Canadian PM says Iran threat justifies Keystone XL approval


Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper became the latest stakeholder in the Keystone XL debate to cite Iran’s threats to block the Strait of Hormuz as one justification for the U.S. to approve the controversial oil pipeline.

Harper told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation yesterday he thinks it’s “pretty obvious what the right decision is, not just from an economic and environmental standpoint but also from an energy-security standpoint.”

“When you look at the Iranians threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz, I think that just illustrates how critical it is that supply for the United States be North American,” Harper said. (Click here for the video. Harper’s comments start around 5:00.)

Calgary-based TransCanada Corp.’s pipeline would carry oil sands crude from Alberta through six states to Gulf Coast refineries in Port Arthur and Houston. The Canadian government has long encouraged the United States to approve the pipeline.

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have been increasing since U.S. imposed sanctions on Iran over concerns about nuclear weapons.

As a result, Iran has repeatedly insisted it would block the strait, a pathway for one-fifth of the world’s oil, if America and other nations were to move forward with sanctions on Iranian oil exports aimed at further discouraging the country from pursuing its nuclear program. Some analysts have contended, however, that Iran is bluffing. Harper’s arguments add to those made by some Republicans ever since the Islamic republic issued the threats.

Harper said “we’ll continue to make” the argument that the U.S. should use North American oil instead of relying on supplies from unstable Mideast countries.

“But we’ll respect the fact that the Americans have a right to make their own decisions,” Harper said.

Pipeline opponents such as the Natural Resources Defense Council have rejected the Iran argument as flawed, saying importing more Canadian oil wouldn’t shield the U.S. from the price spikes and supply shocks that occur in a global oil market.

Even then, they cite a U.S. government analysis in saying Keystone XL wouldn’t measurably alter American imports of oil from Canada at least through 2030 anyway. Instead, they contend, Keystone XL would reroute oil from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast, where refiners could export some of it after they process it.

Puneet Kollipara

21 Responses

  1. Nuffsaid500 says:

    Have I worked on and with ‘heavy crude’, Tar, Natural Asphalt, High Paraffin; and been on such locations, in a business, professional and/or personal capacity?

    Roger That

  2. Trail_Tramp says:

    While the deposits in in Alberta, Canada have historical been called “tar sands”, tar is a man made product. The correct term for the naturally occuring material in the sands is bitumen.

  3. Nuffsaid500 says:

    Have I ever been to Alberta? Yes

    Have I ever worked on the project? The answer to this question is likely subject to SEVERAL confidentiality agreements, so the answer is … I neither confirm nor deny.

    But thanks for asking

  4. Nuffsaid500 says:

    The Defense Authorization Act of 2012, contains language to the effect that NATO energy security is a priority, for such projects as the Keystone XL.

    The Alberta ‘Tar-Baby’ project provides NO direct benefit to Texas or the USA.

    The list of the pipeline supporters, reads like an Orwellian Military-Industrial-Complex Roster.

  5. Trail_Tramp says:

    “Tar Sands” is the new catch-phrase of the anti-oil folks, cause it sounds nasty. The term is used within the industry as well, but more often it is referred to as “oil sands” or for the geo-geeks…”bituminous sands”.

  6. ntangle says:

    Justa – Can’t disagree w/ your post, as I haven’t been there since they became commercially viable. But I was in N. Alta a long time ago, re some conventional production. My client repeatedly referred to their “tar sands”.

  7. Will says:

    One must realize first and foremost that the regime who resides in the WH has only one concern, getting this interloper reelected. Nothing is more important than that. Barry couldn’t give a rat’s rear end about the American people and/or the economy. Keeping the power is it!
    “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, only then will we have world peace.” Jimi Hendricks

  8. Zexufang says:

    I live in Columbus, Ohio USA – and I support the pipeline being built.

    Go Canada… and please wait until Obama is thrown-out this November.

  9. JustaRigger says:

    Have you ever been to the OILsands? Ever seen the Athabaska river? Ever even been to FT Mac? Have you ever been to one of there plants (SunCore, SynCrude, Kearl ect)?
    My bet is you havent. But here you are spouting of BS.
    I have worked in every plant in Alberta, and prefer the OILsands jobs. Air is cleaner than in the cities expecialy the shopes. The Athabaska river is actualy cleaner now than before the ‘sands developments. Basicaly the OILsands project is a big oil spill clean up.
    Also, for those of us in the know, anyone using the word “tarsands”= too stupid to laf at.

  10. Nuffsaid500 says:

    Well come on guys,

    Step out front and take a bow,

    You have ‘signed on’ to this Keystone Pipeline boondoggle

    You are pushing it through with the same determination as with the TARP Plan.

    Why so shy?

