Tuesday, February 16, 2010

TransCanada says market to determine Keystone onramp in Montana

BILLINGS, Mont. - Under political pressure to build an “on-ramp” for U.S. oil on the Keystone XL pipeline bound for the Gulf Coast, a TransCanada executive said on Feb. 5 that market forces would dictate where and if a terminal is built.
The company hopes to start construction this year on the 1,980-mile pipeline, part of TransCanada’s $12 billion investment in the Alberta oilsands market.
En route to Texas through the Northern Plains, Keystone will pass through the booming Bakken oil formation - an estimated 3.65 billion barrels beneath Montana, North Dakota and Saskatchewan.
That’s small in comparison to estimates of 1.7 trillion barrels of petroleum in the oil sands, where companies are signing long-term contracts with TransCanada to move up to 900,000 b/d.
The company has to get by regulators in Montana, where Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer is pushing for an on-ramp connecting Northern Plains producers to Keystone XL near the town of Baker.
After meeting with Schweitzer on Feb. 5, TransCanada Vice President Robert Jones said the company wants to stay focused on the main stem of the pipeline. Before he could commit to an onramp, Jones said, he needed to hear more from oil companies interested in using Keystone XL.

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