President Obama disparaged the proposed Keystone pipeline, in an interview with the New York Times published Saturday, calling the estimated construction jobs a “blip.”

During the interview, the Times reporter asked Obama why he continued to block the pipeline – even though it would create jobs and was supported by unions.

“Well, look, they might like to see 2,000 jobs initially. But that is a blip relative to the need,” Obama said, noting that after the pipeline was finished most of those jobs would disappear.

Obama also warned that the pipeline might cause higher gas prices in the United States.

“So what we also know is, is that that oil is going to be piped down to the Gulf to be sold on the world oil markets, so it does not bring down gas prices here in the United States,” he said. “In fact, it might actually cause some gas prices in the Midwest to go up where currently they can’t ship some of that oil to world markets.”

A spokesman for TransCanada, the company developing the Keystone project, said Obama is simply playing politics and reiterated that his firm’s estimate of 20,000 new jobs is based on transparent, verifiable analyses and data.

“I wouldn’t think the president would come out externally and in the media and actually agree with the Republicans regardless of what he might think in private,”  TransCanada’s James Millar said in an interview Sunday quoted by MacLean’s.

“I attribute those comments more to being political rather than how he might truly believe on a project,” he said. “There is no reason for us to overinflate our numbers, we have to answer to our board, we have to answer to our shareholders,” Millar said.