01/22/2013 05:44 EST | Updated 03/24/2013 05:12 EDT

Keystone XL Pipeline: Brad Wall Says Nebraska Approval Helpful


SASKATOON - Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says the approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline by Nebraska's governor is helpful.

Wall says that means all of the governors along the route through the United States support the project and hopefully that will affect the final decision.

"Now we have literally all of the governors along the route and then some outside the route who are very supportive in very recent days of the pipeline," Wall said.

"I am hoping that will have an impact on the decision."

Nebraska's Republican Gov. Dave Heineman has sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama saying he'll allow the pipeline to go through his state along a revised route that skirts an environmentally sensitive area.

The U.S. State Department, which has jurisdiction because the pipeline crosses an international border, is to make a recommendation to Obama.

"Nebraska is a pretty key player in all of this," Wall said. "Their concerns over the aquifer, I think, certainly buttress those whose position it was to oppose the pipeline for some understandable concerns over the aquifer."

The $7-billion pipeline would carry bitumen from Alberta's oilsands to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Wall and 10 Republican governors sent a letter to Obama last week urging him to approve the pipeline.

Wall said, if the pipeline is built, it should improve the price the province gets for its oil. Saskatchewan receives West Texas Intermediate prices as opposed to the Brent crude price, and the difference can be between 15 and 18 dollars a barrel.

"Right now, in the province of Saskatchewan, we are losing — Saskatchewan people are losing — about $300 million in additional oil royalty revenue every single year," Wall said. "The Keystone pipeline, it is felt by many, will close and eliminate the gap."

Alberta was also pleased with the development.

But Energy Minister Ken Hughes said Keystone, which will ship oilsands bitumen to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, is just one part of the puzzle.

Hughes said the province still needs pipelines to eastern Canada and to the west coast to ship oil to booming markets in Asia.

Also on HuffPost