Path Home Shows 2010 Show Archive December 2010 Show 1049 Keystone Pipeline

Keystone Pipeline

Today we look at the Keystone Pipeline; a complex construction project that will not only lessen our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, but provide jobs to Middle America.
Keystone Pipeline

Keystone Pipeline

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TransCanada--Keystone Pipeline Project

Show Dates

Show 1049: Keystone Pipeline

Air date: December 5, 2010



Rob McClendon:  The world’s second largest oil reserves are not found in the Middle East, but in the oil sands of Alberta, Canada.  Estimates are as much as 175 billion barrels of oil can be recovered there using today’s technology.  But getting those massive supplies from northern Canada to refineries here in the US is no small undertaking.

Today we begin with a look at the Keystone Pipeline; a complex construction project that will not only lessen our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, but provide jobs to Middle America.  OETA’s Cathy Tatom takes us to Cushing, Oklahoma to start us off.

Cathy Tatom:  The final pieces of pipe are being carefully lifted and set into place at the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline into Oklahoma.

Jim Prescott:  Ultimately Keystone will have the capacity to deliver 1.1 million barrels a day; and to put that in perspective, we use about 19 million barrels a day of oil in the country.

Cathy:  The 36-inch pipeline will eventually span the country from the Canadian Border to Houston’s oil refineries.  Phase 2 of construction brings it into Cushing; Phases 3 and 4 will take it the rest of the way across Oklahoma and through Texas.  Around the first of the year, crude will begin flowing through the pipeline into Keystone’s Cushing Terminal.

Jim:  Cushing is a vital hub in the distribution network.

Cathy:  Millions of barrels of crude travel in and out of Cushing’s vast tank farms and pipelines; some goes to refineries, some goes to storage.

Stephen Spears:  Almost every major oil company has some type of facilities in and around Cushing; I would guess there’s 20 or better major pipelines across the Cushing area.

Cathy:  Keystone is the latest; its pipeline got the green light after Hurricane Katrina disrupted oil deliveries to the Gulf Coast refineries in 2005.  Supporters call a pipeline running underground from Canada through the US a safe, eco-friendly way to ensure America’s energy security.

Jim:  There aren’t many hurricanes in Canada; and hurricanes generally aren’t much of a concern when it comes to pipelines.

Cathy:  Opponents don’t like that the majority of oil it will carry comes from oil sand fields in Alberta, Canada.  They believe drilling operations could compromise the area’s environment.  Keystone’s operators say they don’t drill, they provide the means to get the crude from oil fields to refineries and storage facilities in Illinois, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Jim:  In Oklahoma, Keystone is making a capital investment of almost $850 million dollars.

Jim:  And we estimate that Keystone construction in 2010 will generate about $20 million dollars in additional tax revenue for the State of Oklahoma.  And for local economies, like Cushing and Stillwater and Payne County and Lincoln County; it’ll generate another $4 million for local economies.

Cathy:  Putting in this pipeline means there’s a need for a lot more storage here in Cushing so the tank farms are going up right and left.

Stephen:  My understanding is about 100 new tanks within this year’s construction and looking forward, you know we may have another 100 or 200 more tanks that are going to be constructed.

Cathy:  The rusty ones aren’t old; they’re still under construction and just haven’t gotten a shiny top coat of paint yet.

Stephen:  The old tanks were like 80,000 barrels, most all the new tanks being constructed are 250, or 350, or 500,000 barrel tanks.

Cathy:  Which means Cushing’s tank farms and pipelines will remain a key component in the nation’s ability to store and distribute crude oil.