Canadian oil ambitions hinge on elections

May 14, 2013 at 7:13 AM

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 14 (UPI) -- Provincial elections in British Columbia may determine the fate of the premier's oil export ambitions, party platforms suggest.

New Democratic Party leader Adrian Dix has a narrow lead in polls ahead of Tuesday's election over incumbent Premier Christy Clark from the Liberal Party, Bloomberg News reports.

Dix said he's opposed to plans from Canadian pipeline company Enbridge to build the $6 billion Northern Gateway oil pipeline to the west coast. He's expressed similar opposition to Kinder Morgan's regional expansion plans.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has tried to woo Asian economies for oil exports. Canada relies almost exclusively on the United States for its crude oil export market.

Dix said he'd end a provincial agreement with energy regulators if elected. In the past, Clark laid out a series of preconditions for pipeline projects planned through British Columbia.

Both candidates said they welcomed measures to establish a liquefied natural gas industry in the province, Bloomberg reports.

Pipeline companies have stressed that environmental safety is one of their key priorities.

Aboriginal communities on the western Canadian coast have expressed concern that energy development there would threaten the ecosystem.

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