TransCanada Expects Approval ‘Very Soon’ for Keystone XL

TransCanada Corp. Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling expects approval “very soon” for the $5.3 billion portion of the Keystone XL oil pipeline that crosses the U.S.-Canada border.

“I suspect we’re looking at anything from a few weeks to a couple of months,” Girling said in an interview at Bloomberg headquarters in New York today. The U.S., which rejected a permit last year, is reviewing the project again after the route through Nebraska was changed.

Keystone XL would deliver 830,000 barrels a day from Canadian oil sands and North Dakota shale fields to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. Calgary-based TransCanada split the project into two parts after the permit was rejected. Last month, Nebraska’s governor signed off on a revised route through his state. Federal officials are completing a supplemental environmental impact statement, a step toward presidential approval, Girling said.

The company will have the southern section of the pipeline, which doesn’t require a presidential permit to operate and is known as the Gulf Coast project, in service by the end of the year, Girling said. About 45 percent of the southern portion of the pipeline is complete, he said.

“We’ll start moving crude oil into the system probably by the end of the summer, commissioning those pump stations, and then we’ll sort of be ramping up toward the end of the year,” he said.

Oil flow may begin at “100,000 a day and it will ramp up fairly quickly,” Girling said. “We’re not going to be at 800,000 barrels a day overnight.”

TransCanada rose 0.7 percent to C$48.56 at 10:59 a.m. in Toronto. The shares have gained 3.3 percent this year.

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