Tags: Keystone XL Pipeline | hamm | keystone | pipeline | relevant | delay

Harold Hamm: Keystone XL Is 'Not Relevant' After 6-Year Delay

By    |   Saturday, 15 November 2014 12:33 PM

The Keystone XL pipeline is no longer relevant to the oil industry, says industry mogul Harold Hamm, and he can't see why Congress is suddenly making it relevant now.

"We're supporting other pipelines out there," Hamm, the CEO of Oklahoma-based Continental Resources, told Politico on Friday, just before House lawmakers passed a bill to approve the pipeline. "We're not waiting on Keystone. Nobody is."

Continental resources had planned to use Keystone to ship some of its crude oil from North Dakota, but with the delays continuing on Keystone, it chose to use other pipelines to send at least half of its oil.

Keystone "needed action on it six years ago," the billionaire CEO and former energy adviser to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign said. "I just think it's too late and we need to move on."

Supporters say the pipeline, which would transport crude from Canada through the United States and to the Gulf Coast, would create thousands of jobs while helping North America's energy independence.

But Hamm, who made much of his fortune investing in North Dakota's oil shale region, says that United States and international markets have plenty of oil, and prices are at their lowest level in four years.

"If we have an oil oversupply looking at us, do we need more Canadian oil here? Probably not," Hamm told Politico.

Lawmakers should instead work to lift a 1970s era ban on exporting crude oil, which would "level the playing field and untie our hands," said Hamm.

In addition, lifting the ban would weaken Russian President Vladimir Putin's stranglehold on Ukraine and other European countries by lessening Russian fuel imports, Hamm told Politico, calling Putin unpredictable and dangerous.

"I mean, how far will this guy go again?" Hamm said. "If he had been there when we had the first Cold War, we probably wouldn’t any of us be sitting here today."

Several other oil producers have not waited for the Keystone XL pipeline battle, which has raged on for six years, to end. Steve Williams, the CEO of Suncor, which is Canada's largest oil producer, told Reuters in April that the pipeline is not critical to his company's plans to get crude oil to market and that the delays are not hampering his company's oil production.

But TransCanada, which is building the Keystone XL pipeline, says that event though the approval process has taken too long, the pipeline is still needed. Further, it said customers "continue to be strongly in support of this pipeline because it represents an affordable, safe and environmentally responsible alternative to move large volumes of oil long distances.”

However, TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said that his company is also considering a project to move oil by rail even if the pipeline is approved. In addition, TransCanada is pursuing another oil pipeline, Energy East, which would send the company's crude oil to the Atlantic Coast, and then ship the oil to the Gulf Coast refineries by ship.

The Senate is expected to vote on the Keystone legislation on Tuesday, following a push from Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Mary Landrieu, D-La., who needs the proof of such clout before she faces a runoff challenge against Republican Challenger Bill Cassidy, who sponsored the House bill that passed Friday.

"It’s too bad that Mary waited until she had the gun pointed at her head before she would act," Hamm said. "I think that's an act of desperation at this point."

But even with the late push, Hamm would not predict if the still-Democratic-controlled Senate would send a bill to President Barack Obama, or if the legislation would be vetoed.

"I could guess with you on all that. I just don't think they need to be spending all their energy trying to do that,” he said. "That's not where the Senate needs to spend all their effort today."

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The Keystone XL pipeline is no longer relevant to the oil industry, says industry mogul Harold Hamm, and he can't see why Congress is suddenly making it relevant now.
hamm, keystone, pipeline, relevant, delay
Saturday, 15 November 2014 12:33 PM
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