By Jonathan Spicer
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Canada is “disappointed” that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to the United States has not yet received approval from the White House, the country’s finance minister, Joe Oliver, said on Tuesday.
“We are of course anxious for this project to proceed and we are very disappointed that it hasn’t yet achieved the (U.S.) presidential approval,” Oliver told reporters before attending an energy conference hosted by U.S. bank Goldman Sachs.
TransCanada Corp’s $5.4 billion pipeline would link Alberta’s vast oil sands fields with refineries in Texas. A U.S. decision on the politically charged project is not expected until after midterm elections in November.
Supporters say it would bolster North American energy security and provide thousands of jobs. Critics, including some in U.S. President Barack Obama’s Democratic base, say it would increase emissions linked to global warming.
Oliver, a former energy minister who aggressively lobbied in the United States for Keystone XL, said Canada would work with the United States to reduce harmful emissions. But the Conservative government would not adopt regulations for the oil and gas industry that would harm the Canadian economy, he said.
“We are consulting extensively with the industry, but we’re not going to impose rules that would create a competitive disadvantage for Canada on jobs and growth,” he said.
By linking to refiners in the Gulf Coast, the 1,200-mile (1,900-km) pipeline would provide a boost to the oil sands, where heavy oil is abundant but requires the burning of vast amounts of fossil fuels to extract.
Oliver would not comment on another route for the oil: Enbridge Inc’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to the British Columbia coast. His government has less than a week to decide whether to approve that project.
(Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Dan Grebler and Steve Orlofsky)