Canadian officials are adamant in saying that building the Keystone XL pipeline will not in itself increase development in the bitumen-saturated sands of northern Alberta.
But as The New York Times reports, that belies the implications of documents obtained via the Canadian Access to Information Act by the Pembina Institute, a Calgary think tank on sustainable energy and the environment.
“The documents certainly suggest that Natural Resources saw Keystone as essential to increasing oil sands production until the State Department concluded otherwise,” said Clare Demerse, Pembina’s director of federal policy, told The New York Times.
This appears to be a flip-flop of sorts that has occurred over the past few months, since President Barack Obama started linking climate change concerns to the pipeline and further oil sands development.
Before that speech, Canada had been talking in terms of pipeline expansion as a route to increased crude oil production from the bitumen-saturated sands, from which 800,000 barrels would flow daily along the Keystone XL pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico. Lately, however, Canadian rhetoric has been omitting any reference to upping oil sands development, the Times said.
“The apparent change in Canada’s position underscores how approval of the pipeline from the Obama administration is a major priority for the Conservative government, a strong champion of the oil sands, which have brought billions of dollars into the economy,” reported the Times in an August 25 story.
Read Canadian Documents Suggest Shift on Pipeline in The New York Times.