By Selam Gebrekidan
NEW YORK, Sept 16 U.S. approval of the Keystone
XL pipeline is unlikely to occur in 2013, Canada's natural
resources minister, Joe Oliver, said on Monday.
"It is now looking like it's not going to be completed this
year," Oliver said in an interview with Reuters.
The U.S. State Department has yet to complete an
environmental review of the project, which has drawn fierce
opposition from environmental groups. The pipeline would link
oil sands fields in western Canada to U.S. Gulf Coast refiners.
Experts have said this may push the final decision to next
year, but Canadian officials have not officially commented on a
specific time line for the project.
Oliver said he expects the State Department to submit the
environmental impact statement this year, "hopefully soon." That
will be followed by a period of public comment.
The project's approval is contingent on a positive response
from the multiple U.S. agencies involved, he said. The U.S.
president will have to make the final decision if a consensus
"I certainly believe that if all the facts are taken into
consideration, it will be approved. But I'm not going to
handicap the odds at this point," Oliver said.
The proposed pipeline is "the most studied energy project in
the history of the world," Oliver said.
He declined to comment on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen
Harper's letter to U.S. President Barack Obama offering
environmental concessions that will allow the project to move