Alberta's oilsands can count the state of Colorado among its defenders after its governor — and a large delegation from that state — toured the oilsands this week.

Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper, who stopped in Calgary Thursday, said his home state could learn a lot from Alberta.

"People get these facts and begin to see that Alberta is really committed to a green future," he said. "I think people are beginning to change their minds in the U.S."

It's not every week the oilsands gets a visit from abroad that is so favourable, especially from one of the country's most popular governors.

Hickenlooper isn't the most surprising of oilsands allies. He famously drank fracking liquid in pledge of its safety, and he recorded an ad for his state's oil and gas association.

But Hickenlooper's support is relevant to Alberta, as the province's energy industry depends a lot on Colorado.

For one example, Alberta exported about $3.5 billion of mainly crude last year to the state.

As for the Keystone XL pipeline, which doesn't travel through Colorado, the governor refused to say whether he supports it.

If approved, Keystone XL would take oil from Alberta’s oilsands through the heart of the U.S. Midwest to refineries on the Gulf Coast in Texas for transshipment to consumers around the world.