TransCanada files Keystone XL route application in Nebraska

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By Nia Williams and Swetha Gopinath

<span class="articleLocation”>TransCanada Corp filed an application
with Nebraska authorities on Thursday to route its Keystone XL
pipeline through the state, saying it expected a decision this
year for this crucial leg of the $8 billion project that had
been stymied by environmental groups and other opponents.

U.S. President Donald Trump cleared the way for the project
at the federal level last month, reversing an earlier decision
by former President Barack Obama, who had blocked it over
environmental concerns.

Obama’s veto in November 2015 led Canada’s No. 2 pipeline
company to withdraw its original route application to the
Nebraska Public Service Commission.

The 1,179-mile (1,900-km) Keystone XL pipeline is meant to
ship 830,000 barrels per day of mainly oil sands crude from the
Canadian province of Alberta to Nebraska, before heading on to
the world’s largest refining market for heavy crude on the U.S.
Gulf Coast.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission process “is the
clearest path to achieving route certainty for the project in
Nebraska and is expected to conclude in 2017,” TransCanada said.

Opposition in Nebraska from environmentalists and some
landowners concerned about oil spills had been among several
major hurdles facing the Keystone XL project. The line’s route
through the state was the subject of a court case over whether
former Governor Dave Heineman was entitled to approve the route.

A Nebraska Supreme Court decision in 2015 ruled in support
of the pipeline, but a number of Nebraskan landowners filed
suits against TransCanada alleging the project violated the
state’s constitution. (reut.rs/2kpZzh1)

“Keystone XL is and always will be all risk and no reward,”
said Jane Kleeb, president of the Bold Alliance, an activist
network opposing the pipeline.

In a quarterly earnings call TransCanada Chief Executive
Officer Russ Girling said the company was in talks with crude
shippers to update contracts for volume commitments on Keystone
XL.

He acknowledged that oil prices and supply forecasts had
changed since November 2015. Late last year the Canadian
government approved two other major export pipelines: Kinder
Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion and Enbridge Inc’s Line 3 replacement project.

“While some of the shippers may increase or decrease the
volume commitments we do expect to retain commercial support to
underpin the project,” Girling said.

The most recent cost estimate for Keystone XL is $8 billion,
although TransCanada said that would be refreshed this year.

The company’s net loss attributable to shareholders narrowed
to C$358 million, or 43 Canadian cents per share, in the fourth
quarter ended Dec. 31, from a loss of C$2.46 billion, or C$3.47
per share, a year earlier when TransCanada had to take a C$2.9
billion writedown on Keystone XL.

Comparable earnings for the quarter were C$626 million, or
75 Canadian cents per share, helped by higher contributions from
TransCanada’s U.S. natural gas pipeline business, due to its $13
billion acquisition of Columbia Pipeline Group in July. ($1 = 1.3025 Canadian dollars)

(Additional reporting by Vishaka George in Bengaluru)



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