NEW YORK TransCanada
Corp. expects the U.S. State Department to issue a supplemental
environmental impact statement for the rerouting of its
Keystone XL pipeline "quite quickly," a top company executive
"Whether thats one week or
two weeks, thats hard to say. But theyve certainly
led us to the view that its imminent," TransCanada
president of energy and pipelines Alexander Pourbaix said
during the companys fourth-quarter earnings call.
The company expects a
presidential permit for the much-delayed project to come in the
first half of the year.
"Once the (supplemental
environmental impact statement) is issued, we are under the
belief that the State Department is in possession of every
piece of evidence they could require to make a decision,"
While the permitting process for
Keystone is progressing, the Calgary, Alberta-based company has
run into some opposition to its Gulf Coast pipeline, which is
about 45 percent complete.
"Many out-of-state or
professional ... activists have done their best to slow down
the project and stop our project, primarily in Texas,"
TransCanada president and chief executive officer Russ Girling
said during the call. However, the company still expects the
485-mile, 36-inch line between Cushing, Okla., and Nederland,
Texas, to be completed by year-end.
Further underlining a recent
shift in investments to oil from natural gas, for which prices
are low, the company is looking to repurpose parts of its
Canadian Mainline natural gas pipeline to move oil to eastern
Canada from western Canada, replacing rail transport.
"Rail is at least twice as
expensive," Pourbaix said of the reasoning behind the proposed
switch. "Every barrel you move by rail emits three times the
greenhouse gases that a barrel moved by pipe does."