Energy Transfer Partners LP got a boost on Tuesday when President Donald Trump threw his weight behind its controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline.
But while rival TransCanada Corp. promptly commented on Trump’s similar show of support for the Keystone XL pipeline, Energy Transfer stayed publicly silent. Reached by e-mail Wednesday, the company declined to comment. Why the silence?
The company declined to comment on that, too.
The reason, analysts say, is Trump’s memo didn’t actually grant Energy Transfer the easement it needs to drill the final portion of Dakota Access beneath North Dakota’s Lake Oahe. So litigation surrounding that issue will continue. And since that part of North Dakota became a massive rallying site for protesters last year, it’d be unwise to draw more attention to the process — especially if you think, like most investors, that Dakota Access will be completed.
“It’d be like scoring a touchdown in the first minute of the Super Bowl and you’re doing a big dance in the end zone,” said Libby Toudouze, a partner and portfolio manager at Cushing Asset Management in Dallas. “The powers that be are probably just saying: ‘Can you just not say anything? Let’s wait till we get the approval.’ ”
In fact, Trump’s memo could ultimately push the Army Corps of Engineers to grant Energy Transfer the easement before a federal court in Washington reaches a decision on the matter, according to Brandon Barnes, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.
“There’s still more process left,” Barnes said. “There’s no reason for them to attract more attention to it than they need to at this time.”