Senator asks company to clarify statements that oil won't "leave this continent"

WASHINGTON (November 5, 2013) - Senator Edward J. Markey (DMass.) today asked the CEO of TransCanada to affirm that his company will not allow the export of crude oil or refined products like gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from the Keystone XL pipeline. In a letter sent to TransCanada's Russell Girling on the day that his company announced a 30 percent increase in profits, Senator Markey asks Mr. Girling to clarify his comments to Politico last week that "not a drop of this crude oil is going to leave this continent that's moving through our pipeline." 

Senator Markey also asks TransCanada to enter into legally binding contracts banning export of Keystone oil or refined fuels.

"It is imperative that the American people and policy makers fully and properly understand the energy security impacts of this proposed pipeline," writes Senator Markey. "I am concerned that your recent comments continue to fail to properly address the ultimate fate of the refined fuels that would be produced from oil transported through the pipeline and therefore do not adequately guarantee that the American people will realize any energy security benefits from this project."

The full letter from Senator Markey to TransCanada can be found HERE .

In the interview with Politico, Mr. Girling said that "I've talked to every one of these refiners. I know every one of these producers and they have no plans to export a drop. It will all go into U.S. refineries and be refined in the U.S." The proposed Keystone XL project would deliver oil from Alberta, Canada to existing pipeline facilities connected to the Gulf Coast, which is where the vast majority of the United States' exports of refined fuels depart.

Senator Markey's letter notes that Mr. Girling's statements only apply to the export of crude oil but not refined fuels. "If the refined fuels produced from oil transported through the Keystone pipeline are simply exported, it would nullify the potential energy security benefits to the United States from the project," writes Senator Markey.

Previously, thenRepresentative Markey challenged TransCanada on this question at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on December 2, 2011. There he asked Alexander Pourbaix, TransCanada's President of Energy and Oil Pipelines, whether he would commit to including a requirement in TransCanada's longterm contracts with Gulf Coast refineries, as a condition of shipping, that all refined fuels produced from oil transported through the Keystone XL pipeline be sold in the United States. In response, Mr. Pourbaix stated "no, I can't do that."

"The Keystone XL pipeline would ignore the impact that tar sands production has on our climate. It would ignore the impact of pipeline spills on our environment. And this project would ask the United States to bear all of the environmental risk of transporting tar sands oil without ensuring that American consumers or our energy security realize any benefits," concludes Senator Markey.