CEO of oil sands giant ‘very encouraged’ by Keystone report

Williams, whose company is a top oil sands producer, joined other industry executives here in both advocating for the pipeline while downplaying it’s importance to the overall growth of Alberta’s oil sands development.

“The objective for the industry is to move east, west, south, maybe even north and to use pipelines and rail to get product to market,” Williams told reporters at the IHS CERAWeek conference.

“I have no doubt that the industry will continue to grow, and no single pipeline or no single rail connection will cause the industry to significantly hesitate,” he said.

Pipeline companies are seeking to build multiple projects, including Enbridge Inc. proposal for a pipeline from Alberta to the west coast of Canada, and TransCanada is also weighing sending oil sands by pipeline to the Atlantic coast.

But environmentalists, too, are battling oil sands pipeline development on multiple fronts beyond the Keystone XL fight.

While industry officials are noting the ability to increase the level of rail transport, ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance said that new pipeline capacity is needed eventually.

“Some of them have to happen or the growth will slow down,” Lance told reporters at the IHS CERAWeek conference.