Premier confident Keystone pipeline will be approved by U.S.

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach says a controversial Alberta-to-Texas oil pipeline will be built, despite a likely delay of six weeks in construction of the nearly US$7-billion project.

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach says a controversial Alberta-to-Texas oil pipeline will be built, despite a likely delay of six weeks in construction of the nearly US$7-billion project.

“I’m confident the pipeline will go ahead, but . . . we have to respect the process,” Stelmach said Tuesday.

On Monday, Terry Cunha, spokesman for TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP), said the nearly 2,700-kilometre Keystone XL pipeline may be delayed by up to six weeks because the U.S. State Department is extending its environmental review of the project.

The company is “completely comfortable with that,” Cunha said, adding they believe they can make up for lost time during construction.

Stelmach said Alberta’s oilsands will continue to deliver oil to meet the needs of the United States.

“We’re supplying 1.2, 1.3 million barrels a day, production is increasing but so is the demand. As their economy recovers, there will be more demand for oil, both bitumen and processed,” he said.

Documents released last week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency harshly criticized the State Department’s draft environmental impact statement for Keystone XL, saying it doesn’t consider how importing more oilsands oil would affect U.S. climate change policies.

The State Department is putting together its final environmental impact assessment, which will take comments from the general public into account.