from the where-you-eat dept.
Bloomberg reports that Canadians have come up with an all-Canadian route to get oil-sands crude from Alberta to a refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick that will give Canada access, via supertanker, to the same Louisiana and Texas refineries Keystone was meant to supply. The pipeline, built by Energy East, will cost $10.7 billion and could be up and running by 2018. Its 4,600-kilometer path, taking advantage of a vast length of existing and underused natural gas pipeline, would wend through six provinces and four time zones. "It would be Keystone on steroids, more than twice as long and carrying a third more crude," writes Bloomberg. "And if you’re a fed-up Canadian, like Prime Minister Stephen Harper, there’s a bonus: Obama can’t do a single thing about it." So confident is TransCanada Corp., the chief backer of both Keystone and Energy East, of success that Alex Pourbaix, the executive in charge, spoke of the cross-Canada line as virtually a done deal. “With one project,” Energy East will give Alberta’s oil sands not only an outlet to “eastern Canadian markets but to global markets,” says Pourbaix. “And we’ve done so at scale, with a 1.1 million barrel per day pipeline, which will go a long way to removing the specter of those big differentials for many years to come.”
The pipeline will also prove a blow to environmentalists who have made central to the anti-Keystone arguments the concept that if Keystone can be stopped, most of that polluting heavy crude will stay in the ground. With 168 billion proven barrels of oil, though, Canada’s oil sands represent the third-largest oil reserves in the world, and that oil is likely to find its way to shore one way or another. “It’s always been clear that denying it or slowing Keystone wasn’t going to stop the flow of Canadian oil,” says Michael Levi. What Energy East means for the Keystone XL pipeline remains to be seen. “Maybe this will be a wake up call to President Obama and U.S. policymakers to say ‘Hmmm we’re going to get shut out of not just the energy, but all those jobs that are going to go into building that pipeline. Now they are all going to go into Canada," says Aaron Task. “This is all about ‘You snooze, you lose.’”