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Economy

Alberta’s Notley government signs on as Keystone XL customer

WATCH ABOVE: TransCanada says it has secured contracts for half-a-million barrels of oil per day for its Keystone XL pipeline. As Tom Vernon explains, one of those customers is Alberta's NDP government.

Alberta’s NDP government has entered a 20-year agreement with TransCanada to ship 50,000 barrels of oil per day down the Keystone XL pipeline.

Premier Rachel Notley says this move serves two roles — helping the project receive the commercial support needed to get in the ground, and getting Albertans fair value for the product.

“We do have a market in the States, and if we can put that product on pipeline, as opposed to on rail, then that means more returns for Albertans,” Notley said Thursday morning.

In total, TransCanada received firm 20-year commitments of 500,000 barrels of oil per day for the long-delayed line.

“I’m even more positive than I was before that this project will proceed,” retired TransCanada executive Dennis McConaghy told Global News.

READ MORE: TransCanada concludes open season for Keystone XL project, confirms support

He believes the strong showing means TransCanada will be able to move forward with construction, and expects that announcement to come soon.

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“I would hope that we could see a decision on that before the end of the month, or before the end of next month,” McConaghy added.

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Not everyone is happy with the decision by the NDP government. Greenpeace has long been opposed to the project, and feels the government should instead focus its finances on renewable sources of energy.

“The government is, essentially, giving this company a subsidy, and it’s very reckless,” said Mike Hudema with Greenpeace, who believes the line will never be built.

“People are concerned about the safety of their water supply, they’re concerned about the climate.”

Keystone XL is years behind schedule, after it was denied by the Obama administration. It received new life last spring when Donald Trump gave it a presidential permit.