from the totally-still-alive dept.
Tim Mullaney reports at CNBC that as Congress rushes to approve the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline, it is questionable whether or not the controversial pipeline will make as much of a difference as proponents expect. The so-called "heavy oil" extracted from sand in Alberta, which the proposed pipeline would carry to Nebraska, en route to refineries on the Gulf Coast, will cost between $85 and $110 to produce[PDF] , depending on which drilling technology is used, according to a report in July by the Canadian Energy Research Institute, a nonprofit whose work is often cited by Keystone proponents. But crude oil futures now hover near four-year lows as sustained concerns over a glut in world markets continued to weigh heavily on prices and oil ministers from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait resisted calls to lower production to prevent further price declines. CERI' s analysis squares with the views of other experts, who have pointed to low prices as a sign that economic facts, at least for now, don't match political rhetoric coming from Washington, where Keystone has been a goal for both Republicans and for Senate Democrats from oil-producing states. "Anything not under construction [is] at risk of being delayed or canceled altogether," says Dinara Millington.
The situation is broadly similar to that faced by an earlier proposal to build a natural-gas pipeline from Alaska to the Midwest says energy economist Chris Lafakis. After being approved by then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in 2007, the pipeline was never built, because newly discovered supplies of gas in the Lower 48 states pushed gas prices down by about two-thirds. "If oil were to stay as cheap as it is right now," says Lafakis, "you might very well get that Palin pipeline scenario."