TransCanada still ‘ fully committed’ to Keystone XL pipeline bid
- 10 Nov 2016
- Saskatoon StarPhoenix
- GEOFFREY MORGAN
TransCanada still ‘ fully committed’ to pipeline bid
CALGARY The controversial Keystone XL pipeline, all but dead under U.S. President Barack Obama, may find new life under president elect Donald Trump.
TransCanada Corp. said Wednesday it is considering how to pitch the newly elected president on the benefits of the proposed, and denied, pipeline that would give oilsands crude better access to U.S. markets.
“We are evaluating ways to engage the new administrations on the benefits, the jobs and the tax revenues this project brings to the table,” TransCanada spokesperson Mark Cooper said in an email. He said the company “remains fully committed to building Keystone XL.”
TransCanada shares rose almost three per cent to $59.96 in Toronto trading Wednesday on speculation the president-elect will approve the 1,900-kilometre pipeline after his inauguration.
Trump said during the campaign he would “absolutely approve it, 100 per cent,” but also said he would demand a greater financial return for the U.S. in exchange for the approvals.
Tim Pickering, president and chief investment officer at Calgary based Auspice Capital, said Trump signalled during the campaign that TransCanada should re-apply for permits to build the pipeline, but “there’s a big caveat that (he’s) going to extract a pound of flesh.”
“Unfortunately for TransCanada, they’ve had a lot of flesh extracted already,” Pickering said.
The project faced years of regulatory delays under Obama, who eventually denied the project a presidential permit in November 2015. In response, TransCanada filed a $15-billion North American Free Trade Agreement challenge and lawsuit attempting to nullify Obama’s decision.
In opposition to Obama’s delays, Republican lawmakers had attempted to push Keystone XL approvals through Congress and now will have another chance to do so after winning control of both houses Tuesday night.
Prominent Canadian conservatives such as Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and former prime minister Stephen Harper took to social media to express their support for the $8-billion Keystone XL pipeline, which would deliver 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Western Canada and North Dakota to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has supported the pipeline, while interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose urged Trudeau in a statement Wednesday to move quickly to push the project forward.