New Keystone plan splits pipeline in parts

WASHINGTON – Trans-Canada Corp. said Monday it would seek to start building the southern segment of its Keystone XL pipeline while it prepares to file a new application for U.S. approval of a cross-border pipeline to import Canadian crude oil.

The company said it would first start building a segment from the storage hub of Cushing, Okla., to Gulf Coast refineries in Texas, citing the need to alleviate an ongoing supply glut at Cushing by providing an outlet for the oil to get to the Gulf.

The company also said it would soon reapply with the U.S. State Department for a permit for the border-crossing segment from Canada’s tar-sands region to Steele City, Neb. An existing pipeline segment links Steele City and Cushing.

TransCanada said it would reapply after the Obama administration denied a permit last month but left the door open for a new application. The administration’s decision prompted Republicans to push legislation, which is pending in Congress, to approve the cross-border permit.

TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said in a statement that the $2.3 billion southern segment, which would go to Port Arthur and Houston, would need various regulatory approvals but not from the State Department, which handles only the border-crossing part. The company hopes to bring the southern part online by mid- to late 2013.

He said TransCanada, which aims to have the entire Keystone XL pipeline online by early 2015, hopes the State Department will do a faster review by using three years of accumulated information from the previous application.

TransCanada already operates its Keystone pipeline, which runs from Canada through the Midwest, ending in Illinois.

Environmental concern

In denying the permit for the Keystone XL project, the State Department said a Feb. 21 congressionally imposed deadline didn’t allow enough time to assess alternative routes avoiding Nebraska’s environmentally sensitive Sandhills region, which sits atop a drinking-water aquifer.

Some Nebraskans and environmental activists raised concerns about the pipeline’s potential impact, including a possible spill, on land and water supplies.

The company said Monday it plans to supplement its new application with a new route avoiding the Sandhills once the Nebraska government signs off on it.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Barack Obama welcomes the plan for the southern segment because “moving oil from the Midwest to the world-class, state-of-the-art refineries on the Gulf Coast will modernize our infrastructure, create jobs and encourage American energy production.”

Keystone XL would carry up to 700,000 barrels of Canadian crude a day while providing the additional pipeline capacity needed to move growing U.S. production to Gulf Coast refineries, TransCanada says.

Keystone XL’s oil would replace declining volumes of oil from Mexico and South America, said Bill Day, spokesman for San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp., whose Port Arthur refinery would benefit from the pipeline. “We’re hopeful the project will go through,” Day said.

As for the cross-border segment, Carney said: “We will ensure any project receives the important assessment it deserves, and will base a decision to provide a permit on the completion of that review.”

Republicans’ bill

Earlier this month, the GOP-controlled House passed a bill that would bypass the State Department and authorize the cross-border pipeline. The bill, part of a larger energy-infrastructure package, faces long odds in the Democratic-held Senate.

Republicans point to the jobs and oil Keystone XL could bring. But many Democrats and environmentalists claim that government analyses show it wouldn’t change the future growth of U.S. imports of Canadian crude.

They also call the jobs claims inflated and say the few permanent jobs Keystone XL would create aren’t justified by pollution and climate risks associated with Canadian oil-sands crude, which is viscous and dense and requires more energy to extract than conventional oil does.

puneet.kollipara@chron.com

49 Comments

  1. Ham Guy

    The protesters are being fed a lot of misinformation from the greenie wienies. Let’s get the pipe line built before they decide to send all of the oil to China.

    #1
  2. MikeTx

    If you live in Pasadena, Baytown, Deer Park or LaPorte
    You better understand what you are getting into…
    The Pollution level increases 300% refining this muddy crude.
    They are going to refine this to make diesel..not gasoline..

    All my facts are coming from the ROLLING STONE / TIME MAGAZINE
    investigation

    #2
  3. SPENDMONEY

    The move by TransCanada had been expected ever since the Obama administration rejected a permit in January but left the door open for a new application.

