TransCanada requests suspension of Keystone XL permit

What Is the Keystone XL Pipeline?
What Is the Keystone XL Pipeline?

TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO) said on Monday that it has requested the suspension of the U.S. review for its Keystone XL crude oil pipeline, a surprise move that comes just after the White House indicated it plans to rule on the controversial project before the end of President Barack Obama's term in office.

Calgary-based TransCanada sent a letter to the U.S. State Department to suspend its application while the company goes through a state review process in Nebraska.

"We are asking State (Department) to pause its review of Keystone XL based on the fact that we have applied to the Nebraska Public Service Commission for approval of its preferred route in the state," TransCanada Chief Executive Russ Girling said in a statement.

The news comes shortly after the White House on Monday said it still expects Obama will make a decision on whether to grant a permit to TransCanada Corp for the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline before he leaves office in January 2017.

"Our expectation at this point is that the president will make a decision before the end of his administration on the Keystone pipeline, but when exactly that will be, I don't know at this point," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told media earlier on Monday while traveling on Air Force One.

(Reporting by Nia Williams and Euan Rocha; Editing by Chris Reese and Alan Crosby)