Two vehicles are seen in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project.
Credits: SHELL HAND OUT
CALGARY - The city's outgoing U.S. consul-general says she's disappointed with progress on energy issues -- particularly environmental ones.
But despite U.S. President Barack Obama's refusal to approve the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, Laura Lochman said there's solid harmony between the two countries.
Recent progress on trade and border security show "the relationship between Ottawa and Washington are excellent right now," she said.
Even so, Lochman, who's finishing her three-year posting to Calgary to begin one in Colombia, said a few expectations had fallen short, including firming up some oil export routes from Alberta to the U.S.
Advances there "are not quite what many of us had predicted," she told a crowd of about 120 at a Calgary Chamber of Commerce luncheon Thursday.
Still, since she began her stint in Calgary three years ago, Lochman said Canada's share of U.S. oil imports have grown from 18% to 24%.
Another sore spot was the failure to push forward greenhouse gas emission legislation in the U.S. Congress and see a green energy dialogue between her country and Canada come to fruition.
"One of my regrets is that we haven't been able to do more on collaboration on research and development on the energy front -- it's tough to work up the mechanisms for that to happen cross-border," she said.
"But I believe it has to happen ... a lot of the challenges are similar."
Recent oil spills from Alberta pipelines won't have a direct bearing on how Washington views TransCanada's Keystone XL, which will be judged on its own merits, she said.
The hold-up of Keystone XL, which would pipe Alberta oilsands bitumen to the Gulf Coast, is temporary, said Doug Bloom, president of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association.
"We've had a lot of issues over the last year or so that'll be resolved over time," said Bloom, adding the picture should change after November.
"These are political issues that'll be resolved after the next election."
Lochman's role as a bridge between Alberta business and the U.S. was praised by business leaders like chamber President Adam Legge.
"She is truly one of the people who advocated for Calgary ... it gives Calgary companies a heightened sense of confidence when working in the U.S.," he said.