Sick and tired of delays in the U.S. approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, Canada has taken matters into its own hands, approving a controversial pipeline proposal that would ship its oil to the Pacific Coast, where it should be shipped to Asia customers.
The approval came as no surprise, however, as Canada tries to diversify its portfolio of customers, and fetch higher prices, as it currently sells 97% of its exports to the United States, and at a far discount to other world crudes because it has no path to get outside of North America. A pipeline to the coast would fix that and drive revenue higher.
Just in northern Alberta alone, reserves amount to the world's third largest with some 170 billion barrels of proven reserves. Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has long said national interest makes the project paramount.
Meanwhile, China waits, as its energy hungry economy looks for new sources of oil. Just in the last five years China has invested more than $45 billion in Canada, mostly looking for sources of energy.
Environmentalists are preparing for a long, hard fight, as the pipeline would run through pristine British Columbia, where Canadians still remember the terrible Exxon Valdez oil spill back in 1989. Native tribes are also suiting up for battle claiming they will defend their territory no matter the cost.
I'm sure we'll be hearing more of this story in the days ahead, but what do you think? Should the U.S. take the risk of oil spills and build the Keystone XL so Canada can access more refineries and charge more per barrel, or should the Canadians have to build the pipeline and take the risk?