TransCanada's CEO: Partial pipeline opening a win-win

Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 | 3:31 PM ET
TransCanada CEO: Keystone Gulf Coast safest pipeline ever
Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 | 1:31 PM ET
TransCanada CEO Russell Girling discusses the announcement that it will now ship crude oil through the southern portion of its Keystone pipeline, and the state of business.

The Keystone pipeline is open for business, at least some of it.

On Wednesday, TransCanada began shipping crude oil on its Gulf Coast pipeline. The oil is being routed on the existing section of TransCanada's Keystone line from a major storage depot in Cushing, Okla., to refiners in Texas on the Gulf of Mexico.

(Read more: Why oil refiners love today's Keystone news)

TransCanada's CEO, Russ Girling, told "Power Lunch" it's a win-win for producers and refiners alike, saying "on the producing side, the glut of crude oil in the Cushing area has resulted in a discount or wider discount than normal and because you couldn't get to the Gulf Coast, those refiners were having to pay world market prices for their supply."

Girling continued "the refiners will be able to access cheaper supply and the producers will get a higher price for their crude."

Because the northern part of the pipeline hasn't been approved by U.S. regulators Canadian companies are still shipping their oil to Cushing. Girling calls that "inefficient" but he believes it's an important first step in getting all that Canadian oil sands product south. Estimates say the line from Cushing to Texas can carry 700,000 barrels per day.

While the northern half of the Keystone pipeline remains in limbo, Girling believes the southern part of the line is not dangerous, saying "this will be the safest pipeline ever built."

He also says he welcomes extra regulation: "The scrutiny and oversight will help us be better, it will ensure this pipeline operates safely and if it does have any incidents we will be on top of them right away."

Shares of TransCanada on Wednesday finished modestly lower at $44.06. The stock is down 10 percent in the last year.

What's the stock doing now? Click here for the latest quote.

—By CNBC's Jason Gewirtz

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