The Keystone Pipeline and Its Possible Impact on the Asia-Canada Energy Situation


The Keystone pipeline route

The Keystone Pipeline System, commissioned in 2010, has long been controversial due to concerns about dangerous oil spills, increased carbon emissions and related environmental impacts. In February 2015, Obama vetoed legislation that tried to authorize the construction of the pipeline. “Everyone in Canada fully expects that the project will get rejected,” said Adam Scott, climate and energy program manager with Canada’s Environmental Defense. Justin Trudeau, the newly elected Prime Minister of Canada, spoke in favor of this Canada-to-Texas pipeline. However, it is unlikely that Trudeau will put any resources behind lobbying Obama to approve the Keystone pipeline. He indicated that environmental protection would be more of a priority under his leadership. “I certainly feel that Canada could have taken a different tack towards issues on energy and environment over the past 10 years. That’s certainly what I’m focused on, going forward,” he said.

keystone XL pipeline

On the other hand, Trudeau is expressing support for Chinese investment in the Canadian oilpatch. He stressed the need for Canada to diversify its energy exports outside of the United States. One of the planned major routes to Asian markets is the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. If built, that line would ship 525,000 barrels of oilsands crude per day to the West Coast port of Kitimat, from which it would be sent to Asia via tanker. It is speculated that this will be Trudeau’s plan B if the Keystone pipeline is rejected by the United States.

the route of shipping Alberta oil to Asia through tankers