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Jul. 23, 2014, 12:47 PM
- TransCanada (TRP +0.4%) says Alberta's energy regulator has approved its application to build and operate the C$800M Northern Courier pipeline project.
- TRP says the 56-mile pipeline will carry bitumen and diluent products between the Fort Hills oil sands mine and Suncor's (NYSE:SU) East Tank Farm north of Fort McMurray, Alberta; it is expected to be in service by 2017.
- TRP says Northern Courier is an important part of its capital growth plan, which includes C$38B of commercially secured projects expected to be completed by the end of the decade.
Jul. 12, 2014, 8:25 AM
- The problem facing Canada isn't the Keystone pipeline or Pres. Obama or environmentalists - it's the oil sands, and they've got to be cleaned up and the head-in-the-sand denials chased way or the country will be stuck with a "baby seal hunt" image, Diane Francis writes in the Financial Post.
- The columnist thinks she knows the right person to lead the clean-up: Jeff Immelt - "an American leader with stature in Washington, on Wall Street, in the oil patch and in Silicon Valley" - who said this week that GE will help companies clean up the oil sands.
- The only way to stop the environmental excuses, Immelt believes, is for the industry to collaborate and voluntarily establish lower emissions targets that would make the oil sands competitive with any other fuel source in the world - without such a promise to provide cleaner energy, "all bets are off."
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Jul. 10, 2014, 9:56 AM
- Enbridge (ENB -0.5%) says it is in talks with Alaska about building a pipeline to ship natural gas from the North Slope, describing the project as a potential alternative to an Alaskan pipeline project backed by rival TransCanada (TRP -0.6%).
- The proposed $7.7B project would carry ~500M cf/day of gas from Prudhoe Bay to Point MacKenzie, with a spur line to Fairbanks, and aim to start up by late 2020; it would mostly serve to offset declining gas production from the Cook Inlet.
- Alaska is weighing the project as a backup if a competing proposal from TRP fails to move ahead.
Jul. 9, 2014, 7:10 PM
- The Nebraska Supreme Court is not expected to hear a challenge to the Keystone XL (TRP) pipeline's route until early September, which could delay a final decision on the controversial pipeline until after the fall elections.
- However, some attorneys who had expected an October hearing now say the new timetable could move the court’s decision forward; if the Nebraska justices grant the appeal, which would approve the pipeline’s route through the state, before the Nov. 4 elections, it could be an unwanted October surprise for Pres. Obama.
Jul. 8, 2014, 11:43 AM
- Forty-four groups representing oil companies, truckers, manufacturers and other interests implore Sec. of State Kerry for the Obama administration to approve the Keystone XL pipeline (TRP -0.2%).
- “There is no reason for the president to delay issuing the cross-border permit due to a state appellate court proceeding,” the groups say in a letter to Kerry.
- Legislation pending on Capitol Hill would immediately permit the project, but it is unlikely the Senate will take up the issue before the mid-term elections in November.
Jul. 3, 2014, 4:49 PM
- The state of Alaska and four energy firms sign a joint venture agreement to begin preliminary work on an 800-mile natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to a liquefied natural gas export plant.
- The agreement calls for partners to invest millions in front-end engineering and design work over the next 18 months for the project, which ultimately could cost $45B-$65B.
- The deal comes two months after Alaska's legislature backed Gov. Parnell's plan to work with Exxon Mobil (XOM), ConocoPhillips (COP) and BP plus pipeline company TransCanada (TRP) on a project development contract.
Jun. 30, 2014, 6:35 PM
- TransCanada (TRP) faces a new regulatory hurdle and likely additional legal challenges in its effort to build the Keystone XL pipeline with the news it will now have to recertify the Alberta-to-Nebraska conduit where it passes through South Dakota.
- The state approved the project in 2010, and while the permit has not expired, TRP needs to “certify that the conditions placed upon the pipeline” by the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission are all still valid and that the company will meet all of those conditions.
- Anti-pipeline group Bold Nebraska, for one, says it plans to take advantage of the re-certification process to challenge the permit on grounds of tribal rights, water protection and the need to avoid the Sandhills that reach into South Dakota.
Jun. 30, 2014, 11:43 AM
- TransCanada (TRP +0.5%) is upgraded to Buy from Neutral with a C$61 price target, up from C$51, at Citigroup, which says shareholders would benefit from a tax-free spinoff of the company's Power business.
- TRP's diverse operations lack synergy and cause a "managerial burden," Citi analyst Faisel Khan says, making the case for a breakup he thinks could unlock an incremental $26/share.
Jun. 26, 2014, 12:58 PM
- Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau says he would boost Canada’s case for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline (TRP -0.2%) by introducing financial incentives to curb greenhouse-gas emissions in the oil and gas industry.
- Canada should establish a price for carbon emissions to show it is addressing climate change and to give Pres. Obama political cover to approve the pipeline, Trudeau says.
