The United States is making enormous strides towards energy security – and increasing our supply of oil from Canadian oil sands through Keystone XL would provide a huge boost to that effort, allowing us to replace hundreds of thousands more barrels of oil imported daily from unfriendly and unstable regions with oil from Canada, our trusted neighbor and ally.
So it’s no wonder that national security advisors have strongly urged approval of Keystone XL. As former Obama National Security Advisor General Jim Jones rightly put it, if we want to “make Putin’s day” we should reject Keystone XL. Another former Obama National Security Advisor Tom Donilon said that he “probably would” advise approval of Keystone XL to strengthen our national security. Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz said that he supports Keystone XL on energy security grounds because, “That’s oil that doesn’t go through the straits of Hormuz,” he said.
Canada is actually our largest supplier of imported oil, making up 28 percent of our imports, and Americans are already realizing the benefits of Canadian oil sands. As a report by IHS CERA notes, “Canadian oil sands have moved from the fringe to become a key pillar of global oil supply. This growth has made oil sands the single largest source of U.S. oil imports…”
The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) found last year that North American oil production – particularly oil sands – is sending “shock waves” through global markets, dramatically reducing imports from OPEC. IEA found that oil sands supply in North America will grow by 3.9 million barrels per day from 2012 to 2018. This dramatic increase in Canadian and American oil production could make North America 100 percent energy secure in transportation fuels in the next dozen years.
What has been the result? Americans have paid lower prices at the pump, even as tensions have risen in oil exporting countries. That’s not only because of our dramatic increase in domestic oil production, but also because imports of oil sands from our close ally, Canada, have reached a record high. As the New York Times reported, quoting an oil analyst, “We can thank Texas, North Dakota and Canada” for keeping prices in check. Keystone XL would facilitate even more imports from Canada, greatly enhancing our energy security.
As IHS CERA also pointed out, one of the reasons Keystone XL will have “no material impact” on greenhouse gas emissions is because heavy crude oil will be refined U.S. Gulf Coast refineries regardless of Keystone XL. But if the pipeline isn’t built, much of that crude will be imported from Venezuela instead of Canada. As the report states, Venezuela will be “the number one beneficiary of a negative decision” on Keystone XL.
One of the world’s foremost energy experts, Daniel Yergin, stated, “The big winner from not building Keystone is Venezuela, because their heavy oil has the same carbon footprint as the oil sands. (So) Venezuela or Canada, take your pick. Who is your favorite country and who is your neighbor?”