At least 70 percent of oil sand imports passing through the Keystone pipeline would be used for domestic consumption, the research and analysis company IHS Inc. reports.
This is due to the fact that the U.S. Gulf Coast boasts the largest concentration of refineries specializing in heavy crude from oil sands, mainly coming from Canada and Venezuela. And since the latter has switched its exports to China “as a result of a set of Chinese government loans that carry along a commitment of oil supply,” the pipeline would simply replace these lost imports.
The impact on greenhouse gases would therefore be negligible, contrary to what the Environmental Protection Agency told the Houston Chronicle.
IHS predicts that “the amount of oil sands flowing into the United States would still grow regardless of whether Keystone XL is built” since oil sand projects last up to 30 and 40 years.
Without a new pipeline, alternative means of transportation like train and trucks will be used, with all the risks they entail. A 2013 study from the Manhattan Institute shows that transporting oil through pipelines is more than 20 times safer per billion tons transported per mile than road transportation, and twice as safe as rail transportation.