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Feb. 11, 2015, 8:16 AM
- TransCanada (NYSE:TRP) says it sent a letter to the U.S. State Department rejecting comments made by the EPA that the Keystone XL Pipeline would increase the rate of oil sands production at lower oil prices and raise greenhouse gas emissions.
- TRP also disagrees with the EPA’s suggestions that the State Department had not fully assessed the environmental impacts of the pipeline.
- The letter was a response to a Feb. 2 EPA comment letter on a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.
Feb. 9, 2015, 12:30 PM
- Alberta is in talks with Alaska about shipping oil sands crude through the state to the Pacific, as energy supporters struggle to convince opponents in Vancouver and Washington state of the merits of building new pipelines to ship crude out of the land-locked province.
- An Alaska plan that would involve constructing a pipeline along the Mackenzie River valley and then west to existing ports on the U.S. coast is "technically feasible, [but] whether it’s economically feasible has yet to be determined," Alberta Premier Jim Prentice tells Bloomberg.
- The route for a potential Alaska pipeline would cross through Canada’s Yukon and Northwest Territories, where both governments are supportive, Prentice says.
- Enbridge's (NYSE:ENB) planned Northern Gateway pipeline would terminate at B.C.'s Kitimat port, where groups oppose the project; Kitimat is ~1,000 miles southeast of the Alaskan port of Valdez.
- Alberta’s other pipeline options include TransCanada’s (NYSE:TRP) Energy East project to the Atlantic port of Saint John, New Brunswick; TRP's Keystone XL pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico; and Kinder Morgan’s (NYSE:KMI) Trans Mountain expansion to the port of Vancouver.
Feb. 5, 2015, 12:58 PM
- TransCanada (TRP +1.2%) CEO Russ Girling says Canada’s push to become a global resource powerhouse is at risk of failing unless government leaders take more assertive action to resolve conflicts around aboriginal relations, resource extraction and pipeline development that are holding up key projects.
- Governments are torn as they weigh resource development against local concerns, but “at some point, you’ve got to lead,” the CEO says, reflecting the growing frustration in the energy sector as Canada’s oil patch braces for an extended slump due to plunging crude prices.
- Girling says the country faces a fundamental question: "As Canadians, I think that we should be screaming right now... are we a resource-based nation or not?"
- The CEO also warns of possible delays to the proposed C$12B Energy East pipeline after encountering resistance in Quebec over potential impacts on Beluga whale calving grounds at the site of a planned export terminal.
Feb. 4, 2015, 5:49 PM
- TransCanada (NYSE:TRP) CEO Russ Girling says the idea that the environmental impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline be revisited in light of lower crude prices is merely a tactic to delay the project.
- The EPA says Keystone XL would lead to higher greenhouse gas emissions but suggests the State Department could revisit how large a toll the pipeline would have on global warming when considering lower oil prices, but Girling volatile crude prices do not mitigate the longer-term need for pipelines to transport that oil.
- Meanwhile, worried about rail cutting into its business as much as Keystone's never-ending saga, TRP says it plans to enter the rail business "in the coming months" as it connects customers to its sprawling network across North America.
Feb. 3, 2015, 11:59 AM
- The EPA says developing the Keystone XL pipeline (TRP +2.9%) would “significantly increase” the greenhouse gas emissions from the oil sands, a conclusion environmental groups say gives Pres. Obama reason to reject the proposed pipeline.
- In a letter to the State Department, the EPA’s Cynthia Giles undercuts assurances that the pipeline would not have an impact on Canadian emissions, saying the State Department’s environmental impact analysis concludes the pipeline would result in as much as 27.4M metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per year, the same as emissions from 5.7M passenger vehicles.
- The Natural Resources Defense Council says the assessment means the pipeline fails the standard Obama has said he’ll use to judge the project.
Jan. 29, 2015, 4:14 PM
- The U.S. Senate passes a bill approving construction of the Keystone XL (NYSE:TRP) oil pipeline; the bill's 62 votes meant it earned some support from Democrats but not enough to overcome an expected veto from Pres. Obama.
- The Senate bill includes amendments not attached to a House-passed version; the House could now pass the Senate bill or lawmakers from each chamber could meet to work out a new version.
Jan. 27, 2015, 6:27 PM
- The U.S. Senate is on track to pass legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline (NYSE:TRP) by the end of the week, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says.
- Keystone legislation stalled yesterday as Democrats raised objections about the number of amendments they’ve been allowed to offer; Republicans say the Senate has voted on two dozen amendments, more than were voted on in all of 2014 under Democrat control.
- Republicans control the Senate 54-46, and because six Democrats have signed on as sponsors of the Keystone bill, party leaders expect to get the 60 votes needed to pass legislation despite failing yesterday in two procedural votes.
Jan. 27, 2015, 2:22 AM
- Democrats in the U.S. Senate blocked the Keystone XL (NYSE:TRP) pipeline bill from moving forward on Monday, prolonging the chamber’s debate over the project.
- Senators voted 53-39 against a motion that would have allowed a vote on a final bill; it needed 60 to pass.
- Citing a continuing review process by the State Department, the White House has said President Obama would veto the measure should it reach his desk.
Jan. 24, 2015, 8:25 AM
- In a low-yield world, the newly launched iBillionaire High Dividend Index - which tracks the trading moves of 25 investing-savvy billionaire investors such as Stanley Druckenmiller, James Dinan and Nelson Peltz - actually lives up to its name with a dividend yield of 5.34%.
