TransCanada Sees Job Cuts With Keystone Build Delayed

TransCanada Corp. doesn’t expect to start building its proposed $5.4 billion Keystone XL pipeline this year, resulting in hundreds of job losses as construction contracts are wound down.

The company has pushed the timetable to start building the northern leg of the project, intended to transport crude from Alberta’s oil sands to Gulf Coast refiners, to 2015 after the Obama administration delayed a decision because of a legal challenge in Nebraska. TransCanada is still targeting startup of the line in 2016, Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling said today.

“There will be several hundred that will be impacted by this decision, both employees and contractors,” Girling told reporters at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary. “At this point in time, there’s a very low probability that we would have a decision in time to meet this year’s summer construction period.”

The State Department, which is leading an inter-agency review of the pipeline proposal, had asked other agencies to file comments by early this month. On April 18, it announced it would extend that deadline because of a legal challenge to the route through Nebraska. The Nebraska Supreme Court will weigh an appeal of a state court’s ruling that made the line’s path illegal.

TransCanada is considering whether to apply for approval of the Nebraska route with the Public Service Commission as the attorney general’s appeal of the state court’s ruling proceeds, Girling said. The line continues to become more expensive as the delays mount.

“The costs are material,” the CEO said. The company will consider whether it should take legal action to recover costs tied to a regulatory review that has extended beyond 2,000 days, when the normal process is 500 to 600 days, he said.

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