Major pipeline delays leave canada’s tar sands struggling

(Inside Climate News, 19 Mar 2019) Keystone XL’s construction has been delayed by the courts, tar sands forecasts are down and investors are worried.

March has brought a string of setbacks for Canada's struggling tar sands oil industry, including the further delay of two proposed pipelines, a poor forecast for growth and signs that investors may be growing wary.

On Friday, a federal appeals court in California refused to lift a lower court order that blocks construction of the Keystone XL pipeline until a thorough new environmental assessment is completed. The decision likely pushed back by a year the start of major work by TransCanada, Keystone XL's owner, to complete the project.

The same day,  ExxonMobil affiliate Imperial Oil said it was delaying a new tar sands project in Alberta, likely by a year.

Those setbacks followed an earlier announcement by Enbridge, another pipeline operator, that it would delay the completion of its Line 3 expansion through northern Minnesota by a year, to late 2020. That project is one of two other major pipelines planned to carry oil out of Canada's tar sands, also called oil sands.

While western Canada's production grew slowly but steadily in recent years, companies struggled to complete new pipelines. Opposition from climate activists and indigenous groups, slow regulatory processes and volatile oil prices have led to a series of delays and cancellations.

The effect has been to weaken the prospects of future growth in tar sands production and to drive away investors.

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Inside Climate News, 19 Mar 2019: Major pipeline delays leave canada’s tar sands struggling