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Pipeline CEOs Lament Anti-Oil Movement Slowing Pipeline Construction

Above Photo: Karen Warren, Houston Chronicle

For more than a century oil and gas pipelines were built beneath the United States with nary any notice from the public.

But pipelines executives lamented Wednesday that since the rise of the “Keep it in the Ground” movement, projects were being delayed by a rising tide of protests, litigation and vandalism.

“The level of intensity has ramped up,” Kinder Morgan CEO Steven Kean said Thursday at the CERAWeek energy conference hosted by IHS Markit. “There’s more opponents, and it’s more organized.”

Speaking onstage with fellow pipeline CEOs Kelcy Warren, of Energy Transfer Partners, and Russ Girling, of TransCanada, Kean recounted how a group of environmentalists closed the valves on their pipeline network in the western United States in what appeared to be a coordinated effort across multiple states.

Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller attacked Tesla for burning through cash at an unprecedented rate and firing its workforce. Muller made his comments while sitting on a panel about the future of the automotive industry. Tesla has only turned a profit twice in its company history. Earlier this month, Tesla fired hundreds of workers as it struggles to ramp up production for the Model 3. The company only manufactured 260 vehicles in September when it had targeted 1,500 cars.

Another activist tried to drill a hole in one of Energy Transfer Partners’ pipelines, Warren said.

“Talk about someone that needs to be removed from the gene pool,” he said.

In a move to shore up public opinion, the typically media-shy Warren said he had increased Energy Transfer’s presence on social media platforms.

“There’s lies being told about our company that we have to police,” Warren said. “All of us have to bear that cost.”

The anti-oil movement is already having an impact on development in the United States, Girling said. But he argued it had done little to slow construction on a global level.

“As we have stalled development, others have taken up the slack,” he said. And in other countries, “we’re seeing less care to the environment and human rights.”


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