NEW YORK Pipeline
projects such as TransCanada Corp.s Keystone XL have
encountered delays because of environmental concerns, but that
has had the unintended effect of pushing oil producers towards
rail, a less environmentally friendly option, according to a
top company executive.
"The facts are pretty simple:
For every mile you move a barrel of oil by rail, you emit three
times the GHGs (greenhouse gases) than you do by moving it by
pipeline, and you have an order of magnitude higher risk of
having some sort of incident, leak or spill," said
TransCanadas president of energy and oil pipelines, Alex
Pourbaix. "If youre actually concerned about the
environment, for long-haul movement of oil you very much want
to see that moving by pipeline."
Pourbaix made his remarks at the
East Coast Energy Conference in New York presented by Calgary,
Alberta-based FirstEnergy Capital Corp. and Paris-based
Société Générale SA.
"The (Alberta) oil sands are
going to get developed one way or another," he said. "I think
it would be a real shame for everyone involved if the majority
of that oil were to move by rail, because I really dont
think its an environmental benefit and its
certainly not in the interest of the economy."
Transport by rail costs about
two to three times as much as transport by pipeline, according
to Pourbaix, and the construction of pipelines also has
The State Department recently
released the draft supplemental environmental impact statement
(DSEIS) for the Keystone XL pipelines proposed new route
amm.com, March 4). Construction of the pipeline
could generate as many as 42,100 jobs and $2.05 billion in
domestic earnings, according to the DSEIS summary.
TransCanada currently has about $25 billion worth of projects
under development and expects growth to come mainly from oil
pipelines. "I wouldnt be surprised if that number is
several billion dollars higher a year from now on the oil
side," Pourbaix said.