    The State Department said a Feb. 21, congressionally imposed decision deadline, didn’t allow enough time for studying alternative routes
    ………
    WOW!!! Speaking out of both sides of the mouth at the same time. So Obama rejected the pipeline but the State rejected the pipeline. What!
    …..
    Obama did not reject the pipeline. Big fat lies have been heard from NoBoner Speaker of the House as to who rejected the pipeline. Funny thing no one talks about the permanent tax cuts pork the Republicans added.

    #3
  4. txloanguy

    Rolling Stone? Mike, you are stretching. Keep abreast of the emission reduction innovations being used now. The idiots spreading this garbage are self serving greenies.

    #4
  5. TexRob

    MikeTx: Rollingstone magazine there is a great source to reference when talking about oil pipelines…

    #5
  6. DavidinPearland

    Hey Mike Tx,
    Your facts come from Rolling Stone/Time??
    Give me a break on the accuracy on those two rag mags!!!!!!!
    Keystone is one of the best chances we have to start producing oil on this side of the world!!!!!!

    #6
  7. MikeTx is an idiot

    MikeTx you have no idea what you’re talking about. Oh yeah, you’re quoting Rolling Stone and Time Magazine! The refineries in Texas were made to process the heavier crude coming from Venezuela and such. Regardless, the refineries HAVE TO COMPLY with EPA regulations regardless of the mix of crude they refine.

    #7
  8. westsidebill

    MikeinTX: I go to Rolling Stone for all my energy policy and investigation needs too!

    This is just another power play by the President – anyone who believes it’s anything else is not paying attention. The sad thing is, he’s under no immediate pressure to reverse course either, considering the weakness of the entire Republican Party on a national level – and magnified in the Presidential primaries battle of the mediocre. Politically, he really can’t be in a much better position, IMO. Barring complete economic collapse in our country, it won’t be changing for awhile.

    #8
  9. Zatara

    The hope is that it will create jobs. Unfortunately, TC can’t seem to make up its mind if this will create 350-500 jobs, as they said two years ago in their initial application; or, if it will create “thousands” as they are telling the media today.

    #9
  10. Katy

    ah yes, because the Rolling Stone magazine is a bastion of facts regarding refining. :rolleyes:

    #10
  11. Rod Johnson

    Ham,

    The refined products from this pipeline will be exported to Europe and Latin America with almost none remaining in the US. Is that acceptable?

    #11
  12. Skew2

    MikeTX, get your facts strait, the crude coming to Texas is no dirtier than the crude we currently receive from Venezuela. Extraction from the sand is what is going to produce the most pollution, and that will be in Canada.

    #12
  13. Mike

    Jay Carney, White House spokesman, said President Obama “welcomes” the plan to build the Cushing-Gulf segment, saying that “moving oil from the Midwest to the world-class, state-of-the-art refineries on the Gulf Coast will modernize our infrastructure, create jobs, and encourage American energy production.”

    Lying sack of dirt. They studied the damn thing for 3 years, agreed to re-route through Nebraska then obama said he didn’t have enough time to study the plan so he had no choice but to shut it down. Where are all the screaming libs now? Remember how high gas prices were the fault of Bush and Cheney and they should be skinned alive? Now obama says there’s really not much he can do about oil prices and these pundits and self described experts say nothing???? Yes there is something he can do, he can get the hell out the way. He must be defeated in November.

    #13
  14. MikeTx, and then they will ship it everywhere that does not want their land polluted. I wonder why they don’t refine it up there or somewhere else, guess nobody else is that stupid and don’t you company boys tell me there are no refineries. If not, f’ing build one, it’s not like you won’t turn a profit, I’m sure they could figure out a way to manipulate the funds for that also.

    #14
  15. Dweezil

    So all the scare stuff by the O&G industry is false. There is a work around the Nebraska problem and it’s being done. Great, the sky is not falling.

    #15
  16. jrod

    @Hamguy….newsflash, once refined in Texas, the oil will be exported to China anyway. I know the truth isn’t what you guys like to hear but this whole myth that oil is going to be our saving grace and we’re going to drill to be able to sustain ourselves is delusional and idiotic at best.

