TORONTO, May 23 (UPI) -- Crude oil pipelines in Canada are the lifeblood to a national economy that depends largely on exports for revenue, the top executive at Enbridge Inc. said.
Enbridge is working to build its Northern Gateway pipeline to deliver crude oil from Alberta the western Canadian coast. Enbridge Chief Executive Officer Al Monaco told Bloomberg News that pipelines are an integral part of the Canadian economy.
"When you really get down to it, Canada is an export-driven resource economy," he said. "This is our foundation."
Most of the Canadian crude oil export market is dependent on the United States, though Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has tried to woo Asian investors to the energy sector.
Bloomberg News reports that pipelines are expensive and take a long time to build when weighed against alternative shipping methods like rail. Monaco said the expense is greater given public relations efforts needed to allay concerns over pipeline safety.
Bloomberg News reports that Canadian crude oil prices are lower than other varieties because a lack of pipeline capacity is limiting access.