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TransCanada has won approval from US authorities for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, weeks after US President Donald Trump reversed his predecessor’s opposition to the project.

The company said in a statement on Friday that the US State Department had signed and issued a presidential permit authorising the pipeline’s construction, which TransCanada said was an important piece of its US growth portfolio.

TransCanada said that it would continue to work with stakeholders in several individual states — Nebraska, Montana and South Dakota — to get the required permits and approvals to advance the pipeline’s construction. As a result of getting the presidential permit, the company said it would drop two legal challenges stemming from the prior administration’s rejection of the project.

Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive, called the permit a “significant milestone” in a statement on Friday. “We greatly appreciate President Trump’s Administration for reviewing and approving this important initiative and we look forward to working with them as we continue to invest in and strengthen North America’s energy infrastructure.”

The $8bn Keystone XL pipeline is designed to carry crude from oil sands in Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the US.

After taking office in January, Mr Trump moved quickly to roll back Barack Obama’s opposition to both Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipelines, two multibillion-dollar oil pipeline projects that encountered significant opposition from environmental groups, among others despite proponents’ argument that they could help create and sustain thousands of American jobs.

TransCanada’s New York-listed shares were up 1.6 per cent in pre-market trading on Friday morning.

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