Saw this tweet today and I think it is worth reminding everyone that Warren Buffett truly benefits from cancellation of the pipeline from Canada.
Warren Buffett owns the railroad that transports the oil. When these pipelines are completed, he loses the business. It is as simple as that. An American Thinker article from 2015 explains:
As Investor’s Business Daily noted in a 2011 editorial:
Killing the Keystone XL pipeline may help one of the world’s richest men get richer. North Dakota’s booming oil fields will now grow more dependent on a railroad the president’s economic guru just bought….
As oil production ramps up in the Bakken fields of North Dakota, plans to use the pipeline to transport it have been dashed.
As a result, North Dakota’s booming oil producers will have to rely even more on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad, which Buffett just bought, to ship it to refineries.
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has agreed to buy Burlington Northern Santa Fe in a deal valuing the railroad at $34 billion. Berkshire Hathaway already owns about 22% of Burlington Northern, and will pay $100 a share in cash and stock for the rest of the company.
It isn’t a matter of pipelines being an environment hazard or less safe than other methods of transport. It is quite the contrary, as outlined by Forbes in 2018:
While many have called for shutdown of pipelines and a moratorium on new pipeline construction, the correct reaction may just be the opposite. We really should be replacing old pipelines and building new ones, reducing the stress on each line. Particularly good is to supersize them – build bigger pipelines over old ones.
The problem is that oil production is increasing but it can’t get to the refineries along our Gulf Coast. Since there are only four ways to move oil and gas around the country – pipeline, truck, rail and boat – you have to pick one or another of these. If you don’t build new pipelines, then more will probably move by rail, especially from Canada.
In the U.S., 100% of our natural gas is shipped by pipeline. 70% of crude oil and petroleum products are shipped by pipeline. 23% of oil shipments are on tankers and barges over water. Trucking only accounts for 4% of shipments, and rail for a mere 3%. In Canada, it’s even more lopsided. Almost all (97%) of natural gas and petroleum products are transported by pipelines…
So which mode is safer? For oil, the short answer is: truck worse than train worse than pipeline worse than boat (Oilprice.com). But that’s only for human death and property destruction. For the amount of oil spilled per billion-ton-miles, it’s truck worse than pipeline worse than rail worse than boat (Congressional Research Service). Even more different is for environmental impact (dominated by impact to aquatic habitat), where it’s boat worse than pipeline worse than truck worse than rail.
It depends upon what your definition is for worse. Is it deaths and destruction? Is it amount of oil released? Is it land area or water volume contaminated? Is it habitat destroyed? Is it CO2 emitted?
Amid a North American energy boom and a lack of pipeline capacity, crude oil shipping on rail has been steadily increasing. The trains are getting bigger and towing more and more tanker cars. From 1975 to 2012, trains were shorter and spills were rare and small, with about half of those years having no spills above a few gallons. Then came 2013, in which more crude oil was spilled in U.S. rail incidents than was spilled in the previous thirty-seven years…
Like always, it will probably come down to money. And it won’t be about jobs, regardless of which end of the spectrum you believe, because there just isn’t enough jobs to matter compared to the value of the oil itself and the refinery capacity and locations. It’s simply cheaper and quicker to transport by pipeline than by rail or by truck. The difference in cost is about $50 billion a year for shipping via the Keystone versus rail, totally eclipsing any economic effect of jobs in either direction.