Perhaps one of the most controversial political topics of the past six years, the Keystone XL pipeline debate gained ground last week when the House of Representatives passed the bill that approves the debated pipeline. The Senate is set to vote on whether or not to build the pipeline on Tuesday. The Takeaway with John Hockenberry on National Public Radio interviewed possibly the pipeline’s biggest advocate, North Dakota Senator John Hoeven. Hoeven stated that the pipeline was “necessary for U.S energy security.” He explained, “Here’s the reality, for us to have the kind of energy plan that we want, to be truly secure, we need to produce energy from all different sources. We produce more than the amount of oil we consume, so we don’t need to get it from the Middle East.” Hoeven added, “We need the infrastructure to move that product around the country and that means adequate pipelines.”
Hockenberry mentioned that the major argument against the Keystone is that it mostly functions as a way for Canadian oil, which will most likely be exported, to travel through America to refineries. Hoeven explained that the pipeline would also transport 100,000 barrels of Bakken crude a day from North Dakota. He added that he believes that the Senate may pass the bill, but that the president will veto it. He ended the segment by saying, “I really do think we have a good chance to build this project next year.”
Alternatively, in an interview with Politico, the CEO of Bakken giant Continental Resources, Harold Hamm stated that he felt differently about the pipeline. “It’s not relevant at all in my opinion. And here we are making it relevant now? Forget it.” Continental Resources is the second largest oil producer in North Dakota, behind Whiting Petroleum. Prior to Whiting’s acquisition of Kodiak Oil and Gas this summer Continental Resources was the Bakken region’s largest. Hamm’s comment represents the oil industry moving past the Keystone and focusing on other pipeline projects in order to support its need for infrastructure.
If passed, the Keystone XL would run from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in Alberta, Canada to refineries in Illinois and the Gulf Coast of Texas. It would carry 590,000 barrels of oil per day. The project has been in limbo for six years.