Canada government applauds TransCanada's East Coast pipeline

Thu Aug 1, 2013 11:16am EDT

Aug 1 (Reuters) - Canada's Conservative government said on Thursday that plans by TransCanada Corp to build an oil pipeline from Western Canada to the east coast could mean cheaper prices for refineries and less reliance on foreign suppliers.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said the pipeline project would be subject to an environmental and regulatory review.

"Our government welcomes the prospect of transporting Canadian crude oil from Western Canada to consumers and refineries in Eastern Canada and ultimately to new markets abroad," Oliver said in a statement.

"Initiatives like this could allow Canadian refineries to process more potentially lower-priced Canadian oil, enhancing Canada's energy security and making our country less reliant on foreign oil," he said.

TransCanada gave the green light to the $12 billion project on Thursday at a time when its U.S.-bound Keystone XL line remains stalled in Washington.

Ottawa is keen to open up new markets for the country's oil and has been intensely lobbying Washington to approve Keystone.

Oliver said that in 2012, 83 percent of crude oil deliveries to refineries in Canada's eastern provinces came from countries like Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Angola. He said 92 percent of deliveries to Quebec refineries were from those countries.