Alberta's Premier: Killing Keystone XL Is Gut Punch To Canadian Economy

The Premier of Alberta has called on the Canadian federal government to retaliate against the incoming U.S. administration after President Joe Biden said he would suspend the Keystone XL project.

"This is a gut punch to the Alberta and Canadian economies," Jason Kenney told a news conference, as quoted by Bloomberg. "It’s an insult."

Earlier this week, when reports surfaced about the new administration’s plan to kill the controversial pipeline projects as a first order of business, Kenney said in a statement that this would be a bad decision.

Canceling Keystone XL, he said, "would kill jobs on both sides of the border, weaken the critically important Canada-U.S. relationship, and undermine U.S. national security by making the United States more dependent on OPEC oil imports in the future."

"As President-elect Biden’s green jobs plan acknowledges, Americans will consume millions of barrels of oil per day for years to come. It is in perfect keeping with his plan that the United States energy needs should be met by a country that takes the challenges of climate change seriously," the Alberta Premier added.

Yet with his ambitious climate change agenda, Biden’s move is hardly a surprise. He revoked the key cross-border presidential permit just like his fellow Democrat Barack Obama did in 2015.

Critics of the pipeline have argued that U.S. refiners do not need any more import capacity for Canadian crude. Yet analysts note that with or without Keystone XL, U.S. refiners’ demand for heavy crude is unlikely to decline spontaneously, leaving them exposed to more imports from OPEC rather than neighbor Canada.

But Keystone XL was particularly important for pipeline-starved Alberta oil producers, hence the strong reaction of Premier Kenney. The Premier urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to demand a discussion on the project with the Biden administration and also threatened punitive measures and to "use every legal means" to be compensated for the cancellation.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com