Canada swipes at Venezuela in push for U.S. approval of Keystone
* Minister Oliver says Canada won't treat U.S. as Venezuela has
* Says he was not "taking a shot"
* Scheduled to travel to Washington, New York next week
By Jeffrey Jones
CALGARY, Alberta, April 18 (Reuters) - Canada is playing up its record as a reliable oil supplier to the United States compared to politically volatile Venezuela, as it seeks to win favor in Washington for the contentious Keystone XL pipeline to Texas refineries.
Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said on Thursday that the United States, already Canada's largest oil market by far, can expect far better service than it has received from the South American OPEC member that currently feeds a large chunk of oil demand in the Gulf Coast region.
"Venezuela may be a major supplier of heavy crude to the U.S., but it has also threatened to cut supplies five times in as many years," Oliver said in a speech to business people and academics in Calgary.
"That's not a reliable partner. That's not a stable source of oil. And that's not how Canada will ever treat the United States."
Despite frequent threats, Venezuela has not shut off exports to the United States, but Oliver's remarks underline how high the stakes have become for Canada as a U.S. decision on Keystone XL looms. Continued...