Chu: Decision to build Keystone XL pipeline a political one

The decision on whether to permit the construction of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline is a political one and not one of that is scientific in nature, according to former US Energy Sec. Steven Chu.

Speaking at a news conference in Port of Spain Chu said, “I don’t have a position on whether the Keystone Pipeline should be built. That is for the secretary of State and the president. But I will say that the decision on whether the construction should happen was a political one and not a scientific one.”

Chu then told OGJ that he wanted to expand his statement to say that the studies commissioned by the administration were, in fact, scientific. Late last week, the US State Department said in its long-awaited final supplemental environmental impact statement that the 1,700-mile proposed construction and operations of the Keystone XL line would not have significant environmental impacts (OGJ Online, Feb. 2, 2014).

Chu said, “The entire statement should include that the studies looking into what are the long-term effects are in fact scientific and that is the only scientific part of the decision.”

If constructed, Keystone XL would transport heavy crude from Canada to the US Gulf Coast. It is estimated that already 1 million bbl of oil are transported via rail from Canada to the US.

Chu, who is a speaker at Trinidad and Tobago’s Energy Chamber’s annual conference and trade show, said he expected US crude production to increase by another 1 million b/d of oil by yearend. Chu said this increase in production was a direct result of tight oil, which has added millions of barrels of crude in the last few years.

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