Nebraska approves new route for Keystone XL pipeline

22 January 2013 22:00 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Nebraska’s Governor Dave Heineman announced on Tuesday the approval of a revised route for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would allow oil from Canada and the northern US to reach refineries on the US Gulf coast.

Environmentalists had opposed to the initial plan that would cross sensitive regions in Nebraska, but TransCanada Corporation had submitted a new route and increased safety conditions.

Following the governor’s announcement, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) praised the decision on the grounds that it would bring the US “one step closer to economic growth and energy independence”. Opponents such as the Sierra Club called Heineman's decision regrettable and vowed to continue opposing the pipeline.

Approval from Nebraska was the main obstacle preventing the construction of the project, as the governor previously had not supported the pipeline plan through his state. With that hurdle cleared, the next step is approval from the US State Department, which rules on projects involving foreign countries.

The State Department has delayed the review and a decision on the pipeline project until the end of the first quarter.

If the pipeline is approved, operations could start by early 2015, TransCanada said.

If built, the Keystone XL pipeline would ship oil from Hardisty, Alberta, and Baker, Montana, to delivery terminals in Steele City, Nebraska, TransCanada said.

The pipeline would stretch 1,897 km (1,179 miles) and cost $5.3bn (€4.0bn).

Once the oil arrives at Steele City, another arm of the pipeline would ship the oil to Wood River and Patoka, Illinois, TransCanada said. Another pipeline would take oil to a major hub in Cushing, Oklahoma.

TransCanada's Gulf Coast pipeline would deliver the oil from Cushing to Texas.

Additional reporting by Al Greenwood

($1 = €0.75)

By Ignacio Sotolongo