TORONTO (Dow Jones)
Canadian Energy Minister Joe Oliver said Friday the country must diversify its energy exports beyond the U.S. to include Asia and China.
Oliver said that currently Canada sends virtually all of its oil exports to the U.S. and "there is the potential and need to diversify" markets beyond that one customer, he said.
He said Asian markets, in particular China, are ready buyers.
"China very much wants and needs our energy exports," he said in a speech here.
Oliver's comments come after the U.S. State Department last week delayed approval of TransCanada Corp.'s (TRP) Keystone XL pipeline, envisioned to boost exports of Canadian crude to the U.S.
The delay disappointed Canadian officials, who have lobbied hard for the line. In recent days, they have repeated that Canada must push more aggressively to open markets in Asia. Oil executives have been pushing for approval of a line that would take oil from Alberta to the Pacific, where oil could be shipped by sea.
The Keystone delay is evidence that it's important for Canada not to "have all our eggs in one basket," Oliver said.
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