A map of the Keystone pipeline. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- While Democrats, environmentalists and those against the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline brace for the reality of a Republican-controlled House and Senate, the conservative lobbyists and lawmakers pushing for the project have their own harsh truths to confront -- the Keystone XL pipeline may longer be necessary or even profitable.
"I'm for cheap, abundant, reliable energy. Period," Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the conservative think-tank the Manhattan Institute told the Los Angeles Times.
"This is not ideological. This is about what the economics say ... The project is clearly very challenged right now."
If approved and constructed, Keystone pipeline would transport Canadian tar sand to oil refineries in the gulf coast. But as crude continues to be in abundant supply in a world increasingly less dependent on it, the potential sustainability of Keystone has been called into question.
Crude is currently trading around $58 per barrel, its lowest price in five years and, domestically, 13 states have at least one pump selling for gas for under $2.00 per gallon.
"The political debate is not paralleled by the realities," Sandy Fielden, director of energy analytics at Texas-based RBN Energy noted.
"The economics of this project are becoming increasingly borderline."
With crude selling for so low, energy forecasters feel Keystone investors already stand unable to break even, and many predict the price is only going to dip further.
"Oil prices going low gives the president a landing place to reject the pipeline because Canada needs cheap and big infrastructure," Jane Kleeb, founder of the anti-Keystone group Bold Nebraska, told Poltico.
"When oil prices are high, producing the expensive and high-carbon tar sands makes sense. But now that oil is low, the only way tar sands will continue to expand is if Canada gets big pipelines."