Claiming it could no longer abide the Obama administration’s five-year refusal to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline designed to bring 830,000 barrels a day of much-needed Alberta shale oil to U.S. refineries, the Canadian government recently approved plans for a huge new pipeline and port project to ship that oil to Asia instead.
When completed, the $7.9 billion Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, approved by Canada’s federal government on June 17, will consist of an environmentally safe, 730-mile oil pipeline. It will be capable of moving 600,000 barrels a day of Alberta oil to the pacific coast town of Kitimat, British Columbia, where a new state-of-the-art super tanker port facility will be built to ship the oil to thirsty Asian ports.
It was initially hoped that recent discoveries of massive new Canadian oil and gas reserves could benefit both Canada and the United States by building a safe and reliable pipeline to bring the oil to U.S. refineries in Louisiana and Texas. Building the proposed 1,179-mile Keystone pipeline promised, not just a huge new supply of reliable, clean, and affordable oil to U.S. markets, but the creation of up to 20,000 high-paying construction jobs. An additional 22,000 jobs economists predicted would have resulted from the broader economic stimulus the project would have generated.
Rather than purchasing crude from a friendly and allied neighbor, the United States will most likely need to continue its reliance upon hostile sources like Venezuela. Energy analysts had hoped that construction of Keystone could have replaced almost half of the current U.S. daily crude purchases from that volatile, anti-American dictatorship, depriving Venezuela of the resources it relies upon to stay in power and fund its Cuban allies.
Refusal to approve Keystone has forced suppliers to deliver their flammable crude via thousands of trucks and railcars traveling on America’s highways and railroads, rather than in a pipeline.