Obama rejected the Keystone Pipeline XL from Canada to the southern border once again yesterday. Entrepreneurialism isn’t to be so easily thwarted, however, and TransCanada is looking at piping from Montana south and perhaps hooking from, or routing from the Cushing, Oklahoma depository on to the Gulf. Obama’s approval isn’t needed if the pipeline is not crossing the border between Canada and the U.S. After a Republican administration is in place, the Canadian hook-up can be accomplished.
“President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico is an act of national insanity.” That’s the lede. “It isn’t often that a president makes a decision that has no redeeming virtues and — beyond the symbolism — won’t even advance the goals of the groups that demanded it. All it tells us is that Obama is so obsessed with his reelection that, through some sort of political calculus, he believes that placating his environmental supporters will improve his chances. ~ Robert Samuelson, Economic Columnist
Snippets from Rush:
“The Bakken shale-rock formation is estimated to hold as much as 4.3 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil in North Dakota and Montana, according to a 2008 U.S. Geological Survey report. Oil production in North Dakota surged 42 percent to 510,000 barrels a day in November, exceeding the output of Ecuador.” It is potentially a deposit rivaling that in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, and it’s one of the best kept secrets in this country. There is a boom in the North Dakota economy because of this, a huge boom taking place. “Production in the Bakken field may reach 750,000 barrels a day this year, Edward Morse, managing director of commodities research for Citigroup Inc.”
Now, “As originally envisioned, Keystone XL would have carried as much as 830,000 barrels a day from Canada’s oil sands and the Bakken field along a 1,661-mile (2,673-kilometer) path to Texas refineries. The Bakken drilling boom may allow TransCanada to begin building the portion from Baker, Montana, to the Gulf, using much of the original route,” bypassing Canada and its share of the oil, and thereby obviating any role that Obama would have in not approving it. “The company is also mulling whether to build the pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Gulf, he said. If customers prefer the Bakken-to-Texas route, Calgary-based TransCanada would build that first.
“Changing the project would allow TransCanada to use existing pipe materials and rights-of-way. The company would apply later for federal permission to connect the pipeline to Canadian oil sands and complete Keystone XL as originally envisioned,” after it would be the last portion to be completed. I like the thinking. Build 80% of it, get it going, have all that oil being transported from Montana, North Dakota, down to the Gulf, have it show up, have it become part of the US economy, then add the Canadian end of it. The question there is, will the Canadians wait for us?
There is no requirement for a presidential permit to lay pipe anywhere in the United States, provided the line doesn’t extend across the border into Canada.
On the table is a segment between the oversupplied oil storage hub of Cushing, Okla., and Gulf Coast refining centres in Texas, as well as a longer line from Montana to the Gulf Coast, executives said Thursday.
“I think that clearly, with yesterday’s decision, we are now open to amending or changing our plans to building this in segments,” TransCanada chief executive Russ Girling told an investor conference in Whistler, B.C. “As we’ve said before, that’s dependent on the interest of our shippers in doing that.”
Building an Oklahoma-to-Texas section alone would cost TransCanada $2 billion, said Girling, who told investors the company has already spent $1.9 billion on the Keystone XL project…
Bill Day, a spokesman for Valero Energy Corp., said Valero is counting on heavy Canadian crude for its Gulf Coast refineries, where volumes from Mexico and South America are declining.
Many Coast refineries are tooled to receive heavy crude from Canada, not the light oil TransCanada would initially ship from Montana if it were to build that segment first. TransCanada can deliver 591,000 barrels per day of Canadian oil to Cushing on its existing Keystone pipeline.
A TransCanada line from Cushing to the Gulf Coast would compete with the Seaway pipeline reversal proposed by rival Enbridge Inc. and its partner Enterprise Products Partners LP. Seaway is scheduled to start delivering 150,000 barrels of oil per day from Cushing to the Gulf Coast on June 1, Enbridge CEO Pat Daniel said at the Whistler conference.
The Seaway line would transport up to 450,000 barrels per day by year end, he said, noting the companies are now gauging shipper support to boost capacity by twinning the line.
“This outcome is one of the scenarios we anticipated. While we are disappointed, TransCanada remains fully committed to the construction of Keystone XL. Plans are already underway on a number of fronts to largely maintain the construction schedule of the project,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer. “We will re-apply for a Presidential Permit and expect a new application would be processed in an expedited manner to allow for an in-service date of late 2014.”
TransCanada expects that consideration of a renewed application will make use of the exhaustive record compiled over the past three plus years.
“Until this pipeline is constructed, the U.S. will continue to import millions of barrels of conflict oil from the Middle East and Venezuela and other foreign countries who do not share democratic values Canadians and Americans are privileged to have,” added Girling. “Thousands of jobs continue to hang in the balance if this project does not go forward. This project is too important to the U.S. economy, the Canadian economy and the national interest of the United States for it not to proceed.”
Thousands of jobs hang in these decisions. Long live free thinkers!