TransCanada Corp. gave its strongest signal yet that it has enough demand from producers to fill the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline with oil. Now the ball is in Nebraska’s court.

While the company has long said it expected sufficient support from oil producers, TransCanada completed an open season for them to bid for space on the line last month, giving it hard data on demand.

Then, on a conference call to discuss third-quarter earnings on Thursday, Royal Bank of Canada analyst Robert Kwan asked, “Is it fair to say, based on what you’re seeing in terms of the submissions, that you pretty much have the volumes that you need but that obviously there are some conditions and other things that you need to work through?”

“Your comment is accurate,” replied Paul Miller, head of TransCanada’s liquids pipeline business, who added that the company is still evaluating issues raised by potential shippers. “We’re quite encouraged by the results we have seen.”

With the question of producer support mostly settled, the focus turns to a decision from regulators in Nebraska later this month on whether the pipeline can proceed. While any ruling there will almost certainly be challenged in court, a go-ahead would give TransCanada unfettered authority to begin laying pipe for the first time in its almost decade-long push to build the pipeline, which would bring more crude from Canada’s oil sands to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.

While investors may be holding their breath on Keystone, the company isn’t standing still. The company posted third-quarter results on Thursday that met analysts’ estimates, and said it placed the $900 million Grand Rapids crude pipeline and the $1 billion Northern Courier bitumen and diluent pipeline into service. It also started shipping natural gas under new long-term, fixed price contracts on its Canadian Mainline.

On the downside, the company delayed …read more

Source:: Calgary Herald

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