Announcement of alternate tar-sands pipeline sends Midwest oil prices surging
Cross-posted from ThinkProgress Green.
After the spiking of the Keystone XL pipeline by the Obama administration, the tar-sands industry moved quickly to open an alternate route from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries. With the announcement of the pipeline deal, U.S. oil prices spiked, on the expectation that Canadian tar-sands crude would no longer be locked in the Midwest market. ConocoPhillips sold its stake in the Seaway Pipeline, which connects Texas to Oklahoma, to Enbridge Inc. Enbridge plans to alter the 200,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) pipeline so that it can take Candian crude from Oklahoma to Texas:
The sale of an oil pipeline running from Oklahoma to Texas upended U.S. energy markets Wednesday, sending the price of crude surging above $100 a barrel as America copes with the promise and pitfalls of its new energy boom. Enbridge Inc. — which bought a 50 percent stake in the Seaway Pipeline — announced it would reverse the direction of the flow, allowing more crude to move south from oil storage in Cushing, Okla., into the world’s largest refinery complex along the Gulf Coast.
Every analysis has been that giving Canada access to Gulf Coast refineries would increase prices for Americans. TransCanada estimated its 700,000 bpd Keystone XL pipeline would increase oil prices by about $6.55 a barrel in the United States.
Despite the facts, the fiction that building the Keystone XL pipeline would benefit American oil consumers has been popular among proponents.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) claimed the Keystone XL project would “reduce prices at the pump for consumers.” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the pipeline would “lower gas prices.” Energy chair Fred Upton (R-Mich.) claimed expediting the pipeline would “lower energy prices.” Natural Resource Committee chair Doc Hastings (R-Texas) claimed Keystone XL would “lower gasoline prices.” Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) said it would “help reduce energy prices.” Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said his vote to approve the pipeline “reduces the cost of gas and boosts the economy.” Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) complained that “delaying the pipeline will hurt American energy prices.” Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) said [PDF] the pipeline would mean “lower prices.” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said the pipeline would help “stabilize prices at the pump for Michigan families.” Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) claimed it would “lower gas prices.” Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) said the pipeline would help “hold down future price increases.” It would “help reduce the burden of high gas prices on American families,” claimed Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.). Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) said it would “lower the price of fuel for all Americans.”