Just a couple of comments on what's been said in this thread so far.
1. While I and most Canadians would prefer to sell our oil to the USA
rather than China, and I expect most Americans would prefer to buy their
oil from Canada rather than Venezuela, the bottom line is that we are
separate countries and each of us will do what's in our own best
interest when the time comes to make those important decisions. It's
always been that way since the guys in charge have always been
"economics" and "politics".
2. The XL pipeline MIGHT be part of a larger North American free trade
zone agreement, but there hasn't been any discussions involving Mexico
(who also produce oil), and you'd think the politicians would get all
those ducks in order before they started making decisions on where to
build long expensive pipelines. The cart seems to be before the horse
if that were the case.
3. A pipeline through the Rocky Mountains would be a very expensive and
controversial proposition, but the Canadian government would not have to
fund the building of that pipeline even if it is built on Canadian soil.
As often happens, foreign investors would simply incorporate a company
in Canada to pay lobby groups in Ottawa to push to have the pipeline
built, and eventually hire other individuals and other companies with
expertise in building pipelines to build it. In the case of a pipeline
through the Rockies, I'd prefer those foreign investors would be
Japanese and/or Korean companies rather than Chinese and/or Indian
4. While it's true that Canada has enough tar sand oil to last it 400
years, and we'll undoubtedly be fueling our cars with more
environmentally friendly fuels well before then, gasoline is not the
only thing made of crude oil.
Most plastics start life as crude oil, and we make everything from
textiles to car bumpers to paint to eyeglass lenses out of those
Most chemical pesticides and herbicides are made from chemicals
derived from refining crude oil. And, since agriculture in the
developed world has become an industry heavily dependant on machinery,
lubricants in the form of oils and greases (as well as fuel) are
important to maintain food production in developed countries.
When you refine crude oil, you basically distill it. A refinery is
really just a big moonshine still that can separate out various
condensates depending on their boiling temperatures, and send each
condensate through different processing equipment. However, what you're
left with at the end of the day when you're finished boiling the oil is
a product called "asphalt". Asphalt is critical to cities and rural
areas for building and maintaining roads and highways. And, of course,
it's used in waterproofing the roofs and basements of buildings.
There are many experts that think we should move to alternative
environmentally friendly fuels sooner rather than later so that we can
save our crude oil for making all these other important products if and
when crude oil reserves become depleted. That's because we have
available alternatives to gasoline that we can use as gasoline (like
ethanol), but we don't have an alternitive to crude oil for making
plastics, lubricants, greases and asphalt.
So, I don't believe Canadian oil will go "unused" because of a
worldwide lack of interest in the stuff. But, of course, refining it
into fuel is still the most obvious market for the stuff.
5. I also don't believe that if the XL pipeline is built, that the oil
shipped through it will be refined in Texas and the resulting products
exported from Texas to other countries. But, I believe that something
to that effect was said by someone to either help get the pipeline
built, or help kill the idea of building it. Those kinds of statements
by lobby groups or companies with an interest in building it are for
public consumption only and belong in the same bag as election promises.
The oil will be sold, pipelined to Texas, and the resulting products
sold and used throughout North America (and very possibly on other
continents as well).