Most Keystone oil would stay in U.S., study says

The vast majority of the crude oil that goes through the planned Keystone XL pipeline would stay in the United States, according to a new analysis.

The study from analysis firm IHS Inc. also concluded that about 70 percent of the refined petroleum products from Keystone’s oil would be consumed within the country.

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The analysis refutes a key talking point in opposition of Keystone — that it would only enable the export of Canadian oil to other countries and that the United States would not get any of the oil.

“There is a common misunderstanding that somehow most or all of the oil shipped to the U.S. Gulf Coast via the Keystone XL pipeline would be exported to other countries,” Aaron Brady, senior director for IHS’s energy division, said in a Monday statement.

“The reality is that the U.S. Gulf Coast is the world’s largest single refining market for heavy crudes such as oil sands, making it unlikely these barrels would be exported offshore. And, the overwhelming majority of refined products produced in the Gulf are consumed in the United States, regardless of the crude source.”

President Obama has repeated the claim. He said in December that Keystone would allow Canadian oil to pass “through the United States to be sold on the world market.”

The study’s key finding is that refinery capacity on the United States Gulf Coast — where Keystone would end if it is built — has kept growing in recent years, and is built specifically to handle the kind of heavy crude oil that would come from Canada.

IHS also concluded that shipments of Canadian oil sands petroleum to the United States will grow in the coming years whether or not the Keystone pipeline gets built.

The study came the day before Congress plans to send to Obama a bill approving Keystone. Obama has promised to veto it, although he may still approve the pipeline.