* Suncor CEO believes XL Keystone will go ahead
* Canadian crude will displace other heavy crudes
By Janet McGurty
NEW YORK, April 14 Suncor Energy's (SU.TO)
chief executive said on Thursday he believes energy security
will be the key to U.S. government's decision on approval of
the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to carry Canadian crude to
the concentration of refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
"I think energy security will trump in regards to the
Keystone XL pipeline," said Rick George, president and chief
executive officer of Calgary-based Suncor Energy.
Speaking at a luncheon in New York City sponsored by the
Consulate General of Canada, the Province of Alberta and
Suncor, CEO Rick George said he had visited Washington earlier
in the week but had no inside knowledge of the matter.
George said the crude that would travel down TransCanada
Corp's (TRP.TO) proposed Keystone XL pipeline would displace
heavy crudes from Mexico, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.
"This is a very important source for the U.S.," he said.
American-born George, who lives in Calgary, stressed the
strong relationship between Canada and the United States, which
shares one of the world's largest unfortified borders, and the
political stability of Canada.
Canada is already the largest exporter of crude to the
United States, sending 2.5 million barrels of oil and oil
products across the border in 2009, according to U.S.
The permit for Keystone XL is now facing opposition from
environmentalists in both countries. The U.S. State Department
is currently considering whether to issue a permit for the
Originally, the Cushing, Oklahoma-to-U.S. Gulf Coast leg of
the pipeline was expected to be completed by 2013.
U.S. refiners on the Gulf Coast are looking for the
pipeline to move out some of the crude oil locked in storage at
Cushing to their refineries.
Inventories of West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude
benchmark, continue to rise in Cushing -- the delivery point of
the NYMEX crude oil futures contract - pushing down the price
due to lack of transportation options from the region to the
large concentration of refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.