Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
November 2020

Vol. 25, No.46 Week of November 15, 2020

Canada sees Keystone XL pipeline in peril

A plea from north of the border for acknowledgement of benefits of two-way energy trade to continental O&G security, job creation

Gary Park

for Petroleum News

The Canadian and Alberta governments are living in hopes that President-elect Joe Biden, or his senior supporters, will pay close attention to their public statements and emails making a vigorous case for allowing Keystone XL to proceed.

Depending on Biden’s response they will learn quickly whether it really was Biden, or just a loose-lipped Democratic campaign official, who said one of the incoming president’s first acts would be to cancel the U.S. permits issued for the TC Energy pipeline.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Francoise-Philippe Champagne vowed to press Biden to reverse any stance he may have, or is inclined to take to reverse the incoming administration’s opposition to completion of the long-delayed Keystone XL system to carry up to 830,000 barrels per day of Alberta oil sands bitumen to Gulf Coast refineries.

“This is top of the agenda,” Champagne said on Nov. 8. “We’re going to be making our case, saying that Canada is the most reliable energy supplier to the United States … we’ve been working together for decades now. It’s all about energy security in North America.”

Kavi Bal, press secretary to Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage, said U.S. energy security hinges on Alberta as the largest source of oil imports.

“Much of the U.S. economy is fueled by Alberta energy. We look forward to working with president-elect Biden’s transition team and future administration to ensure that this vital economic partnership continues,” he said.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, in a note of congratulations, carefully avoided any reference to Keystone XL in emphasizing how much the U.S. depends on Alberta energy.

“Canada and the United States must work closely together to protect lives and livelihoods through the COVID crisis and to return our economies to growth,” he said, indirectly pointing to the hopes of Alberta and Canada that Biden will be willing to reset bilateral trade relations.

That underscores Canada’s desire to move beyond President Donald Trump’s America First strategy that resulted in the erection of trade barriers.

Alberta Opposition leader and former premier Rachel Notley raised the issue of uncertainty over the fate of Keystone XL, arguing that the best way for Kenney to protect the interest Albertans have in the pipeline is to abandon his refusal to address climate change by reducing the province’s carbon emissions.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the industry’s leading lobby organization, said decades of cooperation on oil and natural gas exports from Canada to the U.S. “has delivered immense benefits to both of our countries. We will work with governments in Canada and the United States to ensure the progress made on important infrastructure projects continues,” the association said, arguing the two countries have developed “some of the most responsible-produced oil and natural gas in the world.”

TC Energy said Keystone XL is “already injecting hundreds of millions of dollars into the North American economy and creating thousands of jobs. Additionally, our equity ownership agreements with Indigenous communities and partnerships with leading labor unions are helping lead North America’s COVID-19 economic recovery.”

“When completed the project will provide critical energy resources to meet consumer demands while adhering to some of the most rigorous regulatory and environmental compliance standards anywhere,” the company said.

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