Posts Tagged TransCanada
TransCanada Reapplies for Keystone Permit
May 4, 2012
TransCanada that it has submitted a new application for a permit for the northern portion of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that would bring Canadian tar-sands oil from Alberta to Steele City, Neb., reigniting the divisive political debate over the project.
“Our application for a Presidential Permit builds on more than three years of environmental review already conducted for Keystone XL,” TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said in a statement, noting that 10,000 pages of review documents have already been completed for the project. “It was the most comprehensive process ever for a cross-border pipeline and that work should allow our cross-border permit to be processed expeditiously and a decision made once a new route in Nebraska is determined.”
The Obama administration earlier this year denied a permit for TransCanada to build the full pipeline running from Canada down to the Gulf Coast, but President Obama did give the nod to the southern portion of the project, which will run from Cushing, Okla., to Port Arthur, Texas, to help ease a bottleneck in the nation’s pipeline system.
Since then, TransCanada has unveiled a new route for the northern portion of the pipeline that would go around the sensitive Sandhills region in Nebraska. Obama had delayed the project last fall because of environmental concerns about the route through Nebraska. The Nebraska Legislature and the state’s Republican governor, Dave Heineman, have signed off on legislation that will allow the company to work with Nebraska’s Department of Environmental Quality in finalizing this new route.
TransCanada said on Friday that it still plans to begin construction of the pipeline in the first quarter of 2013, noting the “firm, long-term” contracts the company has in place to carry more than 500,000 barrels of oil per day in the pipeline. TransCanada expects to begin construction of the $2.3 billion southern portion of the project this summer and complete it by mid to late 2013, with the full project’s completion slated for late 2014 or early 2015. The completed pipeline is meant to bring Canadian tar-sands oil as well as Bakken crude oil from Montana and North Dakota down to U.S. refineries along the Gulf Coast.
For its part, the State Department, which is tasked with evaluating the project because it crosses an international border, said that it has received TransCanada’s permit application and “will consider this new application on its merits.”
As it has in the past, the State Department said that it will be hiring a third-party contractor to assist the department in reviewing the existing Environmental Impact Statement for the pipeline project as well as any new analysis. In addition, State said that it plans to cooperate with the state of Nebraska and other local agencies in its process evaluating whether the pipeline is in the national interest. Nebraska’s own state review of the new route is expected to take six to nine months, according to the State Department.
State said that it will conduct its new review as efficiently as possible, using the existing analysis available from the company’s previous application and corresponding environmental review.
- TransCanada expected to reapply for Keystone pipeline permit as soon as Friday. (washingtonpost.com)
- TransCanada reapplies for Keystone XL permit (cbc.ca)
- US: TransCanada reapplies for oil pipeline (foxnews.com)
- TransCanada reapplies for Keystone XL permit (cbc.ca)
- US: TransCanada reapplies for oil pipeline (kansascity.com)
- TransCanada to reapply ‘imminently’ for Keystone XL permit (theglobeandmail.com)
- Report says TransCanada to reapply for Keystone XL imminently (ctv.ca)
- TransCanada reapplies for Keystone XL oil pipeline in U.S. (billingsgazette.com)
- Energy co. reapplies for Keystone XL oil pipeline (cbsnews.com)
- US: TransCanada reapplies for oil pipeline (newsok.com)
Pipeline from Canada to US Gulf Coast, Billions At Risk Or Reward
Posted: October 3, 2011
A decision is expected by the end of this year from the US State Department on whether or not the US will allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be built. TransCanada Corp. (NYSE: TRP) has proposed a $7 billion, 1,700+ mile pipeline to carry up to 500,000 barrels/day from the Alberta oil sands to the Gulf Coast of the US. Environmental groups have become more active in opposing the pipeline and no matter what the State Department decides, there is sure to be plenty of wailing from the losing side.
