Harper says oil to Asia “important priority,” Oliver wants to expedite Gateway Joint Review process

Energy Politics

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has told reporters at the APEC summit in Hawaii that pushing Canadian energy products to Asia are an “important priority” for his government given the postponement of the Keystone XL pipeline project.

Reuters reports from Honolulu:

“This does underscore the necessity of Canada making sure
that we are able to access Asia markets for our energy
products,” Harper told reporters on the sidelines of the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

“That will be an important priority of our government going
forward and I indicated that yesterday to the president of

A couple of hours earlier, the industry newsletter Platts quoted Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver as saying he wanted the Northern Gateway pipeline approval process expedited and limited to just one year.

Platts quoting a CBC interview (the quote, at this point is not on the CBC website story about Oliver) says:

Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said November 13 he wants a regulatory decision by early 2013, a year ahead of the current schedule, on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project to expedite the shipment of Alberta oil sands crude to Asia….

“The Chinese are ready to buy,” he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “The issue is building the infrastructure to get our resources to China.”

To that end, Oliver said he now expects Northern Gateway’s hearings to be completed within a year of starting in January 2012.

While insisting that he will not interfere in the Northern Gateway process, Oliver said it is a “fundamental strategic objective” of the Canadian government to diversify its customer base for oil beyond the United States.

Oliver apparently made his statement before Stephen Harper was scheduled to meet with US President Barack Obama.

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