WASHINGTON - Frustrated by yet another delay, the company behind the stalled Keystone XL pipeline project has a message for the U.S. government: it's getting involved in the rail business.
It might be costlier and dirtier, but until the pipeline gets approved, the company says shipping oil by rail might have to do as a Plan B.
The president of TransCanada Corp. is in Washington, telling policy-makers and U.S. media outlets that he's spending the next few weeks working out the technical and financial details.
Russ Girling says the company already has storage facilities in Hardisty, Alta., and Cushing, Okla., and might also build new storage space in Steele City, Neb.
From there, it would build relatively inexpensive loading-and-unloading rail infrastructure, then pump the oil into the pipeline's already-completed southern leg.
In an interview, Girling says his company had been considering rail for a while, but had its hand forced by the U.S. administration's latest delay in approving Keystone XL.
He says customers started calling him the very next day, urging him to use rail.
Girling says TransCanada won't make huge profits from its rail project â€” most of the revenue will go to the shippers â€” but he says it will help pick up part of the slack.