CP Rail sees Keystone approval, confident in crude-by-rail

Wed Mar 6, 2013 5:34pm EST
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* CEO says expects crude-by-rail growth to double in 2013

* Says could grow two to three times by 2016

* Says growth expectations do not hinge on Keystone approval

* Operating ratio could touch "70 percent barrier" this year

TORONTO, March 6 (Reuters) - Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd assumes Washington will approve the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, and remains confident in the long-term viability of its crude-by-rail business, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

"I happen to think maybe there's a play or a need for both," said Hunter Harrison, CEO of Canada's second-largest railway, referring to rail and pipelines.

He said trains can redirect shipments according to market needs more easily than pipelines.

"If the pipeline ought to be built for North America, so be it. I'm not against pipelines," he said on a webcast of an industry conference in New York. "But I don't think whether Keystone comes or doesn't happen, it's going to affect those numbers."

TransCanada Corp is awaiting approval from the U.S. government for its controversial $5.3 billion oil pipeline proposal. When completed, Keystone would carry Alberta crude to Texas refineries.   Continued...