TransCanada Corporation said on Friday that the U.S. Department of State had signed and issued a Presidential permit authorizing the company to construct and operate the Keystone XL pipeline.
The approval comes after years of political, economic and environmental debates over the potential benefits and downsides of the project, and reverses a decision by former President Barack Obama who had blocked the pipeline in 2015.
“We greatly appreciate President Trump’s Administration for reviewing and approving this important initiative and we look forward to working with them as we continue to invest in and strengthen North America's energy infrastructure,” Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer, said in the company statement.
The U.S. State Department was expected to issue today the permit for the pipeline planned to transport a daily average of 800,000 barrels of heavy Canadian crude from Alberta to U.S refineries.
The Department of State, for its part, said in its press release that it considers that the pipeline “would serve the national interest”.
Just days after taking office, President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum that invited TransCanada to promptly resubmit its application to the Department of State for a Presidential permit for the construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and directed the Secretary of State to receive the application and take all actions necessary and appropriate to facilitate its expeditious review. Related: The Oil Market Is At A Major Turning Point
Following the President’s memorandum, TransCanada was quick to submit a fresh application for obtaining the permit.
The company said today that it would “continue to engage key stakeholders and neighbors throughout Nebraska, Montana and South Dakota to obtain the necessary permits and approvals to advance this project to construction”.
TransCanada is seeking approval from Nebraska state authorities to pass through the state, but it also faces fierce opposition from environmentalists there.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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