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Archive for Tuesday, March 22, 2011

TransCanada: More U.S. scrutiny won’t increase pipeline construction cost

March 22, 2011

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— The multibillion-dollar cost of a proposed pipeline designed to carry Canadian crude to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast won't increase if the project succeeds in getting U.S. approval by the end of the year, the company building the pipeline says.

The U.S. State Department announced last week that it planned additional environmental scrutiny of TransCanada Corp.'s 1,980-mile-long Keystone XL project before making a decision on the project before the end of the year.

Terry Cunha, a spokesman for the Calgary-based company, said the cost of the Keystone XL project remains pegged at $7 billion.

"Our impression is that we'll have a decision by the end of the year," Cunha said. "If we get a decision later, we would have to do a recalculation."

A presidential permit from the State Department is required because the pipeline would cross the U.S.-Canadian border.

TransCanada first submitted its Keystone XL project for State Department review in late 2008. The project is designed to carry crude oil from tar sands near Hardisty, Alberta, to the Gulf Coast via Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The company announced in January that it also planned to move crude from oil fields in Montana and North Dakota.

Cunha said Monday that the company had not received any additional queries about the project since the State Department's decision last week requiring additional review.

"We feel very comfortable we will be able to address anything further they may have to ask," Cunha said.

TransCanada had hoped to win approval for the Keystone XL by the end of 2010.

The project is the second phase of a $13 billion underground pipeline network designed to move 1.5 million barrels of Canadian oil daily to U.S. refineries. TransCanada won approval three years ago for the first Keystone pipeline, which carries crude oil across Saskatchewan and Manitoba and through North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois. That portion began moving crude in June.

The initial Keystone project took 22 months to win State Department approval, while the Keystone XL has now been under review for about 28 months.

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