Combs Spouts Off

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Canada, Keystone XL, and national insanity

Posted by Richard on January 23, 2012

When President Obama nixed the Keystone XL pipeline project, Robert Samuelson called it “an act of national insanity.” Besides the several reasons Samuelson cites for why this decision was idiotic, there’s the fact that it isn’t even going to stop the project.

The company behind it, TransCanada Corp., said in effect, “Just because we’ve got Canada in our name doesn’t mean the pipeline has to begin in Canada, eh?” So they’re looking at a slightly shorter version, running from Montana to the Gulf. It would carry oil from the Bakken field. And since it wouldn’t cross borders, it wouldn’t require federal approval:

The Bakken shale-rock formation is estimated to hold as much as 4.3 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil in North Dakota and Montana, according to a 2008 U.S. Geological Survey report. Oil production in North Dakota surged 42 percent to 510,000 barrels a day in November, exceeding the output of Ecuador.

Production in the Bakken field may reach 750,000 barrels a day this year, Edward Morse, managing director of commodities research for Citigroup Inc., said at a conference in Calgary today.

The original Keystone XL plan was based on carrying up to 830,000 barrels a day, so the Bakken output alone may be plenty to make the project economically feasible. TransCanada can always ask for approval to extend it into Alberta later, perhaps after there is a less insane administration in Washington.

For a look at what some of our neighbors to the north think of Washington’s idiocy, check out this excellent video commentary by Ezra Levant:


[YouTube link]

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