A lot has been said in recent months about the nature of the oil that will be transported in TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. Unfortunately, much of the information used by opponents of our project is based upon myths and misperceptions about the Canadian oil sands and pipelines that carry crude oil.
Like most oil pipelines in North America, Keystone XL is designed to carry various grades of crude oil from different sources, all of which must meet strict tariff specifications and regulatory requirements in the U.S. and Canada. The composition of oil sands crude is very similar to California heavy oil and the other heavy oils already being transported and refined on the Gulf Coast of Texas every day.
It is true that raw bitumen must be diluted in order to flow efficiently through a pipeline, but this does not make the oil any more corrosive or dangerous. More than a dozen studies conducted in the last few years have shown that diluted bitumen and other crude oils derived from the oil sands have the same characteristics as traditional light crude oils and pose no added risks to pipeline safety.
TransCanada is not just in the business of delivering products from Canada’s oil sands. Up to one-quarter of the capacity of the Keystone XL pipeline will be devoted to transporting light, sweet crude produced from the Bakken formation in Montana and North Dakota.
President, Energy and Oil Pipelines