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Fact: Keystone XL is not an export pipeline.
It is a supply line to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries — which have signed up to 20-year binding commercial contracts to receive oil through Keystone XL. This much-needed oil will allow refineries to create products that we all rely on every day — gasoline for our vehicles, aviation fuels, and diesel fuels to help transport goods throughout the continent. It makes absolutely no sense for companies to purchase cheaper Canadian crude, and then pay (again) to ship that product overseas, while continuing to import higher-priced oil from the Middle East and Venezuela.
In fact, the State Department’s own Environmental Impact Statement addresses this directly:
The U.S. is an overwhelming net importer of crude oil. The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) have both forecast the U.S. will still need to import oil to meet its domestic demand for decades, despite growing oil production in the U.S. Canadian and U.S. production transported by pipeline will displace more expensive crude oils from less stable countries.
Fact: Construction jobs are incredibly important to the U.S economy.
It is time to stop the disrespectful attacks on the quality of construction jobs related to Keystone XL because they have a project completion date. The jobs required to build a state-of-the-art energy infrastructure project like Keystone XL require tremendous skill and training and are as important as any other job in North America. The Keystone XL Pipeline will mean jobs and economic growth for Americans and not for workers in other countries. These jobs are important and for many, a lifeline. That is why Keystone XL has the complete support of major trades and manufacturing unions across the U.S.
Keystone XL would support 42,100 direct and indirect jobs during construction of the pipeline contributing to approximately $2 billion in wages throughout the United States. Delays have prevented these jobs from being realized.
Keystone XL has supported more than 7000 jobs from the billions spent in sourcing the goods and services in North America. From motors and drives manufactured by Siemens in Ohio and Pennsylvania to the steel manufactured in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Keystone XL project has contracts with 50 suppliers in the United States.
Keystone XL will generate a significant amount of economic activity in the United States; the most significant benefits will be felt by the residents and counties where the pipeline is constructed.
TransCanada will be a substantial tax payer in many of the counties in which Keystone XL crosses. In 2012 alone approximately $37 million in property taxes were derived from the Keystone Pipeline being operational, increasing to $44 million in 2013. These additional revenues have helped address local infrastructure needs like roads, bridges, hospitals and other facilities that improve the standard of living for Americans.
The FSEIS projects that seventeen out of 27 counties which Keystone XL crosses are expected to see tax revenues increase by 10 per cent or more. This would contribute to approximately $3.4 billion to U.S. GDP and an overall economic boost for America.
Fact: While there are many factors which contribute to the price of gasoline at the pump, the largest cost is the cost of oil.
Keystone XL will transport oil from North America which costs less per barrel than the exact same product being purchased from Venezuela and the Middle East.
American consumers also benefit by having a safe, modern, efficient energy infrastructure which ensures the energy we use in our everyday lives comes from North America. Every day, Gulf Coast refiners pay higher prices for oil imported from places like Venezuela and the Middle East. But they don’t have to. Keystone XL will virtually eliminate imports from OPEC and the Persian Gulf entirely and replace them with oil sourced in Canada and the United States (Montana, North Dakota).
Fact: Building a pipeline means creating strong, long-lasting relationships every step of the way.
That’s why we’re committed to treating the communities and each and every landowner we meet with honesty, respect and fairness. TransCanada has secured voluntary agreements with 100 per cent of landowners in Montana and South Dakota and 84 per cent of landowners in Nebraska.
Fact: Keystone XL does not cross any reservation lands or lands held in trust.
Despite this, we work with tribes over the entire lifecycle of the project, to constructively and proactively address any concerns and to develop long-lasting mutually beneficial relationships and to discuss issues and opportunities.
TransCanada strives to create employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Native American communities along our pipeline routes. Last year, we spent more than $50 million in contracting and hiring in Aboriginal and Native American communities across North America.
As part of the construction team, tribal monitors are cross-trained in a number of areas, including wild land fire, heritage resource archeology and first aid, as well as having college degrees in a variety of disciplines.
Fact: Environmental stewardship is an integral part of TransCanada’s business.
We build and operate energy infrastructure in order to provide oil, natural gas and electricity to millions of homes across North America. We don’t just build oil pipelines; we build wind farms, solar facilities and hydro operations as well. All of these projects have impacts on the communities they operate in. Our job is to ensure our projects respect the land, people and culture in those communities. It’s a job we take very seriously.
In 2014, the Carbon Disclosure Project ranked TransCanada to its “A-List” of companies making legitimate steps towards climate change mitigation. This positive news comes on the heels of TransCanada’s score at the 88th percentile on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) for 2014.
Pipelines like Keystone XL are the most energy efficient methods of transporting oil and natural gas over long distances. In its absence, hundreds of millions of barrels of oil are now being transported by less efficient and less environmentally friendly methods every year.
Fact: Our customers remain fully supportive of the project despite current oil prices.
