TransCanada on Track to Resubmit Keystone Application by Spring

Company plans to publish alternative route around Nebraska Sandhills in next few weeks.

HOUSTON -- The company proposing to build a pipeline from Canada's oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast expects to resubmit its application for a federal permit in five to eight weeks, Alex Pourbaix, president of energy and oil pipelines for TransCanada Corp., said March 6.

Alberta-based TransCanada expects to publish potential alternate routes for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in the next few weeks, said Pourbaix while speaking with reporters at the IHS CERA Week energy conference in Houston.

The company has reached an agreement with the state of Nebraska over what constitutes the Sandhills, the area in dispute over environmental concerns.

Pourbaix estimates the proposed alternate route will move the pipeline an additional 100 to 120 miles.

Assuming the company receives a presidential permit following the election in 2013, the project is still expected to take two years to complete even with construction on the southern portion underway, Pourbaix said.

TransCanada announced Feb. 27 it would proceed with building the southern part of the pipeline, which does not require a presidential permit because it doesn't cross a U.S. border.

The northern route will still require two full construction seasons because of the severe winter conditions in the region, Pourbaix said.

If the remaining portion of the pipeline is approved by next year, it's expected to be completed in first-quarter 2015.

During a panel discussion on the Canadian oil sands, Pourbaix disputed critics who say U.S. refiners will ship most of the oil from the Keystone pipeline to other markets, including China.

"If the ultimate goal of our shippers was to move this oil to China, they probably could find an easier way than to build a 1,700-mile pipeline that's going to take eight years," Pourbaix said.

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