December 16, 2011 / 12:05 AM / 6 years ago

Keystone XL still ahead of rivals: TransCanada CEO

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - TransCanada Corp still has a big advantage in the race to supply U.S. oil markets with Canadian supplies, despite a year’s delay to its $7 billion Keystone XL project, because of the preparation already done, Chief Executive Russ Girling said on Thursday.

The company’s customers have shown they believe the controversial pipeline is still the best option for expanding Canadian oil sands and North Dakota shale oil production by signing up for more capacity and backing an extension of the line in Texas, Girling told Reuters in an interview.

In more than 40 months since proposing the development, the company has completed much of the U.S. regulatory process, acquired 93 percent of the right-of-way between Alberta and Texas, all of the pipe ordered and construction contracts signed, he said.

“That’s a massive amount of work that anybody wants to build a pipeline to move the supply to market has to do. And every one of those processes is riddled with complexity and, as we know today, even more difficulty than we’ve ever had in the past,” Girling said.

Asked if a looming shortage of export capacity from Canada is his biggest concern, he said that he is more focused on making up for dwindling oil supplies on the U.S. Gulf Coast from Venezuela and Mexico.

Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; Editing by Frank McGurty

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