February 20, 2013

After pipeline opens, vaunted jobs disappear

Bloomberg - TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL oil pipeline, heralded by supporters as a major job creator, will add few permanent positions once the $7 billion project is built.

The number of people needed to operate and maintain the 1,661-mile pipeline may be as few as 20, according to the U.S. State Department, or as many as a few hundred, according to TransCanada.
 
“I don’t see a big jobs impact,” Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, said in an interview. “It gets the oil into refineries that already exist. It’s like replacing a bridge on the highway.”

The debate in Washington has focused on short-term construction and manufacturing jobs, rather than on permanent ones. Estimates for construction and manufacturing employment range from 2,500 to 20,000, depending on assumptions of how much of the project’s budget will be spent in the U.S. The company says some of the steel will be made in Canada and India.

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