Premier David Alward says profits, not politics, will determine whether Alberta crude ever comes east for refining in Saint John.

On Friday, premiers from across the country agreed Friday at the annual Council of the Federation meeting to start work on a national energy strategy.

Alward and P.E.I. premier Robert Ghiz said they would push for a west-to-east pipeline that could could carry unrefined bitumen to refineries in eastern Canada.

"New Brunswick is very open to seeing a pipeline come from Alberta to Saint John and the refinery there," Alward said Thursday.

Political and business leaders have mused about bringing the crude here through a combination of existing pipelines and trucking.

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said emphatically her province is not willing to sign on to it until they work out the problems surrounding the Northern Gateway project with Alberta.

He says he supports the idea, but it has to make financial sense for all the players.

"Ultimately it will be a business case that will determine whether it makes sense to build that pipeline. We certainly hope that it does we believe it will provide a tremendous opportunity for New Brunswick and for southern New Brunswick," he said Friday.

"It would provide for tremendous economic prosperity. It would also provide energy security over the long-term."

Alward says discussions will continue on the idea.