Keystone XL pipeline delays may cost contractors $2.5 billion: TransCanada – by Geoffrey Morgan (Financial Post – March 13, 2019)

CALGARY — TransCanada Corp. has asked the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to lift an injunction on its Keystone XL pipeline by the end of this week, as it approaches an internal deadline to begin construction this year on the US$8-billion project.

Without relief from the injunction, TransCanada could delay construction by one year on the 830,000-barrels-per-day pipeline from Alberta to Nebraska. The project would expand the ability of Canadian oil companies to reach the U.S. Gulf Coast refining market through the company’s existing Keystone system.

In a March 11 filing, the U.S. State Department and Calgary-based pipeline giant requested a stay of an injunction granted late last year by a federal judge in Montana, which forced the company to cease all preparatory work on the oil pipeline until the State Department finished a supplemental review of the project.

Up until that point, TransCanada had mowed 1,500 acres in the U.S. to prepare the pipeline right-of-way, begun constructing three work camps and had prepared 11 of 14 pipe yards. The company had to lay off 650 workers on the project when the Montana court decision came down.

The judge issued the injunction in Nov. 2018 because the project’s environmental impact assessment from 2014 was insufficient and fell short of a “hard look” at factors including a change in oil prices and cultural artifacts along the pipeline’s alternative route through Nebraska.

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