Strong commercial support advances Keystone XL pipeline project to construction preparation

TransCanada Corporation announced it has successfully concluded the Keystone XL pipeline open season, securing approximately 500,000 barrels per day of firm 20-year commitments, positioning the proposed project to proceed, according to a press release.

TransCanada says interest in the project remains strong and the company will look to continue to secure additional long-term contracted volumes.

Today’s announcement builds on the Nov. 20, 2017 decision by the Nebraska Public Service Commission to approve the Keystone XL route through the state.

“Over the past 12 months, the Keystone XL project has achieved several milestones that move us significantly closer to constructing this critical energy infrastructure for North America,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer.

Construction preparation has commenced and will increase as the permitting process advances throughout 2018, with primary construction expected to begin in 2019.

“We thank President Donald Trump and his administration for their continued support and appreciate the ongoing efforts of Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, the Nebraska legislative and congressional delegation, Omaha Federation of Labor, Nebraska State AFL-CIO, our customers and various stakeholders to advance this project,” added Girling.

TransCanada says it is continuing outreach in the communities where the pipeline will be constructed and is working collaboratively with landowners in an open and transparent way to obtain the necessary easements for the approved route.

“Furthermore, we appreciate Alberta Premier Rachel Notley for her government’s commitment to the project which was instrumental to achieving the commercial support needed to proceed,” concluded Girling.

The Alberta Government is committing to 50,000 barrels a day for 20 years under the Alberta Petroleum Marketing Commission, a provincial Crown corporation.  It’s backing Keystone XL to help ensure the pipeline goes ahead and to with a strategy to ease the differential between the prices of Canadian heavy oil and benchmark U.S. crude, according to the FinancialPost.

“We’re pleased to be making this commitment to bring more Alberta oil to the world and expect it means Keystone XL will be built,” said Notley in a statement.

Keystone XL has been mired in controversy since it was first proposed about 10 years ago.  Environmentalists have made the pipeline a symbol of their fight against fossil fuels and global warming.

Bold Nebraska, the Cornhusker state’s main anti-pipeline group, is gearing up to fight TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline project which was recently approved by Nebraska regulators.

The head of Bold Nebraska, Jane Kleeb, says her group is meeting with the affected landowners and hopes to rally opposition against the pipeline.

“We hope to begin the education process with landowners so they understand this is a lifetime easement for a one-time payment,” she told Reuters. “We aim to engage at least 20 per cent of the new landowners in the legal landowner group.”

Bold Nebraska says it has signed up about 100 landowners along the original route against Keystone XL.  The group says a number of ranchers, concerned about spills poisoning their cattle have voiced opposition to the project.