Keystone cancellation: Canada looks to a continental energy strategy


As US President Joe Biden rescinded the Keystone XL Pipeline presidential permit on his first day in office, Canada representatives are looking to a continental energy strategy. According to Canada’s Minister Jim Carr, Keystone cancellation, and the generated job losses, require eyeing a comprehensive North American strategy for the industry.

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Keystone cancellation: a path toward a continental energy strategy

According to Canada’s government representatives, the country needs to look for a continental energy strategy due to President Joe Biden’s decision to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline project. In several of the officials’ words, Keystone cancellation has highlighted that Canada needs to eye a comprehensive North American strategy regarding energy.

“I was the Minister of natural resources when the Obama administration canceled Keystone XL. So for me, it’s Round 2 of deep disappointment,” Minister Jim Carr, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s representative for the Prairies, said Monday in a public audience.

In this regard, Minister Carr noted that a continental energy strategy is necessary to overcome the differences and address the Keystone cancellation challenges. “We have to look forward, however, to a continental energy strategy,” said the Minister.

US President Joe Biden rescinded the project’s presidential permit on his first day in office. For this reason, Alberta’s provincial government showed its outrage. Also, TC Energy pre-emptively ceased construction of the project.

Alberta’s premier, Jason Kenney, first called the Keystone cancellation an “insult” and a “gut-punch.” Furthermore, he pressed for retaliation against the US and suggested economic and trade sanctions if the administration is unwilling to engage in conversations about the pipeline’s future.

Thus far, the Biden administration has made no indication it intends to consider reinstating the permit after Keystone cancellation. Besides, TC Energy, the project’s main contractor, has already laid off 1,000 workers in Alberta since the presidential permit remotion went public last week.

The opportunity to engage in a continental energy strategy

However, earlier this week, Kenney suggested to the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to approach Washington and pitch a collaborative opportunity. Therefore, the premier said Canada could solve differences with President Joe Biden’s administration through a North American energy and climate policy.

“Canada and the US share a highly integrated energy system, including crisscrossing infrastructure such as pipelines and electricity transmission systems. Our energy and climate goals must be viewed in the context of that integrated system,” Kenney wrote.

According to information disclosed by CBC, last year, Kenney invested $1.5 billion in Keystone XL, arguing “it would never be completed without the infusion.”

This pipeline, first announced in 2005, would have transported 830,000 barrels of crude a day from the oil sands in Alberta to Nebraska.

Past opportunities

A continental energy partnership has been a goal for more than 15 years within North American governments’ agendas. Multiple trilateral meetings have been held in this regard, ending with consensus but often without binding commitments

For instance, five years ago, Carr, then the Minister of natural resources, hosted a reunion with his American and Mexican counterparts to discuss such a partnership’s potential.

The result? They agreed to collaborate on energy technologies, energy efficiency, carbon capture, and emissions reduction. Despite the commitment, thus far, this synergy has been slow and non-effective.

In December 2014, a similar meeting ended with a to-do list to move forward on a continental energy strategy, including mapping energy infrastructure and sharing data. As reported by CBC, that data website hasn’t been updated since 2017.

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