RPT-Continental would be open to Keystone XL shipping more US oil

Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:08am EDT
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By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON Oct 15 (Reuters) - The company leading the U.S. oil boom in the Bakken oilfields in North Dakota said it would be open to talks with the Keystone XL pipeline project on it carrying a greater amount of domestic U.S. oil instead of Canadian crude.

TransCanada Corp, the Alberta-based company that wants to build the 800,000 barrels per day Keystone XL pipeline to help link Canada's oil sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast, has said the line would take only about 100,000 bpd of oil from the Bakken oil fields.

Harold Hamm, chief executive and largest shareholder of Continental Resources Inc, made headlines this summer when he said the pipeline was no longer crucial because it would take a relatively small amount of U.S. oil and because rail and existing pipelines offered alternative ways to ship the oil.

On Tuesday, Hamm held out the possibility that Keystone could become a more attractive project to Continental if TransCanada decided to carry a greater percentage of Bakken oil.

"They have not talked to us about it, but we would hold that discussion with them," Hamm told reporters in Washington.

Rail is currently moving large amounts of Bakken oil to refineries on the East and West Coasts and also to plants in Louisiana.

Gulf Coast refineries are tooled to refine the type of heavy oil found produced from Canada's oil sands, not the light sweet crude found in Bakken. But that could change if Gulf Coast refineries saw larger streams of Bakken oil headed south.   Continued...