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Canada touts benefits of west-east pipeline

Sept. 11, 2013 at 8:10 AM

OTTAWA, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- An oil pipeline to eastern Canadian refineries would provide a source of economic stimulus by offsetting expensive imports, Canada's resource minister said.

Pipeline planner TransCanada commissioned Deloitte & Touche LLP to examine the economic benefits of its $11.5 billion Energy East oil pipeline project. The report found the pipeline would generate more than $30 billion in gross domestic product for Canada during the next six years and provide economic benefits for all six provinces along the pipeline's route.

Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver welcomed the results of the finding, saying it would bolster energy security in North America.

"Replacing higher-cost foreign crude with lower-cost Canadian crude for refineries in Quebec and Atlantic Canada would protect and increase job opportunities in the refinery sector and ensure a competitive fuel supply for consumers," he said in a statement Tuesday.

Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said in an August interview with The Globe and Mail newspaper he was wary of the economic benefits, saying "Ontario will only be a conduit" for oil exports.

The project involves overhauling existing oil pipelines and the conversion of a natural gas pipeline. TransCanada said the pipeline could "potentially" offset the 700,000 barrels of oil imported for eastern refineries with domestic crude oil.

By 2018, the pipeline could be delivering about 900,000 barrels per day to eastern refineries and export terminals.

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