Keystone XL remains an important and strategic piece of energy infrastructure that will ensure U.S. refineries continue to have access to growing North American oil supplies and have the safest and most efficient means of transporting it.
It’s important for us to address inaccurate and misleading claims that continue to be made regarding Keystone XL and the issue of exports. We’ve addressed the issue of crude oil exports in a previous post. This post deals specifically with the exports of refined products.
Will refined products from Keystone XL be exported?
It should be noted that Keystone XL transports crude oil, not refined products. TransCanada is an energy infrastructure company. We build energy infrastructure like pipelines, natural gas-fired power plants and wind farms. We don’t actually extract or own a single molecule of oil or natural gas that we transport. We are contracted to build the infrastructure to safely deliver those molecules to their destination. We don’t own the oil we transport, much like a moving company doesn’t own your bed during a move.
With that being said, we can provide insight into what happens to those products when they are refined.
Crude oil is not exclusively used to produce gasoline
Crude oil is used to produce thousands of products that we use every day, not just gasoline and diesel. Crude oil feedstock is used to create the plastics that encase our cell phones and televisions, asphalt for our roads and even the latex gloves doctors use when delivering a baby. The people suggesting that the oil Keystone XL will transport will be used to exclusively to make gasoline or diesel is simply a guess and they know that.
The United States consumes the vast majority of its refined products
The claim that “much of this oil is for export” is actually contrary to the facts, market analysis and what actual refiners and customers of Keystone XL have said. The fact is the U.S. consumes the vast majority of all the refined products it produces. In 2012, only about 9% of U.S. refined on-road motor fuel was exported – the other 91 per cent was consumed in the United States first.
State Department’s finds Keystone XL won’t impact export trends
The State Department’s market analysis in Keystone XL’s final supplemental environmental impact statement states, “U.S. product exports are not sensitive to different scenarios of pipeline development.” Essentially saying that exports occur (and have occurred for more than 20 years) with or without Keystone XL and the project would not impact those those trends.
What do our customers say?
Bill Day, spokesperson for oil refining company Valero, has told media that the export allegations are, “completely wrong” and that “Over the past several quarters, Valero has exported less than 10 per cent of the gasoline it makes. The vast majority of what we make in the U.S. stays in the U.S.”
We also know that tens of thousands of jobs are tied to refining and creating the products we need and use every day. Supporting the domestic refining industry with more domestic oil at lower prices keeps the industry competitive, protects jobs and supports its growth.
Isn’t the U.S. using less gasoline?
The fact that the U.S. is using less gasoline is technically true however that statement without context is a bit misleading. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, in 2012, about 133 billion gallons (or 3.18 billion barrels) of gasoline were consumed in the United States, a daily average of about 365.65 million gallons (or 8.71 million barrels). This was about 6% less than the record high of about 142.35 billion gallons (or 3.39 billion barrels) consumed in 2007.
The United States still uses a lot of gasoline, diesel and aviation fuels. That is not going to change overnight. What can change overnight is where the U.S. sources the crude oil to create the products that we use every day. Keystone XL is as shovel-ready as projects get. Within months of a Presidential Permit, 9,000 men and women in the United States can begin working on a project that will bring lower-cost North American crude oil to U.S. refineries, reducing reliance on conflict oil from Venezuela and the Middle East and enhancing energy security.
MYTH: “Landowners are responsible and liable in the event of an oil spill.”
Fact: TransCanada is 100 per cent responsible for responding, cleaning and restoring the site in the unlikely event of a pipeline leak.
It’s our responsibility – as a good company and under law. If anything happens on the Keystone XL Pipeline, rapid response is key. That’s why our Emergency Response plans are approved by state
and federal agencies, and why we practice them regularly. We conduct regular emergency exercises, and aerial surveys every two weeks. We’re ready to respond with a highly-trained response team standing by. At TransCanada, we continually look at ways to improve our system. Since 2011, TransCanada has invested an average of about $900 million per year in its pipeline integrity and maintenance programs.
MYTH: “Keystone XL is an export pipeline to China.”
Fact: Not a drop of crude oil will be exported.
The Keystone XL Pipeline is not a crude oil export pipeline — period. It is a supply line to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries — which have signed up to 20-year binding commercial contracts to receive oil through Keystone XL. This much-needed oil will allow refineries to create products that we all rely on every day — gasoline for our vehicles, aviation fuels, and diesel fuels to help transport goods throughout the continent. It makes absolutely no sense for companies to purchase cheaper Canadian crude, and then pay (again) to ship that product overseas, while continuing to import higher-priced oil from the Middle East and Venezuela. The U.S. is an overwhelming net importer of crude oil. The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) have both forecast the U.S. will still need to import oil to meet its domestic demand for decades, despite growing oil production in the U.S. U.S. and Canadian production tranposrted by will displace more expensive crude oils from less stable countries.
MYTH: “Keystone XL will provide little economic benefit in the United States.”
Fact: The Keystone XL Pipeline project will support the creation of 9,000 construction jobs in the United States – work for pipefitters, welders, electricians, heavy equipment operators and many more.
