Keystone left behind as Canadian oil pours into U.S.

Robert Tuttle
A storage tank in Hardisty, Alberta, Canada.

The volume of Canadian crude processed at Gulf Coast refineries could climb to more than 400,000 barrels a day in 2015 from 208,000 in August, according to Jackie Forrest, vice president of Calgary-based ARC Financial Corp. The increase comes as Enbridge Inc.’s Flanagan South and an expanded Seaway pipeline raise their capacity to ship oil by as much as 450,000 barrels a day. Canadian exports to the Gulf rose 83 percent in the past four years.

The expansion shows Canadians are finding alternative entry points into the U.S. while the Keystone saga drags on. In the latest chapter, a Democratic senator and a Republican representative sought votes in their chambers to set the project in motion. The two are squaring off in a runoff election for a Senate seat from Louisiana, a state where support for the project is strong.

“Keystone is kind of old news,” Sandy Fielden, director of energy analytics at Austin, Texas-based consulting company RBN Energy, said Nov. 12 in an e-mail. “Producers have moved on and are looking for new capacity from other pipelines.”