Keystone XL delayed until 2013, media reports say

Energy  Politics

Numerous media reports, quoting sources, are saying that approval of  the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas has been delayed until 2013,  after the current American election cycle.

The New York Times
says U.S. to Delay Decision on Pipeline Until After Election

The Obama administration is preparing to delay a decision on the contested Keystone XL pipeline while it studies an alternate route, effectively pushing any action past the 2012 election, officials and lobbyists who have been briefed on the matter said on Thursday. An announcement is expected as early as Thursday afternoon.

The proposed project by a Canadian pipeline company had put President Obama in a political vise, squeezed between demands for secure energy sources and the jobs the project will bring, and the loud opposition of environmental advocates who have threatened to withhold electoral support next year if he approves it.

CBC reports Keystone project reportedly shelved until 2013

The U.S. State Department will order another environmental assessment for the Keystone XL pipeline route, allowing U.S. President Barack Obama to shelve the controversial issue until after the 2012 elections, media reports said Thursday.

Earlier Reuters and Bloomberg reported that US State Department had ordered new studies on the route of the Keystone pipeline.

Reuters says

The United States will study a new route for the Keystone XL Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline, U.S. officials said on Thursday, delaying any final approval beyond the 2012 election and sparing President Barack Obama a politically risky decision for now.

The delay was a victory for environmentalists who say oil sands crude development emits large amounts of greenhouse gases. It would deal a blow to companies developing Alberta’s oil sands and to TransCanada Corp, which planned to build and operate the conduit.

Analysts have said a long delay could kill the $7 billion project because it would cause shippers and refiners to look for alternative routes to get Canadian oil sands crude

The questions for northwestern British Columbia is, whether long delays in the Keystone XL pipeline will ramp up pressure to build the Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat. One big difference here is that Stephen Harper has already won re-election and has a safe and pro-pipeline majority government.