Industry leaders on both side of the border praise a decision to move forward with the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to southern U.S. ports. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 27 (UPI) -- U.S. and Canadian trade groups said building the Keystone XL oil pipeline to southern U.S. ports was critical for the region's energy infrastructure.
Pipeline company TransCanada announced it re-submitted an application to build the cross-border Keystone XL oil pipeline after memoranda signed by U.S. President Donald Trump prioritized oil and gas networks as strategic interests.
The White House under President Barack Obama sidelined Keystone XL on environmental concerns as the heavier form of crude oil designated for the pipeline is viewed as more carbon-intensive and potentially more of a danger if spilled than other grades of oil.
Jack Gerard, the president of the American Petroleum Institute, praised Trump for advancing a modernized vision of North American infrastructure.
"We applaud President Trump's commitment to promoting our nation's energy infrastructure and creating jobs," he said in a statement.
Gerard estimates building Keystone XL, which would stretch from Alberta to the southern U.S. coast, would create "tens of thousands of jobs." A review by the State Department under Obama put the estimate in the thousands.
In announcing plans to re-submit its application to build the pipeline, TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling said the company is moving in step with regional environmental interests because pipelines are less of a threat than rail, a transit method used now to make up for the lack of pipeline capacity in North America.
"Enhanced standards and the utilization of the most advanced technology will help ensure KXL will be built and operated to uphold our fundamental commitment to safety and the communities we serve," the company said.
Planned in part as an export artery, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said Keystone XL breaks a landlock for a Canadian energy sector that depends almost exclusively on the U.S. market.
"We need to be able to access markets in all direction, east, south and west, for Canada to be the responsible global-supplier of choice," CAPP President and CEO Tim McMillan said.
Canada has pushed to diversify its export options away from the United States. Pipeline company Kinder Morgan secured recent approval to triple the capacity of its Trans Mountain oil network to western Canadian ports.
In early January, Alberta Premier Rachel Notely said breaking Alberta's landlock with Trans Mountain fixes "a problem that has dogged our province for decades."