Russ Girling, president and CEO of TransCanada
Credits: REUTERS/TODD KOROL
Enough energy producers are lined up to use a much larger terminal at Hardisty, AB, to go ahead with the $275 million project, Grady Semmens said.
"Over the next 20 years, there is a strong demand to access the Keystone system," he said.
The company expects to gain federal approval that would see eight tanks added to the three existing ones at the site, bumping up the pre-shipping storage capacity from one million to 2.6 million barrels, Semmens said.
The project also piggybacks, he said, on confidence the White House will approve the building of the Keystone XL pipeline from the Canada-US border to Cushing, OK, and then to the Gulf Coast
"We're fully expecting it to have the president's approval by the beginning of next year," Semmens said, noting TransCanada resubmitted an application for an alternate route last week.
"The plan is to be able to service the Keystone of the future, but certainly the terminal is going to go ahead regardless."
It's not certain how many jobs would be created by the terminal project, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.
TransCanada's confidence could be premature, said Jamie Henn, an activist with 360.org, an opponent of Keystone XL based on global warming concerns.
"They can make their business decisions but they'll still run into political hurdles and grassroots opposition," Henn said.
He said the company has already acquired pipeline materials for the Midwest U.S. leg only to be stymied.
"Their stuff is still sitting there rusting today," he said.
But he acknowledged U.S. President Barack Obama, who's already temporarily denied the pipeline a permit, "is under incredible political pressure."
While pipeline proponents insist the Keystone XL oil is crucial for US energy security, opponents contend much of it will be exported at Gulf Coast terminals.