With or Without Keystone XL, Canadian Oil Will Flow

Feb 7, 2013

Russ Girling, CEO of TransCanada. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg.

TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline project, isn’t waiting for the administration to approve the pipeline. They’re determined to move Canadian oil to global markets and have proposed a pipeline project going east:

Canada’s second-largest pipeline company proposes to ship oil 3,000 miles (4,825 kilometers) to the Atlantic Coast, allowing producers to send it by tanker to the Gulf, Girling said yesterday in an interview at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters. While he expects U.S. passage of Keystone “very soon,” the East Coast route makes sense in any event because of rising production from Alberta, Girling said.

“It’s not a Plan B, it’s a Plan A, and it will go if the market supports it, along with Keystone,” Girling said in the interview. “Once you get on tidewater, you can get anywhere, and you don’t need a presidential permit to bring oil into the Gulf Coast.”

As long as it’s economical to produce the oil out of the ground, Canada will do so. That could be east, west, or south. It’s up to the administration to decide if it wants the jobs and economic growth from to benefit the United States.

In related news, the science journal Nature endorsed the Keystone XL pipeline and shoots down a few arguments from anti-energy environmentalists:

[T]he administration should face down critics of the project, ensure that environmental standards are met and then approve it. As Nature has suggested before (see Nature 477, 249; 2011), the pipeline is not going to determine whether the Canadian tar sands are developed or not. Only a broader — and much more important — shift in energy policy will do that. Nor is oil produced from the Canadian tar sands as dirty from a climate perspective as many believe (some of the oil produced in California, without attention from environmentalists, is worse).Tar-sands development raises serious air- and water-quality issues in Canada, but these problems are well outside Obama’s jurisdiction.

Reasons to reject the Keystone XL pipeline continue to crumble.

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