05/15/2013 09:19 EDT | Updated 07/15/2013 05:12 EDT

Norton's pipeline pitch received 'warmly' in Calgary

Saint John Mayor Mel Norton says his pitch for a proposed west-east oil pipeline is being well received during his trip to Calgary this week.

Norton was on the last of a two-day trip to Alberta on Tuesday in a bid to convince the industry to send its products east to the Irving Oil Ltd. refinery in Saint John.

He and a delegation of city, provincial and federal politicians met with oil producers and pipeline executives to throw their support behind a west-east route for Alberta crude.

"Everything we've seen and heard leads us to believe they're seriously and favourably considering Saint John," he said.

"We've been received warmly, it's a message that we sense isn't a message they often hear, and that is that Saint John is a place that is supportive of it and would embrace it with open arms."

In April, TransCanada Corp. announced it was seeking firm financial commitments from companies wanting to ship crude oil from Western Canada to refineries in Eastern Canada.

The "open season" bidding period for producers to request capacity on the proposed pipeline will close on June 17.

The proposal would be to convert 3,000 kilometres of the company's natural gas pipelines to allow for crude oil to be transported.

The company would also be looking at building 1,400 kilometres of new pipeline from Quebec into Saint John.

The pipeline could carry between 500,000 and 850,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to the eastern refineries, according to the company.