The U.S. decision on the Keystone XL pipeline is becoming more critical for oil sands producers such as Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ) and Suncor (SU) than pipeline builder TransCanada (TRP); for producers, Keystone is the earliest export line scheduled to ease bottlenecks which have helped push Canadian heavy crude $27/bbl below the U.S. benchmark.
CNQ, with 120K bbl/day of capacity booked on Keystone XL, may gain 5% while other producers such as SU, Cenovus (CVE), Husky Energy (HUSKF) and Imperial Oil (IMO) may rise if the State Department’s review is positive, Cormark predicts, while a negative report could spur a 3% drop for CNQ.
On the other hand, Keystone XL is only worth C$1.50 to TRP shares whether or not the project is approved, as the company has invested in other projects, according to some analysts.
John Podesta’s return to the White House places a Keystone opponent within Pres. Obama's inner circle, although he supposedly is recusing himself from issues surrounding the controversial project.