TransCanada says it will proceed with the $8 billion Keystone XL project.
TransCanada spokeswoman Robynn Tysver says the company has secured 20-year commitments for 500,000 barrels of crude oil a day.
“I’m calling it a benchmark moment,” Tysver tells Nebraska Radio Network. “In the last couple of months, we have received a route from the Nebraska Public Service Commission and today we’re announcing that we have secured the 20-year contracts, commitments from our shippers needed to move forward with this project. Today, the news is there’s a need for this project.”
TransCanada claims interest in the project remains strong and that it will look to secure additional long-term contracts for it.
Tysver says the company is contacting landowners along the approved route, securing the easements needed to build Keystone XL through Nebraska.
“It’s no secret we wanted another route,” Tysver says. “We had another route chosen, but the Nebraska Public Service Commission determined that what we’re calling the mainline alternative route is in the state’s best interest and we’ve accepted that decision.”
Tysver says, at present, the company plans to begin construction next year.
“That is our hope,” Tysver says. “There’s still a few more things left to do. So, we’re not saying definitively we’re going to start construction next year, but we are gearing up for it and we’re moving forward with the idea that we will proceed next year.”
Tysver declines to speculate whether the project will face further legal obstacles.
The PSC in November rejected the route preferred by TransCanada and, instead, approved an alternative route through Nebraska.
President Trump gave a presidential permit for TransCanada to complete Keystone XL after President Obama denied it a permit.
The southern portion of Keystone XL is in operation from Oklahoma City to oil refineries along the Gulf Coast in Texas. TransCanada proposes building a 36-inch pipeline from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska. It would carry crude oil made from the oil sands in western Canada.