists are opposed because they fear the carbon dioxide emissions impact from Alberta’s expanding oil sands sector.

Canadian labour union and chemical industry officials have often called for Canada to upgrade more of its vast energy resources within the country, rather than just exporting them. The upgrading of oil sands, for example, generates olefins-rich off gases which can be used as feedstock for petrochemicals production.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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