Another TransCanada Pipeline Gets Go-Ahead; Still Waiting on Keystone XL OK

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TransCanada Corp. (NYSE: TRP) announced this morning that it will proceed to the next stage of development for its Energy East pipeline, which is intended to carry 1.1 million barrels a day from the oil sands region of Alberta to Quebec and New Brunswick. The company said it has received binding, long-term contracts from both producers and refiners totaling about 900,000 barrels a day of the pipeline’s planned capacity.

The company also put in a plug for its Keystone XL pipeline that will transport crude from Alberta to the Gulf Coast of the United States:

Energy East is one solution for transporting crude oil but the industry also requires additional pipelines such as Keystone XL to transport growing supplies of Canadian and U.S. crude oil to existing North American markets. Both pipelines are required to meet the need for safe and reliable pipeline infrastructure and are underpinned with binding, long-term agreements.

A couple of interesting points about this pipeline. First, the recent rail disaster in Quebec may have cooled some of the enthusiasm for transporting crude and refined products by rail. Railroads wind through cities and towns where lots of people live; pipelines generally run through less populated areas. Deliveries to Quebec are scheduled to begin in late 2017.

Second, TransCanada and Canada’s Irving Oil plan to build a new deep-water terminal in St. John, New Brunswick, both to feed Irving’s New Brunswick refinery and to provide an export terminal for crude to refineries along the east coast of the United States. The pipeline will not begin making deliveries to New Brunswick until 2018.

TransCanada’s shares are inactive in premarket trading this morning, having closed last night at $45.72 in a 52-week range of $42.39 to $49.65.

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