    #16
  17. jrod

    I’d trust an investigative report by qualified reporters from Rolling Stone/Time magazine over “werd of mouth from bubba and them down at the plant” or a local Houston paper anyday.

    #17
  18. richard

    “Fundamentally, demand continues to drop. This means that this entire rally is being driven by speculation.”

    oilprice.com
    http://oilprice.com/Energy/Oil-Prices/Crude-Oil-Analysis-for-the-Week-of-February-27-2012.html

    #18
  19. Bigvic

    All of you folks screaming build it ever wonder why they just don’t build a pipeline across Canada to the Pacific? It’s because the Canadian people would not allow approval of a pipeling that carries this type of oil across the Canada wilderness. They have based there rejection of the pipeline on enviromental concerns. If you understand that and we don’t, what does that say about the us.

    #19
  20. bobj998

    I don’t believe that any rational person believes that the pipeline won’t be built. The blockage in Nebraska will require that the line be longer, but basically that is the only hold up.

    #20
  21. Sterling Minor

    There is NO DOUBT the entire pipeline will be built. The only question is the specific route. It is a potential danger to life and limb, so it must be properly vetted. Obviously, the three years taken so far did not get all the vetting done, even if the due diligence fact-gathering was completed (or not). Some people plan a trip for months and pack well ahead of time; other people calendar a vacation months ahead of time and pack on the day of the flight. Both take the vacation. Neither is immoral.

    #21
  22. richard

    TransCanada changed the route through Nebraska in Nov.2011. Everyone, including the Republicans in congress, knew that it was technically impossible to approve the new route in Feb. 2012.

    #22
  23. KAVE
    #23
  24. Pipster83

    Hey MkeTx you must not know much about economics. It doesn’t matter if they are using this crude to make diesel instead of gasoline bc the two have a direct effect on each others price. what do you think carries gasoline to the pumps??? deisel engined tanker. What do you think runs the compressors, generators,etc within the refineries? Desiel. If the price of one goes down then the other follows as it will cost less to refine and transport.

    #24
  25. clr55

    I for one would love to see the tar sands go to one of the world’s most environmentally responsible countries for refining. China comes to mind.

    #25
  26. dr

    Guess who sends a lot of money to the Obama camp? Warren Buffet is the name. He also stands to make a lot of money with the rail road he owns transporting the Canadian oil to Beaumont/Houston area to be refined. Guess where Warren Buffet lives? You guessed it, Omaha, Nebraska

    #26
  27. Mark from Louisiana

    KAVE you are quoting a Sally Kohn article, she is just a liberal parrot head, whatever George Soros tells her to put in her columns, she does just like the boss says. And I thought the guy who linked to Rolling Stone was out of the park, you beat him.

    #27
  28. Hotshot007

    It is uncertain IF the Keystone XL Pipeline will qualify as a ‘public purpose’ under The Texas State Constitution, Article I, § 17, and/or as held by the Supreme Court of Texas:

    “Private property is constitutionally protected, and a private enterprise cannot acquire condemnation power merely by checking boxes on a one-page form.”

    SCOT# 09-0901, TEXAS RICE LAND PARTNERS, LTD. AND MIKE LATTA, v DENBURY GREEN PIPELINE-TEXAS, LLC, (supreme.courts.state.tx.us/historical/2011/aug/090901.pdf)

    It is absolutely CLEAR that the Keystone XL Pipeline group has avoided any binding public disclosure of their project, purposes and intents. WE look forward to seeing the relevant details, because the Devil is always in the details.

    #28
  29. Bob in Champions

    I’m a “screaming liberal” and was hoping there would be an agreement to allow Keystone XL to happen by now. But, I guess there need to be some backroom deals cut to get it to happen. It’d add thousands of jobs to an area that needs it like few places in the Southern U.S.

    In fact, the only reason the Golden Triangle doesn’t have an unemployment rate like that of Flint, MI and Scranton, PA is that people (like myself) moved away searching for jobs.