The Department of State noted in the DEIS that Keystone XL will contribute to America’s long-term energy security,support tens of thousands of jobs, and provide billions in private sector investment, earnings and taxes.
The DEIS report states:
- Construction of the proposed project would contribute approximately $3.4 billion to U.S. GDP if implemented.
- A total of 42,100 jobs throughout the United States would be supported by construction of the proposed project.
- Total employment earnings supported by the proposed project would be approximately $2.053 billion.
The first Keystone Pipeline directly employed 8,969 workers, the recently completed Gulf Coast Pipeline directly employed 4,844, Keystone XL will put 9,000 more U.S. laborers to work on this much needed critical energy infrastructure project.
MYTH: “Keystone XL will not be a safe pipeline.”
Fact: Keystone XL will be the safest pipeline ever constructed in the United States.
Keystone XL will use satellite technology to monitor 20,000 data points on the pipeline’s operating conditions. TransCanada has also voluntarily agreed to 57 new safety procedures to provide even greater confidence regarding the operating and monitoring of Keystone XL. This includes a higher number of remotely controlled shut-off valves, increased pipeline inspections and burying the pipe deeper in the ground. The Department of State, Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS – March, 2013) for Keystone XL concluded, “the incorporation of 57 special conditions would result in a project that would have a degree of safety over any other typically constructed domestic oil pipeline system
under the current code”.
MYTH: “Keystone XL means game over for the climate.”
Fact: Keystone XL is an environmentally responsible project.
The tagline on which Keystone XL’s professional activist opposition has campaigned has no scientific merit. In fact, some of the world’s most prominent climate scientists agree that claim is nothing more than sensationalist hyperbole. David Keith, a climate scientist at Harvard University called, “The extreme statements — that this is ‘game over’ for the planet — are clearly not intellectually true”. Ken Caldeira, a climate researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California, says “I don’t believe that whether the pipeline is built or not will have any detectable climate effect”. David Victor, a climate-policy expert at the University of California, San Diego, “As a serious strategy for dealing with climate, blocking Keystone is a waste of time”.
In addition, two of Canada’s most respected climate scientists – Andrew Weaver and Neil Swart of the University of Victoria – published research in the British scientific journal ‘Nature Climate Change’. They confirmed the climate impact of producing the oil sands is nowhere near a ‘doomsday scenario’. The research found that even if every single barrel of the oil sands is produced (a near impossible feat), it would result in a cumulative global warming impact of 0.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Similarly, a study by energy research group IHS CERA found that Keystone XL “will have no material impact on U.S. GHGs.”
Keystone XL is a choice between construction of a pipeline that supports the creation of 40,000 American jobs and reduces America’s dependence on Venezuelan and Middle Eastern crude oil versus continuing to import oil from countries that do not share American values.
MYTH: “Keystone XL will only create 35 jobs.”
FACT: Keystone XL will create thousands of jobs.
The claim that Keystone XL will create “35 jobs” is entirely without merit. Our U.S. oil pipeline system supports the creation of over 20,000 jobs in the U.S. – 13,000 construction jobs (9,000 KXL, 4,000 Gulf Coast Project) – work for pipefitters, welders, electricians, heavy equipment operators and more. And 7,000 manufacturing jobs – from the pipe being manufactured in Arkansas, pump motors made in Ohio and transformers built in Pennsylvania, workers in almost every state in the U.S. would benefit. TransCanada has signed binding Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) with all major building trades unions which guarantee TransCanada will have the best and most talented laborers constructing this vital infrastructure project.
The State Department’s own review found that Keystone XL will generate just over 42,000 jobs both directly (employed on the project itself) and induced (as result of the economic stimulus the project will generate). We can demonstrate down to the single job, how many employees we require to build our pipelines.
MYTH: Oil sands crude is more corrosive than conventional crude oil.
This myth, invented by oil sands opposition groups without any evidence has been debunked by some of the world’s leading and most respected scientific research organizations including the National Academy of Sciences, Natural Resources Canada, Battelle Memorial, Penspen Institute and Alberta Innovates at the University of Calgary.
Each one of these studies found:
- No evidence of causes of pipeline failure unique to the transportation of diluted bitumen
- No evidence of chemical or physical properties of diluted bitumen that are outside the range of other crude oils
- No evidence that any aspects of the transportation of diluted bitumen by transmission pipeline would cause releases more likely than the transportation of other crude oils
- The dilution process needed to help these heavy oils flow yield a stable and fully mixed product for shipping by pipeline with density and viscosity levels in the range of other crude oils transported by pipeline in the United States
- No evidence of unique or extreme properties that make diluted bitumen shipments more likely to cause internal corrosion or erosion
The fact is oil sands crude is very well understood by scientists and engineers and has been shipped safely through pipelines for nearly 50 years. Every batch of crude oil entering TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline is tested to ensure it meets strict specifications before being transported to the United States.