A study commissioned by U.S. Department of Energy and released Wednesday said the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline proposed by Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. would help "essentially eliminate" U.S. reliance on Middle Eastern crude.

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Keystone XL would run 3,200 kilometres from Hardisty, Alta., to Port Arthur, Texas on the Gulf Coast, passing through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. ((TransCanada Corp.))

The $12-billion US line would run 3,200 kilometres from Hardisty, Alta., to Port Arthur, Texas, on the Gulf Coast, passing through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. It would connect with existing pipelines and expand the market for crude from Canada's oilsands.

The report by consulting firm EnSys Energy and Systems was submitted to the State Department, which must decide whether to allow the pipeline to go ahead.

TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said the analysis supports what the company has been saying for some time — that Keystone XL will improve U.S. energy security.

Liz Barratt-Brown, with the Washington-based Natural Resources Defence Council, said the report underscores her group's long-held view that the massive pipeline won't be needed until well after 2020.

She said it would be more worthwhile to find alternative fuel sources during that time than to invest in an environmentally harmful pipeline.

With files from The Canadian Press