A coalition of Canadian oil sands companies has hired the lobbying firm of former Texas Republican Congressman Jack Fields to lobby on behalf of TransCanada’s controversial Keystone Pipeline designed to transport shale oil from Canada to refineries in the Lone Star State.

The In Situ Oil Alliance is composed of Calgary-based companies Athabasca Oil Sands Corp., Connacher Oil and Gas Ltd., Laricina Energy Ltd., MEG Energy Corp. and Petrobank Energy and Resources is backing the push made by Fields’ Twenty-First Century Group.

Fields, who represented Houston in Congress, reps the coalition on issues related to Canadian oil sands including Keystone, North America-Made Energy Security Act and repeal of Section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act, which bans federal purchase of shale oil.

He’s assisted by Jocelyn Hong, former aide to Sen. John Glenn and member of President Clinton’s transition team, and Jay Grimes, a former House Armed Services Committee staffer.

A Congressional showdown on Keystone is slated next week. House Speaker John Boehner plans a vote House on the “Middle Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Act,” a package that includes extension of the payroll tax cut, extending unemployment insurance and approval of the Keystone pipeline as a job-creation measure.

President Obama, on December 7, promised to veto the payroll tax measure that is linked with Keystone. He plans to rule on Keystone after next year’s election.

TransCanada uses Van Ness Feldman, Bryan Cave, and McKenna Long and Aldridge as its Washington representatives.