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Is Keystone XL Pipeline Project, Stalled for Years, About to Become Irrelevant?

When TransCanada first proposed the Keystone XL pipeline in 2008, the company hoped it would be done by 2012 and begin carrying heavy crude from the Alberta oil sands in Western Canada down to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Six years later the pipeline remains in limbo, stymied by Department of State reviews, route adjustments, lawsuits, environmental and economic studies, and (most important) an Obama administration that appears truly divided on the issue. Last month the State Department announced that no decision would come until after November's midterm elections.

While Canadian officials remain “hopeful” that KXL will ultimately get approved, they’re not banking on it. While KXL languishes, pipeline companies are scrambling to get approval for a handful of other projects that would move vast amounts of Alberta’s heavy oil east and west, but not south.

Canadian regulators are currently considering four major pipeline projects: Two of them would move the crude to the west coast of Canada, where it would have easy access to Asian markets; the other two propose piping oil all the way east across southern Canada to refiners in Ontario and Quebec, which are stuck taking more expensive imported oil.

So is Keystone in danger of becoming irrelevant?

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