As the fate of the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline remains in limbo in Washington, other pipeline and transportation projects could eliminate its necessity. One CEO, Continental Resources’ Harold Hamm, is already saying the time for the pipeline has passed.
“It’s not critical any longer,” Hamm told National Journal reporter Amy Harder. “They just waited too long. The industry is very innovative, and it finds other ways of doing it and other routes."
Those other ways of doing it include rail and pipeline projects recently completed by Enbridge which have increased the means to bring Bakken crude from North Dakota to processing facilities in Cushing, Oklahoma and beyond.
"There are other people who want to build pipes and don't have to go across the border, and it doesn't have to involve bitumen from Canada," Hamm said, referring to TransCanada’s intent for the Keystone XL to handle Alberta oil sand, with North Dakota Bakken crude added to the project’s plans after negotiations had begun.
The northern leg of Keystone XL is expected to get a final decision by the end of the year. Hamm told National Journal he remains committed to use the pipeline if and when it is completed. However, he isn’t expecting President Obama to approve the project. “I don't think he will, because his environmental base of support is against it,” he said.
The Keystone XL expansion was first proposed in 2008. If completed, the pipeline would take 730,000 barrels of oil daily from Canada to Texas, with up to 100,000 of that coming from the Bakken formation. The southern leg, from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf coast, is almost complete.