The Alberta-to-Houston oil pipeline has drawn some domestic criticism, but as Peter Fairley reports, the oil has to go somewhere:
Protests in front of the White House earlier this month against the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would run from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast, brought attention once again to the potential environmental impact of Canada's oil sands deposits. But industry experts say that the fate of that particular pipeline—which President Obama will decide upon later this year—will have little effect on the ultimate future of the vast petroleum resources in the oil sands.
One reason is that the oil will simply go elsewhere. Proposed pipelines to Canada's Pacific Coast could give Alberta's oil producers access to rapidly growing Asian markets. That would accelerate the demand for oil sands crude, which is made into gasoline. If the Keystone pipeline is not approved, says Ralph Glass, director of energy valuation and operations at Calgary-based petroleum industry consultancy AJM Deloitte, "there will be a stronger push for sending the oil offshore."