Canada will seek to export its controversial tars sands crude to Asia, Prime Minister Stephen Harper indicated Thursday to US President Barack Obama.
Obama announced Thursday that the Transcanada company’s Keystone XL pipeline would not be given the greenlight but did not rule out that the company could not apply again in the future. Instead Obama squarely placed the blame for his decision on the Congressional republicans for forcing an “arbitrary timeline” for the decision when an alternative pipeline route was still in the process of being agreed.
Harper “reiterated to the President that Canada will continue to work to diversify its energy exports,” according to a readout of the telephone conversation sent to New Orator by his press secretary Andrew MacDougall later on thursday afternoon.
Asked whether this would mean Canada would seek to export its Alberta tar sands crude to Asia, notably China and South Korea who have both invested in the tar sands, MacDougall replied via e-mail: ”Asia is an area of focus in that regard.”
Harper expressed his regret to Obama over the decision, stressing the ”significant contribution” the pipeline would make to jobs and economic growth in both the US and Canada.
Obama’s Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporter during Wednesday’s press briefing the President had opposed the original pipeline route that Nebraska’s Republican gocvernor had also refused to give a permit due to concerns the pipeline could leak and contaminate the Ogallala aquifer.
As an alternative route is still to be decided and agreed, Carney quipped to reporters: ”You don’t grant a permit for a pipeline with a significant portion of it missing.”
In his statement, Obama stressed his Administration remained committed to ”American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on oil.”
Domestic oil and natural gas production has increased under Obama’s presidency, he claimed in his statement, ”while imports of foreign oil are down,” he said.
”In the months ahead, we will continue to look for new ways to partner with the oil and gas industry to increase our energy security,” continued Obama.
Commenting on the 20,000 jobs Trascanada claimed the pipeline would create, Carney suggested that if Congressional Republicans mobilized behind the American Jobs Act, hundreds of thousands of jobs would be created through returning to work teachers as well as construction jobs in excess of the Keystone XL pipeline due to infrastructure spending.