To convince Beijing’s mandarins to buy Canada’s Alberta oil sands hydrocarbon production, now that Republican Congressional overreach has effectively sidelined the Keystone XL pipeline, designed to transit the oil to U.S. Gulf of Mexico refineries, for the foreseeable future.
Harper faces an uphill struggle, as China is questioning the delays in implementing the Northern Gateway pipeline, to transit Alberta’s oil to Canada’s western coast for transshipment to China.
Complicating the picture, Harper has a weak hand of cards, and both he and the Chinese know it.
Since 1967 oil sands have been under development in Alberta, and investments there now exceed $97 billion.
Where to go?
Not unreasonably, Ottawa looked southwards, as according to the U.S. Energy Administration Canada is now the leading exporter of oil to the United States, providing 2.6 million barrels per day (mbpd) of the 9.03 mbpd the U.S. imports every day.
With the Keystone XL pipeline offline for the foreseeable future, Canada hopes that China will pick up the slack, but the slow pace of development of the $5.5 billion, 730-mile Northern Gateway pipeline has raised concerns in Beijing.