November 29, 2013

The Post’s “Fact Checker,” Glenn Kessler, has taken issue with some of the facts TransCanada is using to explain the rationale for our Keystone XL pipeline and the benefits of the project for Americans [“Keystone XL Pipeline ad is less about shorthand than being underhanded,” Nov. 24]. But his column appeared to rely as much on his own opinions as on the facts. I would like to set the record straight.

As one of the largest infrastructure projects currently planned for the United States, Keystone XL will see $5.3 billion of private-sector money put to work in the U.S. economy. Of course, it is difficult to calculate all of the effects and spinoffs this investment will have on local communities, but Trans­Canada has always been very clear that building Keystone XL would require at least 9,000 skilled workers during two years of construction. We have been building pipelines across North America for more than 60 years, so we have a clear understanding of what is required. For example, we said we would employ more than 4,000 people to build the southern portion of Keystone XL, the Gulf Coast Pipeline. We are now just finishing this project and have confirmed that we put 4,844 people to work. For broader estimates that include spinoff jobs that the project will support, we believe the State Department’s independent estimate of 40,000 is credible.

On the matter of energy security, we have never tried to claim that Canada is not a “foreign” country. We have consistently explained that, as the largest oil consumer in the world, the United States imports between 8 million and 9 million barrels per day of crude oil — about 60 percent of its need — from other countries, including Canada. Even with growing shale oil production and flattening demand, both the International Energy Agency and the U.S. Energy Information Administration project the United States will continue to be a net oil importer for decades to come. Canada is already the top supplier of oil to the United States, at more than 2 million barrels per day. Keystone XL would increase this by more than 700,000 barrels per day and would provide refineries with greater access to domestic U.S. oil production from the Bakken formation in the Northern Plains.

Keystone XL is not about energy vs. the environment — it’s simply about where Americans get their oil. Persian Gulf countries and Venezuela contribute 3 million barrels per day of imports. These countries are far less stable and more expensive sources of foreign oil than is Canada, the United States’largest trading partner and ally.

Russ Girling, Calgary

The writer is president and chief executive of TransCanada.