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Developer: Keystone XL Pipeline Could Be Emission-Free

The developer of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline project, TC Energy Corp., is preparing to pledge a number of changes as it seeks the approval of president-elect Joe Biden, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The president-elect, like his predecessor, has made energy a top priority but in a vastly different way. While it was one of President Trump’s first steps in office to approve the Keystone XL, now Biden aides have said that the president-elect will be quick about revoking the license Trump granted the project.

TC Energy, meanwhile, has sunk enough money in the pipeline to be apparently ready to do whatever it takes to see it through. According to the WSJ report, the company plans to ledge to use only solar and wind power to operate the facility, as well as battery energy storage to make it fully reliant on renewables.

In addition, the report said, the Canadian company would offer to hire a union workforce for the pipeline and eliminate all emissions associated with its operation by 2030.

The report comes on the heels of another, from CBC, which cites sources close to the Biden transition team who say rescinding the permit for Keystone XL will be something the president-elect plans to do on his first day in office.

This would be bad news for Canadian oil producers who have been hoping Keystone XL would relieve a severe pipeline capacity shortage that had before the pandemic pushed Canadian crude prices to historical lows before the Alberta government imposed obligatory production cuts on the largest producers.

Keystone XL will cost $8 billion and will have the capacity to carry 830,000 bpd of Canadian crude to the United States. Construction on the 2,000-mile piece of infrastructure has been progressing on the Canadian side of the border, but not in the United States after the Supreme Court last year ruled that the construction of the pipeline cannot start. The justices upheld a lower court ruling that the Keystone XL pipeline project cannot use the so-called Nationwide Permit 12 that allowed pipelines to cross rivers with minimal review if they meet certain criteria. 

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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