America’s Loss, China’s Gain: Obama’s Keystone Decision Has Canada Planning More Oil Shipments to Asia

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline application -- against the advice of his own Jobs Panel's reccomendation for an "all in" energy policy -- was met with disappointment by critics here and our friends north of the border.

In a statement, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office said that President Obama called him Wednesday morning.

“The president explained that the decision was not a decision on the merits of the project and that it was without prejudice, meaning that TransCanada is free to reapply,” said the statement.  “Prime Minister Harper expressed his profound disappointment with the news.  He indicated to President Obama that he hoped that this project would continue given the significant contribution it would make to jobs and economic growth both in Canada and the United States of America.”

Thanks to Obama's decision, the United States' loss will be China's -- and the rest of Asia's -- gain.

Pointedly, the statement says that Harper, “reiterated to the president that Canada will continue to work to diversify its energy exports.”

That means Canada will explore selling more of its oil to Asia.

As Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver told the CBC: “Our focus is, as you know, on diversifying our markets.  We currently have one customer for our energy exports.  That customer has said that it doesn’t want to expand at the moment.  So it certainly intensifies the broad strategic objective of the government to diversify to Asia.”

President Obama’s readout of the phone call is somewhat less informative: “President Obama called Prime Minister Harper to personally convey his Administration’s decision on the Keystone pipeline,” the White House statement reads.  “The President also reaffirmed the close alliance and friendship between the United States and Canada.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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