What You Don’t Know About the Keystone Pipeline

The debate over the Keystone XL pipeline has largely centered on jobs that would be created, oil security that would be provided and suggested environmental concerns. Here are some other facts about the project (rejected earlier this year by the Obama administration):

  • Before this debate, few knew the State Department was in charge of the siting process for oil pipelines that cross international borders. That emanates from a 2004 executive order.
  • The Canadian oil sands, from which the pipeline would originate, are a mixture of sands, clay, water and bitumen, which is heavy, thick oil that must be heated or diluted before being pumped into a pipeline. Canada has 174 billion barrels in reserves, second only to Saudi Arabia, and 97% of those reserves are oil sands.
  • Canada is the largest supplier of imported oil to U.S. markets. According to a study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Keystone project could reduce imports from the Middle East and Venezuela by 40%.
  • The 1,700-mile project will bring 830,000 barrels per day of Canadian oil to Gulf Coast refineries and help alleviate the current bottleneck of oil supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma.
  • Project owner TransCanada has resubmitted its application for the segment crossing the international border and recently announced it plans to construct a 435-mile leg from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast, which requires no federal permit.

As expressed earlier here and in many other quarters, what was the administration thinking? Let’s get the ball rolling on this critical project. The benefits are too numerous.