Keystone XL and Line 3 Transportation Capacity Would Exceed OPEC Imports
Most people don’t realize how important the Line 3 replacement project in Minnesota truly is. Not only would it reduce the chances of an oil spill by replacing an aging, corroded pipeline with a safer, state-of-the art new pipeline, but it would also allow this pipeline to transport more oil into the United States than we currently purchase from Saudi Arabia.
Add this to the extra pipeline capacity that would be brought online thanks to the Keystone XL pipeline, and it would be the equivalent of replacing all of OPEC, as you can see in the graph below which uses oil import data for 2019 from the Energy Information Administration.
Rewind back to 2005 when the pervasive believe was that we would be increasingly dependent upon sources of oil in the Middle East, and it marks a dramatic departure from Peak Oil theory. The completion of these pipelines will give the United States more flexibility on where we source our energy from, and boost the economy of Canada by allowing their oil to access global markets.
The idea that we can simply keep oil in the ground is often promoted by anti-pipeline activists, but this notion is entirely unrealistic. For example, 35 percent of all the energy used in Minnesota comes from oil, and if we don’t produce it domestically or import it from Canada, it will come from somewhere else.
There will be people who argue that the economics of Canadian oil make it more difficult to compete in a globalized market if Russia and Saudi Arabia decide to pump more oil to drive down prices. This is 100 percent true, but let’s not forget that it was an Arab Oil Embargo in the 1970’s that sent prices soaring. Cartels and Petro-nations are more than happy to put the squeeze to energy-dependent countries whenever they can.
This is why it is important for the U.S. to have a robust supply infrastructure that includes Line 3 and the Keystone XL pipeline. These energy corridors give the United States important import options, because only this leverage checks the power of OPEC and Russia to raise our oil prices by artificially limiting supply.