Trump Signs Executive Orders Renegotiating Keystone XL, Dakota Access Pipelines

Update: it's official, Trump has signed executives orders to advance the construction of the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, according to which the US will renegotiate terms on the two pipelines.

As part of the announcement Trump said "if the US build pipelines, the pipes shoudl be made in the US" and added that "order streamlines cumbersome manufacturing regulations." He called the regulatory process a "tangled up mess."

Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that the moves on the pipelines will be subject to the terms and conditions being renegotiated by the U.S.

President Barack Obama killed the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in late 2015, saying it would hurt American efforts to reach a global climate change deal. The pipeline would run from Canada to U.S. refineries in the Gulf Coast. The U.S. government needs to approve the pipeline because it crossed the border.

The Army decided last year to explore alternate routes for the Dakota pipeline after the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters said the pipeline threatened1 drinking water and Native American cultural sites.

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According to Bloomberg's FX strategist, Vincent Cignarella, the announcement should be favorable for the USD/CAD in the short term.  According to him, "the U.S. economy would get an immediate benefit from construction of the project, while Canada would not gain from oil exports for at least 5 years, FX traders in Toronto said."

Keystone project could add as many as 42,000 jobs, according to a U.S. State Department estimates.  Keystone could help support market share but would likely exacerbate oil pricing issues, according to TD’s Mark McCormick said. In the same view, producers are unlikely to make new investments, which is key for the revival in economic growth, until oil can hold a $70-80/bbl range for a few years.


It is just day two of his presidency, and already Trump is taking a sledgehammer to the Obama legacy: in his latest move reported moments ago by Bloomberg, president Trump intends to sign two executive actions today that would advance construction of the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, putting a spoke, so to say, in the train wheels of Warren Buffett's train-based oil transportation quasi-monopoly.

The orders would fulfill campaign promises Trump made to approve both pipelines, which face strong opposition from Democrats and environmentalists, but ardent support from the oil industry and the GOP. The White House said Trump plans to sign executive orders at 11 a.m. Tuesday morning, but did not provide more details, nor did it respond to the Bloomberg report.

It’s unclear what exactly the orders would do and whether they would fully approve the pipelines or take some other steps in that direction.

If fully built by developer TransCanada Corp., Keystone would run from Alberta, Canada’s oil sands to the Gulf Coast in Texas, bringing heavy oil sands petroleum to refineries. Last month, the Obama administration ordered a comprehensive environmental impact statement to be conducted on the Dakota Access Pipeline before any decision could be made on building its final section below Lake Oahe in North Dakota.

Dakota Access has been the subject of internationally recognized protests that have fired up environmentalists and indigenous rights activists. They say that the pipeline threatens the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and further development of oil infrastructure threatens the climate.

More details from Bloomberg:

Keystone was rejected under former President Barack Obama. Trump’s move on Energy Transfer Partners LP’s 1,172-mile Dakota Access project aims to end a standoff that has stalled the $3.8 billion project since September, when the Obama administration halted work on land near Lake Oahe in North Dakota.


The moves, taken on Trump’s fourth full day in office, mark a major departure from the Obama administration’s handling of the controversial oil pipelines. The steps vividly illustrate Trump’s plan to give the oil industry more freedom to expand infrastructure and ease transportation bottlenecks.

The two projects require different approvals. Keystone needs a presidential permit to build across the Canadian border, while Dakota Access, developed by Energy Transfer Partners, needs an Army Corps of Engineers easement to build under Lake Oahe.

Expect an angry reaction from Buffett, which will promptly flow through to funded environmental protest groups, who will double down in their defense of the two pipelines, of which the Dakota Access was the prominent center of media attention in the waning days of Trump's presidency.


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