TransCanada stands to lose the most if the project is denied. The entire Keystone pipeline system is nearly fully contracted for a total of 900,000 barrels/day for an average term of 18 years. That is a big loss if the pipeline isn’t built. The largest producer in the oil sands is Syncrude, a joint venture that includes Imperial Oil Resources (wholly owned by Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM)), Suncor Energy Inc. (NYSE: SU), and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (NYSE: SNP) — Sinopec — among others. Other producers include ConocoPhillips Corp. (NYSE: COP), Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX), Murphy Oil Corp. (NYSE: MUR), Total SA (NYSE: TOT), Royal Dutch Shell plc (NYSE: RDS-A), BP plc. (NYSE: BP), and Devon Energy Corp. (NYSE: DVN).
These companies won’t lose everything because the bitumen from the oil sands will go somewhere, somehow. Unless, of course, the Canadian government decides to shut down every project in Alberta, and that simply will not happen. One of the big problems facing the producers now is that they’re crude is landlocked and sells at a substantial discount to WTI. For the week ending September 23rd, Heavy Hardesty grade crude sold for $78.28/barrel, while WTI sold for $80.29 and Brent sold for $109.17. Getting crude from Alberta to a coast, any coast, is critical for producers.
If the Keystone XL pipeline is killed, an expansion to an existing pipeline system to the US/Canadian west coast could take up some of the slack. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (NYSE: KMP) is investigating an expansion to its Trans Mountain system and Enbridge Inc. (NYSE: ENB) has already begun the permitting process for a similar pipeline to the west.
Another interesting development are proposals from both of Canada’s major railroads to construct a pipeline-by-rail from Alberta to west coast. And while nothing officially like a pipeline-by-rail has been proposed for the run to the US Gulf Coast, rail traffic has already increased substantially from North Dakota south to Cushing and, eventually producers hope, to the Gulf.
In July weekly US rail carloads of petroleum and petroleum products hit a four-year high, and the August total of about 7,400 carloads is even higher. A rail tanker holds about 1,500 barrels, so every day about 1.6 million barrels of petroleum is moving around on the US rail network. Add to that another half a million barrels a day from the oil sands and that puts about another 2,500 tanker cars on the rails every day.
There were 750 reported rail accidents involving hazardous materials in 2010. The odds of a significant oil spill rise if we add more oil transport by rail.
The same is true if the Canadian crude is moved by truck. Truck transportation by surface road is even more expensive and prone to accidents. There were nearly 12,000 road accidents involving hazardous materials in 2010. Besides being much more expensive, more tanker trucks carrying up to 300 barrels of oil each raises again the odds on an environmentally significant spill.
So while pipeline spills are a concern, rail and truck accidents are far more common. The Keystone XL pipeline should be held to a very high safety standard, but it is probably the safest way to move the most Canadian crude.
The argument that Canada should stop development and extraction in the oil sands may make more environmental sense, but until a large-scale alternative transportation fuel is available at a reasonable price, oil sands development will very likely continue. And moving that oil by pipeline is really the only sensible option.
- Pipeline from Canada to US Gulf Coast, Billions At Risk Or Reward (TRP, XOM, SU, SNP, COP, CVX, MUR, TOT, RDS-A, BP, DVN, KMP, ENB) (247wallst.com)
- Kinder Morgan Creates ‘The Exxon’ of Pipeline Companies (KMI, KMP, EP, EPB, EPD, XOM, CVX) (247wallst.com)
- Oil Sands Pipeline Under Increasing Fire (TRP, COP, SU, TOT, RDS-A, XOM, BP) (247wallst.com)
- Pay Attention to Apache’s Earnings Beat (fool.com)
- Apache Garners a Bargain in the North Sea (APA, XOM, APC, CVX, COP, OXY, DVN, BP) (247wallst.com)
- Cheap BP No Longer Stands for “Big Problems” (dailyfinance.com)
- China to Begin Serious Hunt for Shale Gas (SNP, PTR, CEO, RDS-A, CVX, BP, STO, HAL, SLB, BHI, NOV, DVN, CHK) (thenewspundit.com)
- The Great Shale Gas Opportunity in China For Outsiders (BHI, HAL, SLB, NOV, CHK, DVN, SNP, CEO, PTR, RDS-A, CVX, BP) (247wallst.com)
November 11, 2011
In 2010, US refineries took delivery of about 5.4 billion barrels of crude oil. Of that total, more than 50%, 2.8 billion barrels, arrived at the refineries by pipeline. The US petroleum pipeline system comprises about 170,000 miles of pipe carrying both crude oil and refined products. The Keystone XL pipeline, proposed by TransCanada Corp. (NYSE: TRP), would add about 1,700 more miles to the system, and would ultimately transport about 1.1 million barrels of synthetic crude from Alberta to the US Gulf Coast.
