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Jan 22, 2020

Keystone XL wins green light from U.S. to plow ahead on project

Keystone XL work to ramp up despite opposition

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TC Energy Corp.’s long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline took another step forward with U.S. approval of a key stretch of construction.

The Interior Department authorized construction across a swath of federal land in Montana, according to a release on Wednesday.

While approval by the oil-friendly Trump administration was expected, the move is a sign of growing momentum for a project that ground to a halt under federal opposition in 2015.

Progress on Keystone XL, which will boost shipments of crude from Alberta’s oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries, is a welcome sign for a Canadian energy industry that has been hamstrung by a too little pipeline capacity. The pipeline pinch has weighed on local crude prices and stunted explorers’ expansion plans.

But the $8 billion pipeline isn’t in the clear just yet. It’s still the subject of a legal challenge in Montana, and additional federal permits are still necessary.

Calgary-based TC was little changed at $71.26 at 3:11 p.m. in Toronto. The shares are up 29 per cent in the past 12 months, compared with a 6.8% gain for the S&P/TSX energy index.