Increasing oil production in Canada's Alberta Province is creating a supply glut, and several U.S. agencies are considering a proposed pipeline expansion that would expand oil imports from Canada, according to the Wall Street Journal.
An estimated 170 billion barrels of oil are in the ground in Alberta, giving the province the third largest proven oil reserves in the world (after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela). The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would boost the Alberta-to-U.S. supply capacity from 591,000 barrels a day to 1.1 million barrels a day.
The pipeline now reaches from Alberta to Cushing, Okla. The project would expand the capacity and extend the pipeline's reach to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The pipeline would travel through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. The project is expected to bring a $20 billion investment and 13,000 jobs (along with another estimated 118,000 spin-off jobs) to those six states.
The project gained momentum this month when the U.S. State Department reported that the proposed pipeline expansion wouldn't cause significant environmental problems during construction or operation.
The State Department report removes a major roadblock to construction of the pipeline, but does not grant final approval, according to the Journal. The department has authority over the project because it crosses an international boundary. An alternative plan is under consideration to pipe the oil to Asian markets if the U.S. does not approve the pipeline extension, the Journal reported.
The oil that the pipeline would carry is derived from Alberta's tar sands. Tar sands oil is thicker than light crude oil and the refining process is more energy intensive. There is some opposition to the use of tar sands oil in the U.S. Congress and the environmental community.
To read a Wall Street Journal article about the pipeline, click here.
To read an Associated Press story about the State Department's report on the Keystone XL Pipeline, click here.
To read a Bloomberg Businessweek story about the State Department's report on the Keystone XL Pipeline, click here.
To read a U.S. Department of Energy report on how oil production in the Gulf Coast region affects pricing, click here.
To read a Washington Times article on job creation and the Keystone XL pipeline,click here.
To visit the Keystone XL Pipeline web page, click here.
To read a FuelFix article on protests against the Keystone XL pipeline, click here.