Mr. SHIMKUS. Canadian oil sands transported via pipelines play a major role in supplying the energy needs of southern Illinois. Two weeks ago, I visited the oil sands in Alberta, Canada, and here is exactly what we saw.
On Monday of this week, I visited three facilities also, but before I talk about those three facilities, Daniel Yergin yesterday in The Washington Post said this about the oil sands of Canada: ``Oil sands production in Canada today is 1.5 million barrels per day--more oil than Libya exported before its civil war. Canadian oil sands output could double to 3 million barrels per day by the beginning of the next decade. This increase, along with its other oil output, would make Canada a larger oil producer than Iran--becoming the world's fifth largest, behind Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and China.''
On Monday of this week, I visited three facilities in southern Illinois that utilize Canadian oil sands: Robinson refinery, the Patoka tank farm, and the Wood River refinery.
Pipelines play a vital role in providing the energy needs for our daily lives. There are over 2.5 million miles of pipelines in this country: 175,000 miles of onshore and offshore hazardous liquid pipelines, mostly oil; 321,000 miles of onshore/offshore gas transmission and gathering lines; and 2,066,000 miles of natural gas distribution mains and service pipelines.
Keystone XL would stretch about 1,700 miles. Again, going back to Yergin's article, he says: ``Though large''--he's referring to the Keystone XL pipeline. ``Though large, it would increase the length of the oil pipeline network in the United States by just 1 percent.''
Due to the high volumes of various liquids and gasses that must be transported, pipelines are the feasible mode of transportation. Imagine trying to transport this gas, crude oil on rail, on trucks, in our major waterways. In fact, just today there was a supertanker that was just hijacked by pirates on the high seas. That's the challenge of moving crude oil other than the pipeline system.
We continue to import oil from countries that are not our closest friends. Further blocking of this pipeline development will only increase foreign oil imports from far-off places that are not our neighbors.
This pipeline application is a jobs plan. Five major labor unions have endorsed this project, and there would be 20,000 construction jobs. As refineries expand, there's an estimated 100,000 new jobs as a whole. This Keystone XL pipeline is supported by the AFL-CIO and several other organized labor groups. In fact, they have started to run ads today in support of the pipeline and encouraging the Obama administration to approve it. Canadian oil sands are already creating jobs in my district in southern Illinois.
Caterpillar, which my friend Joe Wilson is going to talk about too--you'll see a larger mock than this. This is one of their major pickup trucks, lightly said. It's about four stories tall. The major place that this goes to is the oil sands in Canada. The tires, themselves, are two stories tall. The Caterpillar 797 is the largest truck they make. It's partially assembled in Decatur, Illinois. The truck is so large, final assembly must be done at the delivery site. The largest concentration of these Caterpillar trucks are in Alberta, Canada. These are manufactured in the good old U.S.A. These are great Midwestern manufacturing jobs that are directly tied to the oil sands development.
At my last stop on Monday to the ConocoPhillips refinery, I just posed this basic question to the reporters who attended the press conference: Would you rather have the oil being refined in Wood River, Illinois, come from Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, or Africa, or would you have that oil rather come from Canada? I think the answer is simple. So this administration must approve the Keystone XL pipeline.