Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Keystone Pipeline Fails In Senate: Warren Buffet Benefits


By Norris McDonald

I have written about how any rejection of the shortcut Keystone Pipeline addition will benefit Warren Buffet by shifting transportation of the Canadian oil from pipeline to rail.  Buffet owns the rails that would transport that oil.  The U.S. Senate just voted to kill the Keystone Pipeline (even though it is already operating) by one vote (59 - 41) [S. 2280]*.  The approval of the pipeline needed 60 votes to be approved.

Buffet is banking on cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline to increase his share of oil-by-rail shipments.

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway announced through a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it bought $524 million worth of Suncor stock last quarter. Suncor is a Canadian oil company that derives most of its current oil production -- and future expansion plans -- from Alberta's oil sands. 

Buffett bought Suncor to help ensure a steady supply of oil for his Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF) railroad.  Oil currently accounts for about 4% of BNSF's freight. That's expected to double over the next several years. 

Suncor owns huge tracts of oil sands resources from which oil production is projected to continue to grow.

Suncor doesn't have the same transportation issues as some other oil sands producers. It has locked up more than enough pipeline and rail capacity to move its current and planed production for several years. Plus, it owns several refineries, which help the firm avoid having to sell its crude for the depressed, mid-continent prices.

* S. 2280 uthorizes TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. to construct, connect, operate, and maintain the pipeline and cross-border facilities specified in an application filed by TransCanada Corporation to the Department of State on May 4, 2012.

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