- Trudeau’s call to action contrasts with Prime Minister Harper’s position that he won’t regulate oil and gas emissions without similar U.S. measures because it would put Canadian producers at a competitive disadvantage.
Jun. 24, 2014, 11:44 AM
- Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, ex-NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer team up to release a report called Risky Business, that argues U.S. companies should treat climate change as any other business threat.
- The report outlines the economic risks posed by climate change to the U.S., including extreme weather effects like hurricanes and rising sea levels that jeopardize more than $1.4T in coastal real estate; some Midwestern and Southern agricultural areas could see a decline in yields of more than 10% due to increased drought and flooding, according to the study.
- Steyer is known in energy circles for his strong opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline (TRP).
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Jun. 19, 2014, 2:46 AM
- With the escalating violence in Iraq and uncertainty of future crude oil prices, TransCanada’s (TRP) Keystone XL pipeline is once again the center topic of many U.S. energy discussions.
- Supporters of the project are pointing to the crisis in Iraq as a reason to push forward with the $5.3B pipeline, which has faced numerous delays in the last six years. Yesterday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee voted 12-10 to advance the bill toward a construction approval.
- Still, many are against the project due to environmental concerns, and negative forecasts associated with job creation and oil shipments.
Jun. 17, 2014, 6:56 PM
- Enbridge (ENB) gained approval for its Northern Gateway pipeline, but now the real work begins, since it first must nail down oil shipping contracts that meet the 200-plus conditions attached to the project.
- ENB needs firm transportation contracts covering at least 60% of the pipeline’s capacity prior to starting construction, and some analysts say the many competing export projects and the sharp growth of oil shipments by rail could make shoring up commercial support for the pipeline difficult, and even delay construction into next decade.
- If built, Northern Gateway would serve as an important link between the Alberta oil sands deposits and energy-thirsty Asian markets, but If TransCanada’s (TRP) Keystone XL and Energy East projects are approved, “Gateway gets shelved for a very, very long time, because [ENB] won’t be able to fill it," says one industry analyst.
- Suncor (SU), Cenovus (CVE), Cnooc (CEO), Total (TOT) and others have signed so-called precedent agreements to ship oil on the pipeline, but legal experts say those agreements aren’t binding, giving producers wiggle room to choose alternatives.
Jun. 12, 2014, 12:46 PM
- With TransCanada's (TRP) Keystone XL pipeline project still stalled, Canada's government moved yesterday to turn up the heat on the Obama administration, as the finance minister, natural resources minister and foreign affairs minister all spent time in the U.S. this week to argue that Pres. Obama has unfairly entangled the project in U.S. politics.
- Canada's intention is to keep the issue alive with the U.S. public and business, according to Finance Minister Joe Oliver, who says "this isn’t right, this isn’t fair" as he infers that Obama is deliberately delaying approval of the project to assuage environmentalists.
- The delay "is an affront in no uncertain terms,” and has become the biggest bilateral irritant between the world’s two largest trading partners, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says.
Jun. 11, 2014, 8:14 AM
- TransCanada (TRP) CEO Russ Girling says he remains "very optimistic" that the Keystone XL pipeline will get built, but he isn't sure when it will happen.
- Girling adds that the cost of the project will be "materially more" than the current $5.4B estimate, but he can't say how much more because "there's no sense announcing new costs until we actually know when we're going to start construction."
- The CEO also expects TRP will file an application for its C$12B Energy East pipeline with the National Energy Board in mid-August; Energy East is expected to carry 1.1M bbl/day of crude from Alberta's oil sands to refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick.
Jun. 10, 2014, 10:59 AM
- Shipments of crude oil by rail from western Canada are expected to more than triple in the next two years to ~700K bbl/day in 2016 from 200K in late 2013 amid a severe shortage in pipeline capacity, according to the annual forecast from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
- Rail transportation is widely regarded as more dangerous than pipelines, but oil trains can be ramped up fast in response to market demand because they are not as regulated as pipelines.
- Oil supplies in western Canada from the oil sands and from new shale plays continue to increase, while four major pipeline projects - Keystone XL (TRP), the TransMountain expansion (KMI, KMP), Northern Gateway (ENB) and Energy East - await regulatory approval and construction.
Jun. 7, 2014, 8:25 AM
- The State Department is correcting several errors it made in its study evaluating the impact of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, including a new estimate of hundreds more deaths and thousands more injuries that could occur if the project were rejected and oil traffic by rail increased.
- The initial study noted that without the pipeline, companies instead would move the oil by rail, which could contribute to 700 injuries and 92 deaths over 10 years; the updated report raises those numbers more than fourfold.
- TransCanada (TRP) says the update reaffirms that the safest and most environmentally responsible way to move oil is through a pipeline, opponents say the report highlights the dangers of developing Canada's oil sands at all, and State Department officials say the corrections have "no impact" on the integrity of the first report.
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