TransCanada sees itself in oil train business regardless of Keystone -CEO

Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:47pm EDT
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By Patrick Rucker

WASHINGTON, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Pipeline operator TransCanada Corp is likely to haul Canadian oil sands crude by rail whether or not its embattled Keystone XL pipeline project is finally approved by Washington, the company's chief executive said on Tuesday.

TransCanada is in its sixth year of waiting for the United States to approve or reject its plan for a 1,700-mile (2,700 km) cross-border pipeline that could carry at least 730,000 barrels a day of oil sands from Western Canada to Texas refineries.

In those years, Alberta oil sands output has climbed and producers have grown more desperate to find ways to bring fuel to market.

That glut might drive demand for both pipelines and additional oil train capacity, TransCanada Chief Executive Russ Girling said during a visit to Washington.

"I do believe we will have a rail facility," Girling told reporters. "I don't know the exact size. But I do think there will be one."

The company is contemplating a "rail bridge" from the oil sands to a crude oil hub in either Cushing, Oklahoma, or Steele City, Nebraska, where its pipelines can be tapped.

"We have options on land. We have done our engineering on both locations. That work is all done," Girling said after a meeting with U.S. Senator John Hoeven, Republican of North Dakota.

"My gut feeling would be (we) will probably be in that business," Girling said. (Reporting By Patrick Rucker; Editing by Peter Galloway)