August 27, 2014

TransCanada says oil will flow south with or without Keystone XL (AUDIO)

A TransCanada executive believes the latest environmental study of the Keystone XL oil pipeline should clear the way for the project.

But, even if the project does not win its coveted presidential permit, oil will be extracted from the oil sands of western Canada and shipped to the Gulf of Mexico.

TransCanada President of Energy and Oil Pipelines, Alex Pourbaix, says the final environmental study released by the State Department Friday concedes that even if Keystone XL isn’t built, oil will be extracted from the oil sands of Alberta.

“(The study) comes to some pretty strong conclusions that in the event the project were denied the oil would still get to the market. It would just get there by less safely and more costly means,” Pourbaix tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.

Opponents of Keystone XL have insisted that if President Barack Obama would deny TransCanada a permit to cross the Canadian border with the pipeline, it would end production of oil from oil sands. Opponents contend the extraction process of oil sands, which they call tar sands, releases more greenhouse emissions that normal oil production. Their simple call has been: kill the pipeline, kill oil sands production.

Pourbaix says that if there is no Keystone XL pipeline, oil from western Canada will be shipped by train or truck, likely to the southern portion of the pipeline, which runs from Steele City, Nebraska to Cushing, Oklahoma, on to refineries along the Gulf Coast in Texas.

TransCanada has asked for a presidential permit to build the oil pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City; an 875 miles pipeline that will cost more than $5.4 billion to build.

Pourbaix says TransCanada is confident the project will win its presidential permit after the public comment period, which follows the release of the final environmental impact study.

“It looks to me like we will be in position before the summer, hopefully we’ll have a decision finally after the better part of six years of environmental review,” Pourbaix says.

Kevin Thomas, KLIN, contributed to this report.

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:50]