Canada minister doesn't expect U.S. to veto Keystone pipeline

Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:29pm EST
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By Randall Palmer and David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said on Thursday he does not expect the United States to reject TransCanada Corp's proposed Keystone XL pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to Texas.

U.S. officials say they expect the government to make a final decision on the northern leg of the $5.3 billion pipeline by the middle of the year.

Green groups strongly oppose Keystone XL, which they say will boost global warming, and want President Barack Obama to block the project.

"I remain cautiously optimistic," Oliver told reporters.

Canada's Conservative government, which wants Washington to approve Keystone XL, also backs industry proposals for pipelines running from the oil sands to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

Asked about the effects of a U.S. veto, he replied: "That rejection, which I do not anticipate, would give even more impetus for us to move west, to move east ... but we're not anticipating that result."

Canada, the single-largest supplier of energy to the United States, sends 100 percent of its natural gas and 98 percent of its crude to its giant southern neighbor.

Last year, Obama threw his support behind the southern section of the line, which is now being built. Washington still has to rule on a new route for the northern pipeline, which is expected to transport 830,000 barrels per day of oil.   Continued...

Joe Oliver, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, talks to media after speaking at the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association's 20th Anniversary Conference in Toronto, November 19, 2012. REUTERS/Brett Gundlock