In a recent tour of Capitol Hill and New York City, Alberta Premier Alison Redford stated Tuesday she hopes the Keystone Pipeline will play part of a larger integrated North American energy strategy.
This strategy, she said would bring together Canada, the United States, and Mexico to help develop policy that will drive economic growth, and fuel the development of emerging renewable technologies.
Redford said she thinks it is naive to imagine a future economic and energy strategy that for the short term does not involve the consumption of oil. She added her province will not be deterred by the pipeline's delay, and will agressively pursue new markets in Asia.
At the end of the day, there is a part of this that is about economic growth, Redford said. [The delay of the Keystone pipeline] is not a victory [for environmentalists], we are not going to stop economic growth because of this.
She said Alberta is pushing very hard for the contruction of two other pipelines that, when built, will stretch close to the border to British Colombia, opening Canadian oil to Pacific markets. But she quickly added her province's position is not taking an either or stance between the proposed pipeline and the delayed Keystone.
While President Obarak Obama's descision last week to delay the pipeline surprised her, what has disappointed her the most has been how the planned Keystone pipeline has devolved into a ongoing public relations battle instead of fostering policy discussions that would start consolidating energy strategies throughout the continent.
Redford was also quick to point Alberta will not push Washington to a speedy descion regarding the pipeline.
I've been very clear since the begining, this is an internal regulatory process that is completely within the purview of the United States, and we respect that process and it's not for us to interfere with that, or to express frustrations with it.
But for everyday the Keystone Pipeline is delayed, TransCanada loses money. It has already invested close to $2 billion dollars on the project and the International Business Times reported the company loses $1 million a day every day the project is delayed. By 2013, this would add more than half a billion dollars to the company's project's price tag.
It is still unsure how much longer the company can hold on to the stalled project, or if it has lost any contracts as a result of the delay.
Requests for an interview with TransCanada were not answered by press time.
Trade relations between the U.S. and Canada, however, would not suffer even if the pipeline failed to get approval, according to Canada's Minister of Resources Joe Oliver, who was speaking during a conference call about his recent trade visit to Asia.
Oliver noted that Canada is on the cusp of expanding its reach into foreign markets, and the TransCanada pipeline would not affect how the county pursues its trading interests.
We are not trying to move away from the United States, Oliver he said, who added both countries have very fond trading relationships. But with 170 billion barrels of oil reserves, Canada has too much oil to export solely to the United States.
Oliver, who just came back from a trip to Japan and China, said he signed several letters of intent with their respective governments promising to expand and deepen trade relations. Canada's estimated 170 billion-barrels oil reserves was of particular interest.
Even if the Keystone pipeline gets approved and even if it doesn't, we intend to maximize our relationship with China, Oliver said.
Virtually all of our exports go to the U.S., we need to diversify our markets and increase our custermer base, he added.