An executive with TransCanada expects the Keystone XL oil pipeline to be built, eventually. But, if it can’t get the needed permit to cross the border, it will move on to other markets.
TransCanada President for Energy and Oil Pipelines Alex Pourbaix says President Obama’s denial of the Keystone XL pipeline permit caught Canada by surprise.
“I think that our government was quite surprised by the decision of the State Department to deny the permit,” Pourbaix tells Kevin Thomas with Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN’s Drive Time Lincoln.
Pourbaix says the oil sands of western Canada will be the economic driver of Canada’s economy the next 50 years. Rumors have surfaced that TransCanada, spurned by the United States, has turned its attention to building an oil pipeline to the west, to ship oil to China. Pourbaix believes the United States remains the best market.
“But in the event the U.S. is precluded as a market from Canadian crude, then Canada is going to find a market and the obvious market, given the proximity, would be the Chinese market and the Pacific Rim,” according to Pourbaix.
Pourbaix remains optimistic Keystone XL will receive its needed permit. He bases that optimism on the reason given for denial, that the State Department didn’t have enough time to fully evaluate the application, not on the pipeline’s merits.
Work to settle on a new route in Nebraska continues, according to Pourbaix. He says the state Department of Environmental Quality estimates a new route around the Sand Hills could be chosen by September. Pourbaix believes it’s likely to take until October.
Kevin Thomas, KLIN, contributed to this report.
AUDIO: Kevin Thomas interviews TransCanada’s Alex Pourbaix on KLIN’s Drive Time Lincoln [14 min]