09/09/2013 10:29 EDT | Updated 11/09/2013 05:12 EST

Joe Oliver in D.C. amid Keystone pipeline push

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver is in Washington today to advocate for a closer energy relationship between Canada and the United States and that means pushing the Keystone XL pipeline project.

Oliver is in the U.S. capital to meet with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. It will be their first meeting in person; the two have spoken previously on the phone.

Oliver, on his fifth visit to Washington, will be pitching Canada as a responsible and reliable energy provider for the United States during the meeting.

"I look forward to meeting with Secretary Moniz to discuss the Canada-U.S. energy relationship. Our countries have the largest and most secure energy partnership in the world," Oliver said in an email ahead of the meeting. "Enhancing bilateral energy collaboration will support jobs, environmental stewardship and North American energy security."

Moniz's department isn't the one responsible for approving TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone XL pipeline that would connect Alberta's oilsands to Texas refineries, but it does give its input.

Oliver will make remarks and take questions from reporters following the meeting this afternoon at about 1 p.m. ET. He will also be doing several interviews with U.S. media outlets later in the day.

CBC News reported last week that Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently wrote a letter to President Barack Obama formally proposing "joint action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas sector" in order to advance the Keystone pipeline project.

Sources told CBC News the prime minister is willing to accept targets proposed by the United States for reducing the climate-changing emissions and is prepared to work in concert with Obama to provide whatever political cover he needs to approve the Keystone extension.

Harper and Obama met on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday, but Obama's attention is focused on Syria. The White House has yet to respond to Harper's letter.