TransCanada says it's moved "significantly closer" toward building the Keystone XL pipeline. Through its crown corporation, the province's Petroleum Marketing Commission will pledge 50,000 barrels of oil per day for 20 years, The Globe and Mail reported.
A leading opponent of the project, Bold Nebraska, brushed off Thursday's announcement, calling the 500,000-barrel-a-day commitment for a pipeline created to carry 830,000 barrels "shockingly weak".
"The Keystone XL pipeline will never be built", Kleeb said in a news release.
In November, TransCanada obtained approval for a route across Nebraska, the last regulatory hurdle facing the decade-old project.
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The project faces opposition from environmental groups, property owners along the route and Native American tribes as a threat to groundwater, a challenge to property rights, and a potential new source of greenhouse gases. That challenge isn't expected to be resolved until later in the year. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. now owns 40,707 shares of the pipeline company's stock valued at $1,941,000 after acquiring an additional 216 shares during the period. A decision on that question, expected in December, was delayed.
While Thursday's announcement isn't a final decision, it shows TransCanada has no immediate plans to halt its almost decade-long pursuit of the pipeline, despite recent developments in Nebraska.
Opponents scoffed at TransCanada's assertion that construction could begin by 2019.
"The capacity demands of the projected oil and gas production are going to require Kinder, they're going to require Line 3, they're going to require Keystone XL", she said.
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"The commitment bolsters industry confidence and stability for this project as well as Alberta's economy as a whole", said the spokeswoman.
The Keystone extension will be connected to an existing pipeline network in the US, allowing for 830,000 barrels of oil to be transported from landlocked Alberta, Canada to US Gulf Coast refineries. Morgan Stanley raised TransCanada from an "equal weight" rating to an "overweight" rating and set a $54.00 price target for the company in a research note on Thursday, January 11th.
Legal action against the Keystone XL, he added, could take two to three years to resolve.
"The government needs to ditch the prehistoric energy positions and start getting Alberta back on track by investing in technologies and energies of the future, not the past", said Greenpeace campaigner Mike Hudema in a statement.
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The proposed pipeline, which would bring oil from Hardisty, Alta., to markets in the U.S. Gulf Coast and Midwest, has faced significant opposition from environmentalists for much of the almost 10 years TransCanada has been working to make it a reality.