TransCanada remains optimistic on Keystone XL, and stands ready for a fight in Montana

TransCanada remains optimistic on Keystone XL, and stands ready for a fight in Montana

As part of its fourth quarter earnings release this week, TransCanada confirmed it has secured commercial support for all available space on its 830,000 bbl/day Keystone XL pipeline, and already commenced key pre-construction activities. 

MAP COURTESY TRANSCANADA

The company awaits a decision in Nebraska on the validity of the state's route approval, which is expected in the first quarter of this year.

The repeal of Keystone XL's Presidential Permit is also being challenged in a Montana court. TransCanada has vowed to appeal the Montana ruling if the project is delayed again. The company was allowed to continue some pre-construction activities, while it works with the US Justice Department to address deficiencies outlined by the Montana judge.

Another lawsuit is pending in the state of Montana, launched by two Native American tribes last fall. The company does not yet have a timeline for resolution on that case.

CEO Russ Girling told investors "There will come a point where, because of the desired optimal construction program, we will lose 2019. We're not at that point yet."

TransCanada remains fuzzy on the exact timing for Keystone XL, which has now been in the works for over a decade. At last estimate, the US$8 billion project had an in-service date of late 2021.

The existing Keystone pipeline transports about 20% of Western Canada's crude production into the Midwest and Gulf Coast. The company declared force majeure on certain sections of the 590,000 bbl/day line last week, after a small leak was discovered in the state of Missouri.

The company has yet to provide an update on full restart, but has told shippers it will be "days not weeks."

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