TransCanada has decided to build the section of the Keystone XL pipeline from Cushing Oklahoma to the refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. That section has already been approved and faces few environmental hurdles.
There are already oil storage facilities in Cushing Oklahoma that can feed 700,000 barrels of oil per day into the pipeline when it is finished.
When completed the Keystone XL pipeline will transport oil from the Alberta oil sands, and the Bakken reserves in North Dakota to the modern refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. At the present time these refineries do not have sufficient feed stock. Every two years the entire capacity of our strategic petroleum reserves will be carried by this pipeline; greatly improving our strategic situation.
Our small oil companies are discovering vast quantities of natural gas that could actually make our nation energy independent. There is enough natural gas already discovered to last several decades, and the discoveries of new reserves take place daily.
The problem with natural gas is the same problem we have with some other alternate energy resources; it is way out there, and there is no way to get it to market. With solar and wind power new transmission lines are needed to carry the electricity generated to market. With natural gas a new pipeline network big enough to make natural gas widely available is needed.
I see natural gas as an alternate energy source; it is far less polluting than gasoline or diesel fuel; and vastly superior to coal.
In the short term natural gas will probably be transported to refueling stations positioned along the interstate highway system by tanker trucks. Once such a refueling network is in place there will be a quick changeover from diesel trucks to trucks burning natural gas as natural gas prices are much lower.
Natural gas will be turned into a liquid before it is transported, and will probably stay in a liquid form for use as a motor fuel. None of these changes will be made by government edict; they will be made to reduce operating costs. An additional benefit will be a very large reduction of pollutants.
The EPA attack on our coal fired power plants will produce a similar result, coal burners and all of the expensive material handling equipment in coal fired power plants will be replaced by clean natural gas burners. Most of the expensive pollution control equipment required now will become obsolete.
The requirement for natural gas at power plants will require that new pipelines be built to supply that fuel. More automotive fuel stations will be built as natural gas becomes available. There will be enough extra capacity to change domestic heating systems from fuel oil to natural gas. Much less pollution will be produced. Before you know it we just might find that we no longer have to buy oil from the Middle East; or borrow money from China to pay for it.
You never know, by the end of this century we might be driving electric cars that get their power from batteries, and electrical cables buried in the road way. Our use of natural gas might be limited to electrical power generation and domestic heating.
The use of natural gas we have looked at is not farfetched. That work is going on as we speak; trucking companies are buying new trucks that burn natural gas, another company is already at work building refueling facilities along the interstate highway system, and we already have tanker trucks to transport liquefied natural gas.
I don’t think any utility company is going to scrap an expensive coal fired power plant when it can be converted to burn natural gas. If the need for that much natural gas exists some company WILL build a pipeline to supply it.