    #29
  30. Peeper

    Come on everyone. Give Mike a break. Everyone knows Rolling Stone is a reliable source…when it comes to weed!!!

    #30
  31. Pipeliner

    Why do you continue to post pictures of those jerks who oppose the pipeline? If someone protests anything – anything – it seems you in the media feel the need to give them face time, no matter the reason. That’s not news reporting; that’s pandering and, above all else, an attempt to stir up controversy and sell newspapers.

    #31
  32. Oil Patch 41

    OK, so what if a part of the refined products are exported. It helps our trade balance. Look at US consumption it is going down so if the refineries are to operate at full capacity then the products need to go somewhere. I wonder if anyone ever does any research before they post here or anywhere else, most post just seem to be a knee jerk for or against the issue no matter what. FYI there are already over 50000 miles of pipelines in the US today. How many spills or other accidents have we had in the last decade? Very few and they are for the most part not even reported. Anyone notice that 3 refineries in the NE are being shut down? Due to profitability, it would cost more to upgrade them to meet EPA requirments than to shut them down.

    #32
  33. txloanguy

    Obama wants to embrace this pipeline now. It’s election time. Wait till he wins and he rescinds the approval. What a dork.

    #33
  34. MikeTx

    Thank you Kave… The Rolling Stone article DID say that EXXON and SHELL were pushing this big time to export the refined product over seas and to S America. It has nothing to do with easing our oil dependancy.
    I thought I would never see FOX NEWS get anything right…

    #34
  35. Ridge

    MikeTx your post is just a joke right? Rolling Stone magazine as a source in arguing against a pipeline.

    #35
  36. Ridge

    Bigvic, it says US engineers are superior to canadian engineers.

    #36
  37. Jackalope

    SPENDMONEY, Civics 101 will tell you the State Dept. gets its order from the President. That’s why the Sec. of State is a cabinet office. If the State Dept. rejected the permit, it’s because the POTUS told them to.

    #37
  38. Jackalope

    Bigvic
    February 27, 2012, 1:27 PM
    All of you folks screaming build it ever wonder why they just don’t build a pipeline across Canada to the Pacific?
    ===================
    Two reasons: refineries and mountains. We have the refining capacity down here; Canada doesn’t. And there are no mountains to cross from Alberta to the GC.

    #38
  39. It is uncertain IF the Keystone XL Pipeline will qualify as a ‘public purpose’ under The Texas State Constitution, Article I, § 17, and/or as held by the Supreme Court of Texas:

    “Private property is constitutionally protected, and a private enterprise cannot acquire condemnation power merely by checking boxes on a one-page form.”

    SCOT# 09-0901, TEXAS RICE LAND PARTNERS, LTD. AND MIKE LATTA, v DENBURY GREEN PIPELINE-TEXAS, LLC, (supreme.courts.state.tx.us/historical/2011/aug/090901.pdf)

    It is absolutely CLEAR that the Keystone XL Pipeline group has avoided any binding public disclosure of their project, purposes and intents. WE look forward to seeing the relevant details, because the Devil is always in the details.

    #39
  40. ClearAndPresentThinking

    Ham Guy “Let’s get the pipe line built before they decide to send all of the oil to China.”

    I believe that is the REAL plan. Refining near the coast if just a subterfuge to get the pipeline close to ports for shipping out.

    #40
  41. Actually, Rolling Stone DOES have an outstanding record of good journalism exposé of corporate and political misdeeds.

    Rolling Stone accurately portrayed Goldman Sachs, Rick Perry, TEPCO nuclear disaster and the BP Macondo blowout.

