Keystone XL Pipeline: High Risk High Reward
The Keystone pipeline is a major project with a lot of companies investing major cash. Like any investment, there are risks that are taken in order to hopefully reap rewards later. What are some problems that will arise during this project? Paul Ausick discusses the risks involved with the Keystone pipeline project.
TransCanada stands to lose the most if the project is denied. The entire Keystone pipeline system is nearly fully contracted for a total of 900,000 barrels/day for an average term of 18 years. That is a big loss if the pipeline isn’t built. The largest producer in the oil sands is Syncrude, a joint venture that includes Imperial Oil Resources (wholly owned by Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM)), Suncor Energy Inc. (NYSE: SU), and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (NYSE: SNP) — Sinopec — among others. Other producers include ConocoPhillips Corp. (NYSE: COP), Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX), Murphy Oil Corp. (NYSE: MUR), Total SA (NYSE: TOT), Royal Dutch Shell plc (NYSE: RDS-A), BP plc. (NYSE: BP), and Devon Energy Corp. (NYSE: DVN).
These companies won’t lose everything because the bitumen from the oil sands will go somewhere, somehow. Unless, of course, the Canadian government decides to shut down every project in Alberta, and that simply will not happen. One of the big problems facing the producers now is that they’re crude is landlocked and sells at a substantial discount to WTI. For the week ending September 23rd, Heavy Hardesty grade crude sold for $78.28/barrel, while WTI sold for $80.29 and Brent sold for $109.17. Getting crude from Alberta to a coast, any coast, is critical for producers.
If the Keystone XL pipeline is killed, an expansion to an existing pipeline system to the US/Canadian west coast could take up some of the slack. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (NYSE: KMP) is investigating an expansion to its Trans Mountain system and Enbridge Inc. (NYSE: ENB) has already begun the permitting process for a similar pipeline to the west.
Another interesting development are proposals from both of Canada’s major railroads to construct a pipeline-by-rail from Alberta to west coast. And while nothing officially like a pipeline-by-rail has been proposed for the run to the US Gulf Coast, rail traffic has already increased substantially from North Dakota south to Cushing and, eventually producers hope, to the Gulf.
Problems are bound to come up with such a large project. If you are investing in this pipeline project, in some form or another, its probably good to know the things that could possibly go wrong.
Quotes taken from report by Paul Ausick, Read the entire article here.
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