CALGARY - TransCanada Corp.'s schedule for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline slipped further Tuesday, as the Calgary pipeline company said it now expects a start-up date in early 2015 rather than its previous expectation of 2014.
Earlier this year, the Obama Administration refused to grant the line a permit to cross the U.S. border, though the White House invited TransCanada to apply again. TransCanada executives say they still expect the line -envisioned to transport crude from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast - to be approved eventually.
On Monday, TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard said the delay into 2015 is partly because the company is "still waiting for some answers" from the U.S. government about the process to refile its application.
The company needs to know how much material it will be allowed to refile from the previous application that was rejected by the Obama Administration early this year, Howard said. TransCanada is also continuing to gather information about a planned 100-mile re-route around an environmentally sensitive area in Nebraska, he said.
Late last year, the Obama Administration postponed a decision on the line until early 2013. U.S. Republicans then passed legislation forcing the State Department to make a decision on the line by the end of February. The White House, saying that deadline didn't give it enough time to review the project, rejected it, but invited TransCanada to reapply.
Despite the setback, TransCanada believes it will be successful with its second application for the US$7.6 billion, 1,700-mile project that would send up to 830,000 barrels a day from Canada and the western U.S. to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
Earlier Tuesday, TransCanada posted C$422 million in earnings in its fourth quarter, a 33% increase from a year earlier. It also boosted its dividend by 5%.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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