TransCanada moving ahead on Keystone XL line

TransCanada pushes forward with Keystone XL pipeline

"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", said Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and CEO.

The Alberta government stepped in to commit 50,000 barrels a day for the project from some of the royalty payments the province accepts as barrels of oil, with Notley spokesperson Cheryl Oates saying it will help the industry. That decision has been challenged in federal court by environmentalists and landowners.

Pipeline opponents, meanwhile, said the commitments to the project so far are "shockingly weak" and an indication the pipeline lacks support from the Canadian oilpatch.

Meanwhile, in Montana, the pipeline already faces a legal challenge by environmental groups, who assert the project can not be granted a permit without an update of its five-year-old Environmental Impact Statement. A decision on that question, expected in December, was delayed.

She said that the company is seeking the necessary permits for water crossings.

The company has time because heavy construction isn't slated to begin until 2019. Terry Cunha, with TransCanada, has said previously there is no change planned to the pipeline's 284-mile route across eastern Montana to South Dakota.

Bob Skinner, an executive fellow at the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy, said Alberta's commitment of barrels to Keystone XL likely enhanced confidence among other shippers but he doubted it was a tipping point for the project.

The Keystone XL was first proposed almost a decade ago, and was originally scuttled by then-President Barack Obama in 2015.

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Rogers said the construction of the pipeline would be especially good news for western Canada oil producers, who have struggled to obtain affordable transport for their oil to refineries.

But Patrick DeRochie of Toronto-based Environmental Defence, which opposes the pipeline, said that pipelines don't generally move forward until they get at least a commitment of 80 percent of a pipeline's capacity.

TransCanada (TSE:TRP) traded down C$0.02 during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching C$59.82.

TransCanada officials have said the XL pipeline would generate tens of millions of dollars in local tax revenue.

"The government needs to ditch the prehistoric energy positions and start getting Alberta back on track by investing in technologies and energies of the future, not the past", said Greenpeace campaigner Mike Hudema in a statement. "The government's commitment is expected to result in this pipeline being built", Ms. Oates said in an e-mail to the Globe and Mail.

The Keystone XL is created to carry crude oil from the tar sands mines of northern Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast, where refineries are set up to handle the thick tar sand oil.

Last March, the U.S. State Department approved the project in a reversal of its decision two years ago.

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