CERAWeek by IHS Markit

TransCanada is cautiously optimistic about the Keystone Pipeline

The construction of the Gulf Coast Project pipeline in Atoka, Oklahoma. This 480-mile crude oil pipeline is being constructed by TransCanada and is part of the Keystone Pipeline Project.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

TransCanada COO Alex Pourbaix said he is cautiously optimistic about the prospects for the Keystone XL Pipeline and the U.S. pipeline business.

"In terms of the U.S., one of President Trump's real significant focuses is streamlining regulations," said Pourbaix, speaking at the CERAWeek by IHS annual energy conference. "So far, so good."

The controversial Keystone XL Pipeline got a push forward from the Trump administration. Last week, the White House said the Keystone would be exempted from Trump's new order that all pipelines be built with U.S. steel.

"I think we are cautiously optimistic with respect to Keystone and the projects in the U.S. We are seeing some green shoots of optimism in the pipeline sector," he said.

The pipeline would take 800,000 barrels a day of oil from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska, for shipment to Gulf Coast refineries. "There's always been a strong supply-and-demand" story for Keystone, Pourbaix said. "We are very confident we will meet all of the expectations of our regulator."

More than 50% of pipeline for Keystone sitting idle

Pourbaix was on a panel along with Jim Carr, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources. Carr said with the change in government in the United States, the fundamentals of the U.S. and Canadian relationship don't change. The Trump administration is pushing for new trade policies, including the renegotiation of NAFTA.

"Our economies are integrated, and they have been for a long time," Carr said, noting energy interests are especially integrated. Carr added that he will have his first discussion with newly named U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry later today.

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Carr said the Canadian government's interests are aligned with the United States. "We are in this together," he said, adding that countries help each other create jobs.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will attend CERAWeek on Thursday as the conference keynote speaker.