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Cindy Schild's remarks at press briefing teleconference on infrastructure poll

As prepared for delivery

Press briefing teleconference on Infrastructure poll
Cindy Schild, refining issues manager
December 12, 2013

Opening statement:

Good morning, everyone. Thanks for calling in.

By overwhelming majorities, American voters support increased development of the nation’s energy infrastructure. In a new poll conducted for API by Harris Interactive, 83 percent of voters support increased development of infrastructure to transport energy around the country, including 59 percent who express strong support. Nearly ninety percent (88 percent) of voters agree increased energy infrastructure development is good for American consumers.

In fact, building up our energy infrastructure is a necessity if we hope to realize the full potential of our vast energy resources. Our current pipeline infrastructure was built well before surging production in North Dakota and northeastern states transformed the energy landscape – and reversed the trajectory of our transportation needs. Our energy transportation system originally designed to move crude oil imports inland from the Gulf Coast once made sense, but shipments of crude from the Gulf to the Midwest dropped 500,000 barrels per day from 2008 to 2013, while shipments in the opposite direction – from the Midwest to the Gulf – jumped by 330,000 barrels per day. With imports decreasing and production skyrocketing in new, more remote areas, updating our infrastructure is essential for preventing bottlenecks and for ensuring Canadian and domestic oil and natural gas are most efficiently transported to market. The failure to invest in the pipelines, storage, processing, rail and marine components needed to meet our new energy reality creates growth constraints, which costs our economy jobs and money. For example, when crude oil produced in the Bakken region sells at a $1 discount due to infrastructure constraints, North Dakota loses up to $3 million in revenue each month, according to the Energy Policy Research Foundation.

The American people understand the value of maintaining an energy transportation network that will get energy to consumers and to businesses that are thriving and creating jobs due to the abundance of affordable oil and natural gas. Ninety-three percent of respondents agree that increased development of energy infrastructure would help create jobs, while 89 percent agree infrastructure investment would strengthen America’s energy security.

One obvious infrastructure project with significant economic and energy security benefits is the Keystone XL pipeline, and voters remain supportive of moving forward with the project. Seventy-two percent agree it is in the United States’ national interest to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline so that it can transport North American oil to U.S. refineries, while 63 percent would like to see America import more of the oil it needs from Canada, rather than other foreign countries.

As early as 2024, the U.S. could have the ability to supply 100 percent of our liquid fuel needs from right here in North America. The Keystone XL pipeline is a vital link toward achieving that goal and a crucial component of the infrastructure development America needs in order to enhance our energy security and capitalize on employment gains and economic growth opportunities promised by our new energy reality. The 42,000 jobs generated by the construction of Keystone XL represent just a portion of the thousands of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars in capital investment we can generate by bringing our energy infrastructure system into the 21st century. The American people continue to strongly support both Keystone XL and greater energy infrastructure investment, and these job-creating projects should be at the top of the agenda for policymakers as we head into 2014 with the potential to see our energy reality that awaits us.

Thank you. Now I’d be happy to take your questions.