A decision on the pipeline was due last December, but it was delayed due to a request from the US EPA to the US State Department for a new environmental review. That review has been completed, but now the State Department appears to be bowing to pressure to consider an alternative route for the pipeline as a result of concerns raised by Nebraska farmers and environmentalists about the effect of the proposed route on the environment and, especially, the vast Ogallala acquifer that provides water to a large portion of the state. A decision on the project, which was due by the end of this year, has now been delayed until after the 2012 US presidential election.
Environmental objections to the pipeline fall into two basic groups: first, mining the oil sands is an environmental disaster and should be stopped; and second, transporting the synthetic crude by pipeline to the US is too great an environmental risk.
The first objection raises the ire of Canadian officials who don’t believe that “outsiders” have any business telling them how to run their country. The counter-argument is that stopping an environmental disaster, wherever it is taking place, is everyone’s business. There’s little question that mining the oil sands requires vast amounts of water and energy, both of which Canada appears willing to spend.
As to the second objection, Canada is determined to send its synthetic crude somewhere, and if it is not to be the US, then the country will build a pipeline to the west coast and export the oil by ship to Asia. There has also been some chatter about reversing an east-to-west pipeline to carry the synthetic crude to Canada’s east coast.
Canada’s finance minister has said that the new delay jeopardizes the viability of the entire $7 billion project. Two other pipeline companies, Enbridge Inc. (NYSE: ENB) and Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI), are either proposing a new pipeline to the west coast (Enbridge’s Northern Gateway) or expanding an existing pipeline to carry more crude (Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain). Canada is clearly committed to producing the oil sands, and if the US is not interested in the synthetic crude, then the country will just sell it elsewhere.
US resistance to the project could be mitigated by a route change to avoid the environmentally sensitive area in Nebraska, but that may not be enough to mollify US protesters who want mining in the oil sands to stop completely. At this time next year, their success in getting a delay could well encourage further protests to kill the pipeline altogether. TransCanada and the Canadian government may not be willing to wait to find out.
To some degree, TransCanada is partially responsible for the delays for failing to recognize or respond to the issues raised in Nebraska. Merely saying that the Keystone XL will be really safe and that any spills will be cleaned up quickly and thoroughly is not much comfort when the water supply for more than a million people is at stake. A modest shift in the proposed route could have moved the pipeline farther east, where it could have run through the same right-of-way as the existing pipeline. There could be some reason that wouldn’t work, but there’s no evidence that TransCanada even considered it.
The US needs (or at least is expected to consume) the oil carried by the Keystone XL pipeline, and that oil will get here one way or another. By tanker, if from a non-North American source, or by rail or truck if from Canada. A pipeline moves much more crude much more safely than any other method of transport. It would be foolish for the US to prevent the Keystone XL pipeline from being built. So far, though, the fools seem to be in charge.
- Washington To Explore Alternate Route For The Controversial Keystone XL Pipeline (TRP) (businessinsider.com)
- U.S. delays Keystone pipeline until after 2012 (marketwatch.com)
- Looking at Keystone XL: What’s in the Pipe? (indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com)
- Why The $7 Billion Keystone XL Pipeline Is The Most Controversial Business Venture In America (TRP) (businessinsider.com)
- Keystone XL pipeline project still likely to proceed, analyst says (thestar.com)
- Keystone XL (uw20sciencemediaandculture.wordpress.com)
- Come Saturday Morning: Goodbye Keystone XL, Hello Flanagan, IL? (firedoglake.com)
- U.S. likely to pursue new Keystone XL pipeline route (news.nationalpost.com)
- TransCanada’s Keystone I Oil Pipeline Restarts After ‘Mechanical Issues’ (huffingtonpost.com)
- U.S. officials mull new route for Keystone XL pipeline (ctv.ca)