Natural Resources minister Joe Oliver continues to push Northern Gateway

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 Conservative Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver is continuing to promote the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.  In a speech to the Canadian Club in Toronto, Oliver promoted both the Keystone XL pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to Texas and the Northern Gateway pipeline through Kitimat.

The Globe and Mail reports in New pipelines crucial to expand energy exports: Minister

Canada needs projects like Enbridge Inc. Northern Gateway pipeline to provide crucial access to growing markets for the country’s energy exports, says Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver.

In remarks prepared for a speech Friday in Toronto, the Minister said the federal government would respect the regulatory review now being conducted on the Gateway project. But he made it clear Ottawa supports the construction of oil pipelines to the west coast, despite opposition from environmental groups and First Nations…..

Projects such as the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline would connect Alberta’s oil sand to the port at Kitimat on the coast of British Columbia, where tankers could transport oil to Asian customers.”

While he said the government respects the regulatory process, he added: “It is a key strategic objective to diversify our customer base” beyond the U.S., which now accounts for 97 per cent of Canada’s oil exports.

The Associated Press also covered Oliver’s speech, as published in the Washington Post:

Canada’s natural resource minister says the country needs Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to the Pacific coast to be built so that it can diversify its energy exports to China.

Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver noted in a speech Friday that the U.S. is basically Canada’s only energy customer. Oliver says it is a key strategic objective to diversify the customer base.

But Aboriginal and environmental opposition to the Pacific pipeline is fierce. The opponents fear it will leak. The local member of Parliament, Nathan Cullen, has said accidents are inevitable in the rough waters around Kitimat, British Columbia, where the pipeline will end. And no one has forgotten the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989, some 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) north of Kitimat….

Sinopec, a Chinese state-controlled oil company, has a stake in a $5.5 billion plan drawn up by the Alberta-based Enbridge to build the Northern Gateway Pipeline from Alberta to the Pacific coast province of British Columbia.

Natural Resources Canada news release: Minister Oliver Touts Canada’s Energy Resources and Economic Strengths