After about a year of negotiations, it’s hoped a visit from New Brunswick’s premier will help a proposal for a pipeline between Alberta and eastern Canada move Alberta bitumen into more markets.

Premier David Alward arrived in Alberta Sunday for his three day visit – and headed north Monday to tour Alberta’s oilsands.

The visit from the eastern premier comes after year-long talks on proposals to bring Alberta oil east – in an effort to make the resource available to more markets, outside of the United States.

Recent news on the subject has revolved around the largest refinery in Canada, the Irving Refinery in St. John, New Brunswick which would allow Alberta oil to be processed before it’s sent overseas.

“We’re looking to demonstrate why we think it makes great sense for Alberta crude to be able to be supplied right across the country, including St. John, New Brunswick,” Alward said Sunday night.

On Sunday, before getting down to serious business, Alward and New Brunswick’s Energy Minister joined Alberta’s Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk to watch the Superbowl at a downtown Edmonton pub.

Alward also talked about the financial problems facing Alberta, and how transporting the product to his province could help landlocked Alberta deal with the ‘bitumen bubble’.

“Right now Alberta is not getting full value for their resource,” Alward said. “That means every Canadian is not getting full value for the resource.

“We believe that is important to diversify the markets, we think New Brunswick can and needs to be part of the solution.”

“Having Quebec and other eastern provinces interested in not only moving our product, but then further upgrading it and exporting it abroad is a phenomenal thing,” Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk said.

These days, the Irving Refinery processes 300,000 barrels of oil each day, but it’s not working at full capacity – it’s believed it could handle up to 1,000,000 barrels each day.

The plan is in the very early stages, and must still go through the regulatory process, a process that has already begun in another high-profile pipeline proposal, the Northern Gateway Pipeline.

However, the east-bound project is expected to garner less opposition than the pipeline through British Columbia – which is still the subject of a number of protests and environmental groups petitioning against it.

With files from Laura Tupper