Alberta seeks Eastern oil route as Keystone drags

Tue Feb 5, 2013 7:06pm EST
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* Alberta, New Brunswick premiers cooperate on pipeline

* New Brunswick offers huge refinery, deep-water port

* Redford won't discuss ways to smooth way for Keystone

By Jeffrey Jones

CALGARY, Alberta, Feb 5 (Reuters) - The premiers of oil-rich Alberta and New Brunswick agreed on Tuesday to cooperate on promoting a cross-Canada pipeline to move heavy oil to the Atlantic seaboard as delays in projects to export the fuel generate deep price discounts.

Alberta's Alison Redford and David Alward of New Brunswick met with energy executives this week to discuss concepts for shipping the oil sands-derived crude as far as the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada's largest, and to international markets through that city's deep-water port.

The talks come as Washington decides whether to approve TransCanada Corp's long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline to the U.S. Gulf Coast and as Canadian regulators consider Enbridge Inc's contentious North Gateway pipeline to the Pacific Coast. Both are well behind their initial schedules.

Redford has devoted time and effort trying to convince Canadians across the country that oil sands development is beneficial for the national economy, and now envisions a big opportunity for moving the supply to a market seen as unworkable even two years ago.

"The time we've spent together working with industry leaders from companies that are producing in the oil sands to pipeline companies that are interested in these initiatives, it's all playing into what we know is important for Alberta, which is getting access to world markets to ensure that we get the best price that we can for our product," Redford told reporters.   Continued...