Keystone XL Pipeline – Timeline, Economics and Why Is It Important?

Pipelines such as the Keystone XL pipeline were built to carry oil from the Canadian province of Alberta to refineries in the United States. After years of planning and construction, the final section of the Keystone XL pipeline was to be built by TC Energy (previously TransCanada Corporation), which has built numerous additional pipelines between Canada and the United States since 2010.

In March 2019, then-President Donald Trump signed an executive order approving the building of an oil pipeline that would pass across the international border between the United States and Canada. President Biden, on the other hand, issued an executive order on January 20, 2021, canceling the permission for the Keystone XL project.

Key Points briefly

  • To carry fresh discoveries of difficult-to-extract heavy oil from Canada's oil sands to refineries in the United States, TC Energy (previously Trans Canadian Corporation) proposed the Keystone Pipeline in 2005.

  • The pipeline system stretches for 2,687 miles (4,324 kilometers).

  • Keystone XL has been a source of controversy for many years owing to worries about its potential environmental effects on both the local and global levels.

  • The building permit for the Keystone XL pipeline was revoked by President Joe Biden on January 20, 2021, according to the White House.

Keystone XL Pipeline (Keystone XL) − Project Overview

From Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, Nebraska, the Keystone XL Pipeline offers a viable alternative transportation route. It substantially shortens the distance of the system and, as a result, lowers the expenses of transportation. Additionally, it will enhance the capacity of the pipeline by expanding the diameter of the pipe.

According to current plans, the new XL pipeline will begin at the same site as the existing Phase 1 pipeline in Alberta, Canada. Upon entering the United States, the pipeline will travel through Canada for 526 kilometers before arriving in Morgan, Montana. Oil produced in the United States will be fed to the pipeline on way to Steele City, which will be located in Baker, Montana.

Projected completion date for the Keystone XL Pipeline

  • Keystone XL pipeline project has faced an uphill task from environmentalists and in many cases economic concerns have also raised up raising alarm about the projects huge costs. The following are significant events that occurred during this time period −

  • Trans Canada Corporation proposes the Keystone XL pipeline in June 2008. (now T.C. Energy)

  • The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission gives approval for construction in February 2010.

  • The project receives approval from the National Energy Board in March 2010.

  • The Cornell ILR Global Labor Institute released a study in September 2011 examining the environmental, energy, and economic consequences of the Keystone XL project.

  • November 2011 − The State Department denies authorization for the project and orders it to be postponed while alternate routes for the XL pipeline are investigated.

  • The pipeline was authorized by the United States Senate and the House of Representatives in January of 2015.

  • President Obama of the United States of America halted the project in November 2015 because to environmental concerns.

  • President Donald Trump signed a presidential permission for the project in March 2017, bringing it back to life.

  • In a similar lawsuit, the Supreme Court of the United States ordered that all construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline Project be suspended in July 2020.

  • U.S. President Biden withdrew a critical cross-border permit needed for the completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project in January 2021.

Concerns about the Keystone XL Pipeline's environmental impact

This project has been a source of controversy since it was first proposed in 2010.. The environmental effect of the pipeline is the most significant concern. Breach of the environmental regulations may result in contamination of surface and subterranean water supplies. Increased shipments to refineries in the United States will result in increased air pollution.

Crucial to note is that the pipeline will transport crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to the United States. Because the tar sands have a higher concentration of bitumen, the oil becomes more viscous. This results in intensified difficulty, increased cost, and increased pollution during extraction and refining.