Canada is looking at alternatives for exporting its oil since US President Barack Obama announced he was blocking a pipeline from Alberta to Texas.
A pipeline executive said on Thursday that the company was weighing whether to build a segment of the line — from Oklahoma to Texas — that wouldn't require US State Department approval. And government officials said Canada would push harder for a pipeline to the Pacific Coast, where oil could be shipped to China.
At the same time, Canadian officials said, they are hopeful the 2,740-kilometre Keystone XL pipeline will be built.
Alberta Premier Alison Redford, the leader of the Canadian province that has the world's third-largest reserves of oil, said that while Canada is disappointed at Obama's decision, the government believes Obama has made it clear the US would consider a new Keystone XL pipeline application with a new routing. Obama called Prime Minister Stephen Harper to explain that the decision on Wednesday was not on the merits of the pipeline but rather on the "arbitrary nature" of a February 21 deadline set by Republican legislators as part of a tax measure he signed, Harper's office said.
"The fact that the president has said that the decision was not based on the merits we take as a signal that there is an opportunity to make a decision that is in the national interest that allows the project to go ahead," Redford said.
Building in segments
Calgary-based TransCanada, which proposed the pipeline, said on Thursday it was considering building the pipeline in segments, with the first connecting an existing pipeline in Oklahoma to refineries in Texas.
The Obama administration had suggested development of an Oklahoma-to-Texas line to alleviate an oil glut at a Cushing, Oklahoma, storage hub.
"If our shippers are interested in building that portion of the pipeline [first], we would look at that," said Russ Girling, TransCanada president and CEO.
Obama's rejection of Keystone XL "clearly gives flexibility to do that," Girling said. He emphasised that the company had made no decisions.