- At 24%, the index has a high allocation of energy shares, including OXY, TRP, CNP, COP, BP, ATLS, CVI, WMB, APL, RIG and ARP.
- Also worth noting is that the index contains some high-yielding mortgage REITs, an area most investors hate right now but where billionaires seem to find value; examples are NRF, AGNC and CIM.
- No mutual fund or ETF tracks this index, but it offers a fishing pond of income investment ideas to research further.
- The top 20 holdings: TLM, CVC, GM, TIME, AEE, D, STAY, KMI, TROX, EXC, STNG, PPL, IRM, PFE, KKR, KAR, F, MIC, LO, ABBV.
Jan. 20, 2015, 5:58 PM
- Senate Republicans today blocked two attempts to amend legislation forcing approval of the Keystone XL pipeline that would have required the project be built with U.S.-produced steel and that the oil be used only in the U.S.
- A TransCanada (NYSE:TRP) spokesperson tells Bloomberg that 52% of the steel that is already purchased comes from a U.S. plant., with the remaining needed materials to be "pursued in the U.S."
- More politically treacherous debates are set for tomorrow over climate change and the disposal of refining byproducts.
- Meanwhile, TRP says it has filed paperwork in nine Nebraska counties to acquire access to the remaining land needed to construct, operate and maintain the pipeline, in its first steps since the state’s high court last week removed a major legal barrier for the planned route.
Jan. 9, 2015, 2:44 PM
- The House of Representatives passed legislation today approving the Keystone XL pipeline, and the White House promptly issued another veto threat on the bill.
- The House has now passed such a bill 10 times since 2011; the difference this time is that the Senate is under new Republican control and will begin debate on an identical bill next week.
- Lengthy debate and a likely string of amendments from Democrats mean the Senate may spend several weeks on the measure; in addition to discussing environmental concerns, opponents are expected to paint Keystone as an export pipeline whose oil will end up in China or elsewhere.
- After Nebraska's top court ruled against a challenge to the route through the state, TransCanada's (TRP +1.2%) Russ Girling said the company would continue to pursue the project as long as there is a demand from oil shippers, even if the Obama administration decides to reject the pipeline’s application.
Jan. 9, 2015, 10:05 AM
- The Nebraska Supreme Court issues a reversal of a lower court ruling that had blocked a route for the Keystone XL pipeline, leaving in place legislation that favored TransCanada's (TRP +3.2%) claim to build the pipeline across the state.
- The ruling ends the legal challenge to a Nebraska law that allowed the Republican governor to determine the route of the pipeline in the state.
- The project’s fate now returns to Pres. Obama, who has cited the lawsuit in deferring a decision on approving the project.
Jan. 8, 2015, 11:22 AM
- Quebec’s energy regulator has come out in favor of TransCanada's (TRP +0.9%) Energy East pipeline, calling the project “desirable.”
- The board estimates the demand for natural gas in Quebec will grow by ~2%/year through 2030, and that the only reliable option is to buy gas from outside Quebec and bring it into the province via TRP’s network.
- TRP hopes to link up to 1.1M bbl/day of Alberta crude to export terminals and refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick through the $12B pipeline.
Jan. 7, 2015, 5:18 PM
- Republican Sen. John Cornyn suggested today that lawmakers and the White House could negotiate a deal on the Keystone XL pipeline (NYSE:TRP), despite Obama administration threats to veto any bill authorizing the project.
- Cornyn did not outline a specific legislative strategy or suggest topics that could bridge the divide, but some Keystone supporters have raised proposals to accelerate natural gas exports as a possible sweetener and they could use other amendments as a way to lure a veto-proof majority on the legislation.
- Proponents note the White House issued its veto threat as a matter of preserving an executive branch process for reviewing the pipeline without judging the project’s merits, perhaps leaving room for a presidential permit approval later.
Jan. 7, 2015, 11:48 AM
- Whether or not Pres. Obama would veto a bill approving TransCanada’s (TRP -0.8%) Keystone XL pipeline, Canada's dreams of becoming a global oil superpower are being washed away by a confluence of forces over which the country has no control, Financial Post's Terence Corcoran writes.
- When even a Republican-dominated U.S. Senate can’t muster enough support to force Obama’s hand, it means environmentalists and other Keystone foes effectively control the U.S. pipeline decision-making process, according to Corcoran.
- The economic environment looks even worse, as the promoted alternatives to Keystone - Northern Gateway (ENB -0.4%) to the west coast and Energy East through to Quebec and New Brunswick - almost certainly are rendered uneconomical if ~$50/bbl oil remains for any extended period of time.
- Instead of Canada selling oil elsewhere, the U.S. will sell its own oil elsewhere after recently lifting the 40-year-old ban on oil exports; with the surge in U.S. oil production and the new oil price level providing a boost for the U.S. dollar and U.S. consumers, Corcoran believes Obama has no reason to change his mind.
Jan. 6, 2015, 2:11 PM
- The White House specifically states for the first time that Pres. Obama would veto legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline (TRP -4%), setting up a likely showdown against the Republican-controlled Congress in the coming weeks.
- Obama's press secretary says there is a well-established review process being run by the State Department that should not be undermined by legislation; Congress says it has the authority to regulate interstate commerce and thus is able to green-light the pipeline.
- Senators Hoeven and Manchin, a Republican and Democrat respectively, say the bill now has 60 co-sponsors, but no one is saying yet that there's enough support to override a presidential veto.
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