The US State Departments recent decision to delay TransCanadas expansion of its Keystone pipeline
system is unlikely to turn into a permanent rejection,
according to a poll of Hydrocarbon Processing readers.
An overwhelming 78% of respondents predict the pipeline will
gain approval from the US in 2013, following the US
presidential election in November 2012.
The pipeline is critical for energy firms that have
invested billions of dollars in expanding the production
capacity of Canadas oil sands and refurbishing US
refineries to handle heavy crude. Canadian oil officials have
said they will look to export crude to Asia if the US cannot
reach a pipeline agreement.
The State Department in November said it was postponing the
decision until it explores a rerouting that would avoid environmentally-sensitive areas in
Critics have alleged that US President Barack Obama is
stalling the decision to avoid offending environmentalists, who are expected
to largely support his re-election bid in 2012.
But following the election, the environmentalists would lose much of
their leverage on Obama, analysts say, allowing his
administration to approve the pipeline.
Moreover, if he were to lose the election, it would be to a
challenger from the Republican Party, which largely supports
The oil industry says the pipeline is safe and will create
thousands of jobs.
Another 13% of poll respondents are even more optimistic,
predicting the pipeline will gain approval before the 2012
That would be ahead of the 18-month period given by the
State Department, but TransCanada has said in recent weeks that
it is willing to make rerouting
changes to expedite the timeframe.
Only 9% of readers say Keystone XL will never be
For more details on the pipelines status, click here.
To see more details on the poll as well as access prior
Hydrocarbon Processing poll results,
(Editors note: Polls are
where we at Hydrocarbon Processing gather industry
sentiment on significant issues of the day. Visit the HP home
page to weigh in on our latest poll on whether the EU will ban
Iran oil imports.)
Additional reporting by Dow Jones