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  Chinainvestsin Canada oil project

  China is helping to finance the development of a pro-posed $5.51 billion dollar oil pipeline to Canada´s West Coastthat would open the Asian market to Canadian crude, which isnow chiefiy consumed by the U.S.

  State-owned China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., orSinopec, is among a consortium of Canadian oil producers andAsian refiners investing $100 million in Enbridge Inc.´s proposedNorthern Gateway pipeline, Enbridge ChiefExecutive Pat Dan- iel said during a Web cast investor conference onjanuary 20.

  The Northern Gateway pipeline would pipe an averageof 525,000´barrels of crude oil a day from Canada´s oil-sandsregion to a port in British Columbia, from which it would beshipped to Asian markets. Regulators aren´t expected to ruleon whether the project can go forward until next year. If ap- proved, construction is scheduled to be completed in 2016.

  Canada´s oil sands hold an estimated 170 billion barrels of oil, making it the second-largest oil reserve in the world, afterSaudi Arabia´s. The U.S. is the only export market for Cana- dian crude oil, and Canada is the U.S.´s largest single supplier.

  "We think it is hugely in Canada´s national best interest to have a second outlet for our crude oil," Mr. Daniel said, "...sothat we can become a price-maker with regard to crude-oil pricing, instead of a price-taker."

  Sinopec and other investors have put up $100 million tohelp Northern Gateway get through the regulatory process,which includes producing environmental-impact studies and consulting with native and environmental groups - some of which oppose the project.

  Mr. Daniel said Enbridge itself has already spent $100 million on the regulatory process. The Calgary-based pipeline company applied for approval to build Northern Gateway in May, and expects Canada´s federal energy regulator to approve it by the middle of2012.

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