    Rolling Stone exposés are top quality

    #41
  42. mikebone one

    You supporters of this industry are fools.
    Spare me any of that you must be an out of state commie crap- I live off of Exxon stock paid to my family from the Humble buy out. know the insides and out of the wenergy industry like the back of my hand.
    We ran a great biz, but the diff was my dad could tell you the first name of every Katy Rice Farmer we leased from. And that lead to a sensitivity that you almightty buck children cannot fathom- yet we made our fair share and more.
    Shit fuel that will neither helping this place or this country- but that’s OK, all anyone needs to tell you imbilciles it will get you a new TV or save you a shiney bright penny at the pump and you dance like puppets in the wind.

    #42
  43. Betty

    The CEO of Trans Continental has already testified under oath before Congress that not one drop of that Tax Free Texas Refined Canadian Sludge will be sold to USA consumers at any discounted rate. All of that refined oil will be sold and exported to the highest bidder on the World Spot Market.
    Canada wants to use the USA as a utility easement ..plain and simple…so that their product can be refined in Texas TAX FREE…and then exported abroad.
    Yes..we can have some of that oil…if we pay the same high bidder rate as anyone else.
    So…what are the benefits to the USA?? NONE…other than a few temporary jobs …won’t even dent the unemployment figures.
    This is all a bunch of Right Wing Hog Wash….and I, for one, ain’t in the market for any hogs today.

    #43
  44. harr1234

    Hey Keystone Radicals what part of NO do you not understand. The American People do not want another petroleum pipeline crossing this country. We have done that and been there in Alaska. We need an energy policy which needs to include:
    1. Conservation
    2. Renewable Energies wind,solar, hydro, gasohol, nitrogen and nuclear.

    Drilling and producing more fossil fuels is not going to get America where we need to be. We need to be honest with the American People that fossil fuels are at their maximum and more drilling and processing will not solve the inevitable that we will run out of fossil fuel so lets move on to other investments. Instead of a pipeline from Canada to Houston lets build a line of windmills from Canada to Houston. There would be less opposition to such a venture and it would be less disruptive to the environment.

    #44
  45. The USA Constitution has similar ‘WORDS’.

    Texas State Constitution, Article I, § 17:

    “No person’s property shall be taken, damaged or destroyed for or applied to public use without adequate compensation being made, unless by the consent of such person, and, when taken, except for the use of the State, such compensation shall be first made, or secured by deposit of money; and no irrevocable or uncontrollable grant of special privileges or immunities shall be made; but all privileges and franchises granted by the Legislature or created under its authority shall be subject to the control thereof.”

    The USA Supreme Court gutted this CIVIL RIGHT in the Kelo v NLDC ‘decision’. Over 40 states have acted to preserve property RIGHTS … at the state level.

    #45
  46. Elizabeth cunneff

    Please read the results of Congress’ vote of Feb. 15th. It is important that we understand that there are no good guys in the energy debate. Congress voted against keeping the oil here (it’s going to Asia, kids); and they voted against the use of 75% domestically mined and manufactured steel and iron (the steel will come from India just like phases 1 and 2 which leak like sieves). Obama will not prevent KXL from being built. Now, if we the people were behaving sanely, we’d weigh the risks against the benefits, come to a reasonable agreement, and state our case in a unified way, but we’re not behaving sanely. Instead, we’re allowing the powers that be to do what they will while we call each other names, lionize our “good guys” and vilify our “bad guys.” We deserve the pipeline we’re about to get.

    #46
  47. David Gower

    Rolling Stone missed the real conspiracy. According to Dave Campbell, the pipeline is to sneak Texas football players into Oklahoma.

    #47
  48. Florian Schach

    We’ve gotten at least *some* portion of this project decided on. But now what is the long term plan going forward? This Keystone issue is one that is not going away any time soon. 20,000 jobs could help to keep people employed for a long enough time to both sharpen their skills as well as develop new ones while we and also keep people employed while we bridge the gap between fossil fuels and green technologies allowing demand to develop for them(http://bit.ly/uJt0Ez) This is a serious issue with some real potential benefits, we should really make a more firm decision on the matter and choose a real, solid next course of action.

    #48
  49. David has it all figured out except the pipeline is to smuggle illegals to Canada and lot and lots of drugs because we have an abundance here in Texas.

    #49