Premier Jason Kenney says Alberta is the best choice to supply energy to the United States and wants to revive the Keystone XL pipeline.
$1.3 billion has already been sunk into the canceled Keystone XL pipeline. However, the premier said if they had political certainty from Washington that the pipeline could be completed and if the pipeline’s owner, TC Energy, won’t fund it, the province could.
“Yes we would be prepared in principle to de-risk the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Kenney.
“Obviously I would prefer that it be privately financed,” Kenney said Friday, “but if political uncertainty created by the Biden veto makes that impossible we would be creative.”
REPLACING RUSSIAN OIL
The push comes as the United States is looking to replace its imports of Russian oil after the invasion of Ukraine. During an international energy conference in Houston this week, Kenney and energy minister Sonya Savage touted Canada as the best choice for the US’s oil supply, instead of turning to countries with what they call “dictator oil”.
“It’s terribly frustrating to see the US government now scrambling to increase supply from some of the world’s worst regimes like Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela and yet we sit next door on top of the third largest reserves,” said Savage.
In a statement, Tim McMillan, President and CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said “the Keystone XL pipeline was an economically viable project that would have helped the US meet its need for oil without having to rely on dictatorships like Russia and Venezuela while strengthening North American energy security and cooperation with Canada.”
Furthermore, “if there is political will on both sides of the border to deepen the mutually beneficial energy trade relationship between Canada and the US that a project like Keystone XL would be economically attractive for investors.”
Kenney said he has been speaking to members of congress and says they understand that it is a national security imperative to get Keystone XL built.
“I believe that we could potentially be partners with the US government in de-risking the project much in the same way the federal government did with the Trans Mountain expansion,” said Kenney.
Lori Williams, a political science professor at Mount Royal University, says the challenge with the Keystone XL pipeline is that it cuts into another country and through several states, as opposed to the Trans Mountain which is entirely on Canadian soil.
Williams says there have already been a series of delays south of the border with the Keystone project ranging from court challenges to state governors resisting it.
Mount Royal University political science professor Lori Williams
“To try to get a new pipeline in that environment is a very big risk and to assume that if we do things on our side of the border then there would have to be a quid pro quo simply hasn’t worked in the past,” she said.
“I think there are a lot of Albertans right now who are wondering do we want to send another multi-million dollar investment into something that gets shut down south of the border.”
Both the Alberta government and TC Energy have filed multi-billion dollar lawsuits against the US government for canceling the project, which was supposed to ship oil from Hardisty, Alberta to US refineries.
A TC Energy representative said in a statement, “The Keystone XL pipeline project was terminated in June 2021 and will not proceed,” adding that “the existing system continues to be utilized and has delivered over 3.3 billion barrels of crude oil to market since 2010 .