| EDMONTON, Alberta, April 29
EDMONTON, Alberta, April 29 The chief executive
of Suncor Energy Inc, Canada's largest oil producer,
criticized U.S. government delays in approving new cross-border
pipeline projects on Tuesday, warning that the U.S. dream of
energy independence is unachievable without Canadian oil.
CEO Steve Williams said the proposed Keystone XL pipeline,
which is designed to deliver crude from the oil sands of
northern Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast, is not critical to
Suncor's plans to get crude to market and that the delays are
not hampering the company's production.
But he said the hold-up in approving the pipeline, which is
stoutly opposed by green groups, has damaged sentiment toward
the Canadian oil sands industry, in which Suncor plays a major
TransCanada Corp's proposed 830,000 barrel per day
Keystone XL project is mired in its sixth year of waiting for a
U.S. presidential permit. Environmentalists oppose the project
because they believe it will encourage further development of
the oil sands, where production is carbon intensive, as well as
endanger U.S. water resources.
Earlier this month the Obama administration signaled further
delays to the regulatory process, meaning no decision is likely
before the U.S. midterm elections in November.
"There has definitely been an overhang on oil sands
companies because of the perceived restrictions on access to
market," Williams said at Suncor's annual general meeting in
"It's crazy for Canada's future to be dependent on one
customer and we have not been particularly impressed with the
way the Americans have been handling this in the last few
Williams said he did not think the United States would
achieve energy independence, given how quickly the tight oil
plays that have swelled the country's reserves in the past few
years deplete. He said the North American continent could be
energy independent, however.
To ensure market access, regardless of the final U.S.
decision on Keystone XL, Suncor has invested in rail capacity
and secured space on other pipelines, including TransCanada's
Gulf Coast project and Enbridge Inc's Line 9 to
(Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Peter Galloway)