Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

TransCanada has eyes on California

TransCanada has eyes on California as possible future market

CALGARY - TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) sees California as a potential future market for Canadian crude oil, an executive with the Calgary-based pipeline giant said Tuesday.

The company has a long-term proposal to ship crude from Northern Alberta's oilsands region down to energy-hungry California, said Steve Becker, TransCanada's vice-president of pipeline development.

"It's still in a very early development stage and it would be much later, out about eight to 10 years, if we could get enough customers to make it work," he said in an interview after speaking at an energy conference in Calgary.

In the meantime, TransCanada is focusing on building the US$12-billion Keystone pipeline which will eventually ship oil from Alberta to the lucrative U.S. Gulf Coast market, where refineries are able to handle heavy oilsands feedstock.

TransCanada has an 80 per cent stake in Keystone pipeline, with U.S. energy giant ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) owning the rest.

Construction on the first phase, which will ship crude from Hardisty, Alta., to hubs in Illinois and Cushing, Okla., is 40 per cent complete.

After that, TransCanada plans to extend the line to Port Arthur, Texas.

There has been a litany of project delays in the oilsands in recent months because of economic uncertainty and low oil prices.

But Becker said there is a strong demand for Keystone despite the slowdown.

"The need for the keystone pipeline is for projects that are already built or under construction," he said.

"They would definitely like us to build a pipeline, both to Cushing and to the Houston area."


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