New Brunswick Premier woos Alberta on pipeline proposal

New Brunswick Premier David Alward is in Alberta to work out the logistics of building a pipeline from the oilands to the largest refinery in Canada.
New Brunswick Premier David Alward, left, met with Alberta Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk, right, to discuss a possible oil pipeline linking the two provinces. (CBC)

New Brunswick Premier David Alward is in Alberta to work out the logistics of building a pipeline from the oilsands to the largest refinery in Canada.

The Irving pipeline would connect the oilsands of Alberta to the Irving Refinery in Saint John, N.B., which currently processes 300,000 barrels of oil a day and could move up to a million per day.

Alward is meeting with Alberta producers and government officials to beef up support for the project during his three day trip, which began Sunday with a pint and some Super Bowl watching with deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk.

"It is a tremendous economic opportunity and it creates prosperity and jobs and ultimately the services people need," Alward told CBC News.

Lukaszuk said that New Brunswick has tremendous capacity already in place to process Alberta's exports.

"The province of New Brunswick has some of the largest refineries in Canada they have access to deep sea ports and super tankers that can move Alberta crude and oil products all over the world," Lukaszuk said.

Lukaszuk also said the plan makes economic sense for the provinces involved as well as the country as a whole.

"When we are talking about oilsands we are talking about Canadian oilsands and they can virtually benefit every province along the chain of distribution," he said.

TransCanada Corp. has said it wants to convert an existing, underused natural gas line to do the job, but it would be up to the National Energy Board to approve the projects.

TransCanada has not yet formally submitted the proposal. 

Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver has already given a tentative nod to the proposal.

With files from CBC's Travis Dhanraj