A study by the Global Labor Institute at Cornell University counters recent claims by TransCanada Corp.’s CEO Russ Girling that the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline from the Alberta-U.S. international border to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) region could create as many as 20,000 new jobs.

Girling last week estimated that the 1,700-mile pipeline project would create 13,000 pipeline construction jobs and another 7,000 manufacturing jobs in the pipe and related equipment industries over the next two years (see Shale Daily, Nov. 3).

The Cornell institute’s report concludes that the job estimates put forward by TransCanada are “unsubstantiated and the project will not only create fewer jobs than industry states, but that the project could actually kill more jobs than it creates.” The university institute report indicates that the 13,000 pipeline construction job estimate is more realistically 6,500 jobs.

The Cornell study concluded that:

Environmental groups are opposing the pipeline and urging the Obama administration to reject it in favor of promoting more clean energy to address climate change. Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Washington, DC, Sunday calling on Obama to deny a presidential permit for Keystone.

Obama told a Nebraska TV station last week that he would make the final decision on Keystone XL by balancing the potential job benefits against health and environmental concerns. In a conference call last Thursday, Girling predicted that the U.S. State Department would decide on the project before the end of this year.

According to a Washington Post report, the Cornell study is the first jobs analysis of the Keystone project that hasn’t been connected to TransCanada in some way.

The Post report said TransCanada already has purchased $1.9 billion of pipe and other materials. Of the money still to be spent, the news report and Cornell’s report both concluded that the majority would go overseas. At least $1.7 billion worth of steel allegedly will be purchased from a Russian-owned mill in Canada. TransCanada claims that the remainder will be produced in Arkansas. TransCanada’s first Keystone pipeline was built almost entirely with foreign steel imported from India and Canada, according to the Post report.