    The odds are 100,000 to 5 you’re going to win…

    It’s NOT like this is a free country or anything …

    Far, Far from it

  11. Nuffsaid500 says:

    So, based on all the blocked transmittals …

    I gather that it is OK for me to know who all is backing this Keystone XL project and the whole kit-N-kabootle Nuclear expansion project.

    It is just not OK to ‘spread it arround’.

    Is that the general drift?

  12. Nuffsaid500 says:

    David Gower,

    Thanks for asking,

    I am FOR open discussion of public policy questions.

    I am FOR ‘sunshine laws’.

    I am FOR the Constitution of the United States

    I am FOR the State Constitution of Texas

    I am FOR the rule of law

    I am FOR the Engineering Code of Ethics

    I am FOR Private Enterprise and Private Property Rights

    Shall I continue?

  13. David Gower says:

    Nuffsaid500, We see what you are against. What are you for?

  14. Nuffsaid500 says:

    We already know that the US Chamber of Commerce favors the Alberta Tar Sand Mining project; and that Jones spear-headed that effort. So what’s new?

    General James L. Jones, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), ran a U.S. Chamber of Commerce energy policy front group, by the name of the U.S. Chamber Institute for 21st Century Energy, PRIOR to his ‘gig’ as Obama’s National Security Advisor.

    (It is of course, oxymora to include the words Obama and national security in the same sentence. )

    The institute’s specific policy suggestions, rather predictably, reflect the views of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Transition Plan calling for billions of dollars in subsidies for the nuclear and coal industries.

  15. Trail_Tramp says:

    @ntangle The torpedo only has a range of 7,000 yds and the navy would be using Apache helicopters for defense. In the case of a single speed boat, it would be suicidal. A few weeks ago, Iranian speedboats got to within 500 yrds of a US naval transport ship and a cutter.

  16. Trail_Tramp says:

    Gen. Jim Jones, President Obama’s former national security adviser, said in regards to the Keystone Pipeline: “The country can’t afford to pass up the opportunity for reliable supply from a close ally and neighbour, which would leave us less vulnerable.”

  17. Nuffsaid500 says:

    It is of little concern to me, if Canada wishes to use most of their: natural gas, Western water, electricity and available credit on the Northern Alberta Tar boondoggle. If Canadian Subjects, wish to construct a dozen, MOx (plutonium) fueled nuclear reactors, in their North Country, that is their affair. The water quality of Athabasca River and its tributaries is likewise, chiefly a Canadian concern. If Canada wants nasty air, why should we worry about it?

    The Athabasca River travels 765 miles before draining into the Peace-Athabasca Delta near Lake Athabasca south of Fort Chipewyan. From there, its waters flow north as Rivière des Rochers, then joining the Peace River to form the Slave River that empties into Great Slave Lake and discharges through the Mackenzie River system into the Arctic Ocean. The cumulative drainage area is 36,800 square miles. So their nasty water is not coming to the Lone Star State.

    If anything goes wrong, in Canada, or with the rosy economic projections, or with the environmental concerns, let the Canadians worry about it. If there is no demand for the over-priced tar, then let the Canadians worry about that. Similarly, if there is a nuclear disaster in Alberta or Saskatchewan, it will be a LONG way from Texas.

    I just hope that Texas, Texans and the USA don’t end up saddled with the over-priced Tar (oil) and/or the bank-note for the project. Texas refineries do not need or want the Keystone XL oil or their rather expansive pipeline Right-of-Way corridors. Only those portions of this disaster that directly and negatively affect Texas, and Texans particularly concern me.

  18. ntangle says:

    Trail – High speed approach & feint games are probably taken more seriously after the USS Cole incident. After all, they might just load the boat with Semtex if they’re suicidal. But with a high speed torpedo, they wouldn’t do that anyway, they’d launch from a safe distance.

  19. Nuffsaid500 says:

    It is somewhat expected, that this poorly planned, marginal project will go forward. Most of the really horrible international projects do. The best interests of Texas, Texans and/or the USA, seldom enter into such decisions.

    The primary determinants are: who is the lobbyist, which Texas politicians have been paid off, which Wall Street firm is underwriting, which money center bank is lending … and so on and so forth.

    The Keystone XL Pipeline project will NOT pass muster on an economic, technical, energy, jobs or national security basis.

    Certainly the US House Republicans and the US Chamber of Commerce are on board. What matters it, if the rest of us object?

  20. Diana says:

    The Canadian PM is preaching to choir…Hope someone in the WH hears
    this because it’s been falling on deaf ears.

  21. Trail_Tramp says:

    The real concern of the US Navy in the Strait of Hormuz is not that the Iran government will order an attack, but that an incident could occur due the the actions of a poorly trained Iranian seaman operating a speed boat too close to a US aircraft carrier. Some of the speed boats have played chicken with US vessels in the past. Now that the Iranians have the Russian Shkval VA-111 high speed torpedo, such games are taken much more seriously.