US & Canada

TransCanada in pipeline plan from west to east Canada

TransCanada announces its Energy East pipeline in Calgary, Alberta, on 1 August 2013
Image caption The pipeline, with a route displayed at a news conference on Thursday, must still be approved

Oil firm TransCanada has unveiled plans to build a pipeline from western Canada to the country's Atlantic coast, as its plans for a US pipeline remain stalled.

The 12bn Canadian dollar ($11.6bn; £8bn) Energy East line would carry up to 1.1 million barrels of oil per day.

That would replace oil imported to eastern Canada, with a leftover surplus to export across the Atlantic.

Meanwhile, the company's Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas faces stiff US environmental opposition.

On Thursday, TransCanada Chief Executive Russ Girling hailed the "many benefits across Canada" the pipeline would bring.

"This is an historic opportunity to connect the oil resources of western Canada to the consumers of eastern Canada, creating jobs, tax revenue and energy security for all Canadians for decades to come," he said in a statement.

The Energy East pipeline would run from Hardisty, Alberta, to a new deep-water marine terminal in St John, New Brunswick.

'Focus on safety'

It would be able to handle the largest shipping vessels in the world, the company said.

Mr Girling said the project would supply refineries in eastern Canada, which currently process 750,000 barrels of imported foreign oil each day.

He said the company would build its pipeline with a "singular focus" on safety.

As much as 82% of the oil refined in Canada's Atlantic region and 92% of the oil piped to refineries in the province of Quebec is imported from other countries, including Nigeria, Angola and the Middle East, according to Canadian government statistics.

The Energy East pipeline would link about 3,000km (1,864 miles) of an already-built natural gas pipeline with about 1,400km (870 miles) of newly constructed pipeline, TransCanada said.

The company projects it will be piping oil to Quebec by late 2017, and to New Brunswick by 2018.

The project requires regulatory approval, but analysts say it enjoys broad political support at home.

Oil production rise

That contrasts with the Keystone XL pipeline, a $7bn (£4.6bn) proposal that encountered stiff opposition from environmental groups and scepticism from the White House.

Labour unions and many lawmakers said Keystone XL would bring jobs and an economic boost to the US.

The US state department is expected to issue a final report on the project before the end of the year. It has been overseeing the review process because the pipeline crosses a US border.

The pipelines are part of a drive to improve infrastructure for the oil industry in Canada, the country with the world's third-largest oil reserves behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

The TransCanada chief called for more pipelines to take Canadian oil to North American markets.

Analysts forecast that Canadian oil production will rise to 3.7 million barrels per day in 2025 from its current 1.5 million barrels.

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