As America Needs To Import Oil, Let’s Buy More Of It From Our Canadian Friends – More Oil From Canada Means Less Oil From OPEC – The Obama Administration Should Authorize The Keystone XL Pipeline Project

By Paolo von Schirach

May 8, 2013

WASHINGTON – Only in this ideologically distorted environment can a simple, straight forward energy project like the Keystone XL pipeline be so controversial. This pipeline would carry about 830,000 barrels of additional Canadian oil from the Province of Alberta down to major refineries in south Texas. And yet we still do not know whether the Obama administration will finally give the green light to this major project.

Bad for the environment?

As one would expect, all the environmentalists are against it, for multiple reasons. We should stop our oil addiction. Therefore bringing more oil into the US is a bad idea. Furthermore, Canada’s oil is heavy crude. This means that its production and utilization cycle releases more emissions than other lighter types of oil. Last but not least, another major pipeline crossing the entire USA North to South is yet another potential environmental threat. What if there is an accident? What if we have to confront a huge heavy oil spill in the middle of Nebraska?

Weak arguments

All these argumemts have some merit. But, on close inspection, very little. Sure enough, in principle it would be nice if we could stop using carbon based energy and move instead to clean, renewable sources. Eventually we shall get there. But not now. And not in the next 5 to 10 years. America is the second largest oil user in the world (China being now number one). Like it or not, we have to import about 50% of what we use. This is a fact. An unpleasant fact, if you wish, but a fact nonetheless.

So, the truth is that we need to keep importing oil in order to keep America moving. True, we are getting better at producing more oil at home (think of North Dakota’s Bakken shale oil) while our national fleet of motor vehicles is becoming progressively more fuel efficient. But we still use rivers of oil. And this will not stop tomorrow on account of some major technological breakthrough in renewable energy that will allow us to move away from messy, dirty oil.

Let’s buy oil from our friends

This being the case, additional oil supplies from Canada will allow America to shift a large percentage of its current and projected imports from OPEC countries to Canada. Now, why is Canada a better crude supplier than Nigeria or Saudi Arabia? Well, Canada is a neighbor, a solid ally, a friend and America’s key trading partner.

Everything else being equal, it is in America’s national interest, energy security interest and trade relations interest to buy more of this vital energy supply from our Canadian friends than from anywhere else in the world. It is that simple.

State of the art technology

As for the environmental risk, this project has been vetted multiple times. Is it risk free? No, but it is low risk, keeping in mind that the Keystone pipeline will be built according to the most modern standards, with multiple safeguards, monitoring systems, and so on.

Once again, as America needs to import oil, let’s get more of it from our Canadian friends. In a sane country, this should not be a controversial issue.


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