UPDATE 1-Canada confident U.S. will approve major oil pipeline to Gulf

Wed Nov 7, 2012 12:40pm EST
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* Obama delayed decision on pipeline to 2013

* Canada says Keystone would boost U.S. security

* Canada opposition leader says project not priority

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Canada is confident the United States will approve TransCanada Corp's controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline from Alberta's tar sands to the Gulf Coast, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said on Wednesday.

President Barack Obama, who was re-elected on Tuesday, said in January he would postpone a decision until 2013 on whether to approve the $7.6 billion line, which was initially set to cross ecologically sensitive areas in Nebraska.

In February he welcomed a new TransCanada initiative to build the southern part of the pipeline, at a cost of $2.3 billion. The northern portion, which will cost $5.6 billion, needs State Department approval because it crosses the border.

"We believe that the Keystone XL will be approved by the Americans because it is clearly in the U.S. national interest in terms of national security, jobs (and) economic growth," Oliver told reporters in Ottawa.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not mention Keystone XL or oil in a congratulatory message to Obama. Canada is the largest exporter of energy to the United States.   Continued...