The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

August 27, 2013

Questioning the relevance of the Keystone XL pipeline

When Harold Hamm talks about the Bakken Shale, people listen.

In 2008, when Continental Resources was a publicly traded company based in Enid, the CEO and founder banked on the booming Bakken formation to weather economic turmoil and came out on top.

Hamm resisted the Keystone XL pipeline until 2010, after TransCanada planned to build a $140 million spur to the Bakken fields, according to Reuters.

Hamm, who was named energy adviser for 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, then supported Keystone to transport crude from Canada’s oil sands.

Things have changed. Continental now is based in Oklahoma City, and Hamm currently is questioning Keystone’s relevance.

“It’s not critical any longer,” Hamm told the National Journal. “They just waited too long. The industry is very innovative, and it finds other ways of doing it and other routes.”

The publication reported that the Canadian company Enbridge expanded its North Dakota oil-transportation system as Keystone sputtered in limbo.

The National Journal also noted that 68 percent of oil from the region now is moved by rail. However, a train carrying Bakken crude recently exploded in Canada and killed 47 people.

Christi Tezak, a managing director at ClearView Energy Partners, told the publication that Hamm may be capitalizing on the contrast between pipeline and train transportation.

“These guys have dirty, knock-down drag-out fights on (delivery) rates,” Tezak reportedly said. “So using one mode against the other is smart business.”

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