Canada Pipeline Is Critical to U.S. Energy Security, Oil Industry Says

By Penny Starr | June 10, 2011 | 10:49am EDT

An oil well in a farm field in Tioga, N.D. (AP Photo/James MacPherson, file)

( – Wanted: More domestic energy production and crude oil from Canada.

That’s the gist of a new ad campaign sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, a group that represents more than 470 oil and natural gas companies.

Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, says if the U.S. develops its own oil and natural gas resources and imports more oil from Canada, the country could meet 92 percent of its liquid fuels needs by 2030, compared with 62 percent today.

“Let me repeat that once again for emphasis,” Gerard told reporters during a conference call on Wednesday. “The analysis we’re releasing today will be part of our rollout, and the (ad) campaign shows that the U.S. could meet 92 percent of our liquid fuel demand by 2030.”

To boost domestic oil production, the U.S. must do more drilling in areas that are now off-limits, including large parts of the Gulf of Mexico, Gerard said.

And Gerard said that to boost imports from Canada, the third phase of the Keystone XL Pipeline Expansion project must be put on a fast track.

The Keystone XL Pipeline would consist of approximately 1,711 miles of new, 36-inch-diameter pipeline, covering 327 miles in Canada and 1,384 miles in the U.S. If it’s completed, it would bring crude oil from Hardisty, Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast.

Because this proposed project will cross into the United States from Canada, State Department approval is required for the project to proceed. The State Department has until the end of the year to make a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to the State Department, raising a number of concerns regarding the potential environmental impact of the proposed project.

Those concerns include potential oil spills, higher greenhouse emission levels at Gulf Coast refineries. The EPA also raised “environmental justice concerns” about low-income and minority communities that could be affected by proximity to the pipeline.

API, however, says the pipeline extension will not only boost energy security but also will create thousands of American jobs.

"U.S. jobs supported by Canadian oil sands development could grow from 21,000 jobs today to 465,000 jobs by 2035," API Executive Vice President Marty Durbin said in May in support of the pipeline expansion. "The Keystone XL pipeline has undergone extensive analysis and review over the last two years, and it is time to focus efforts on creating jobs and strengthening our relationship with America’s number-one source of imported oil -- Canada."

Gerard said energy security and creating jobs are critical to improving the U.S. economy.

“With the unemployment rate at 9.1 percent and our government running annual deficits well above $1 trillion, effective action on the economy has rarely been needed more,” Gerard said. “Our industry can help by doing what we do best – develop oil, natural gas and other forms of energy.”

Gerard said the API’s ad campaign “will help policymakers and the public understand that the oil and natural gas industry is a major constructive force in rebuilding our economy and that it stands ready to do far more.”

API will run ads for the campaign “inside the Beltway” in the Washington area and in nine states – Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

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