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Canadian bitumen exports to U.S. Midwest increases

CALGARY, Alberta, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Bitumen exports from Canada to the United States during the fourth quarter of 2013 increased by more than 4 percent, the Canadian government said Wednesday.

The National Energy Board published export data Wednesday for crude oil exports during the fourth quarter. The NEB said an average 687,000 barrels of bitumen was exported to the United States each day and 82 percent of that was sent to Petroleum Administration for Defense District II.

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PADD II covers an area stretching east from North Dakota to Ohio and south from Minnesota to Oklahoma. Fourth quarter bitumen exports to PADD II were 4.5 percent higher than the previous quarter.

About 5 percent of bitumen exports went to PADD III, which covers the Gulf Coast market in the United States.

Nearly all of Canadian oil exports head to the United States. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said he wants to add a layer of diversity to the export economy by courting Asian and potentially European consumers.

Canadian energy company Enbridge is still working to remediate a river in southern Michigan contaminated by an oil sands spill in 2012, the largest inland incident of its kind in U.S. history.

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Pipeline company TransCanada plans to build its Keystone XL pipeline to carry crude recovered from oil sands from Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries.

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