Now that President Obama has squashed the Keystone XL pipeline project to send a message against "dirty" energy, the rail industry is projected to swoop in to take up the slack.
The Energy Information Administration, the government's energy analysis arm, on Tuesday updated its country profile for Canada just days after the president killed the pipeline project that would have shipped tar sands oil over 1,500 miles to U.S. refiners on the Gulf Coast.
The president and the State Department, which has the final say on international pipeline projects, said approval of the project wasn't necessary from an energy security point of view, nor would it be prudent given the president's focus on meeting the terms of a United Nations climate deal in Paris at the end of the month. Many scientists blame fossil fuels for causing manmade global warming.
The updated profile estimates that without the pipeline, Canadian railroads will be taking up the slack by more than doubling shipments of tar sands oil by rail.
Without Keystone XL in place rail shipments of oil will soar from 250,000 barrels per day (b/d), to a whopping 600,000 b/d, according to the Energy Information Administration.
"The rapidly increasingly supply of liquid fuels from the oil sands in western Canada has far outpaced pipeline capacity and the expansion efforts of the pipeline companies," the Energy Information Administration profile reads. "With infrastructure already in place serving the demand destinations for western Canadian crude, rail has proven to be an adequate substitute."
The Keystone pipeline is already operational, as is the leg of the Keystone XL from Cushing, Okla., to Texas refiners, called the Gulf Coast Pipeline Project. That leg did not require State Department approval like the northern piece, which crossed the border from Alberta and would have run directly to Nebraska.
The Texas-Oklahoma pipeline "has helped resolve some of the infrastructure constraints that led to a glut of oil at the Cushing hub," the energy agency said. "The pipeline began operating in January 2014 at 520,000 b/d; TransCanada plans to expand its capacity to 700,000 b/d."