One of the big economic debates around Transcanada's (NYSE:TRP) Keystone XL pipeline is how many jobs it will create. Some of the most ardent opponents claim that only a few dozen jobs, while its most loyal supporters will claim numbers as high as 550,000. How can these numbers be so wildly different? It all comes down to how you measure it. 

In reality, though, the value of the Keystone XL pipeline isn't measured in jobs. It's measured in the cost savings of importing Canadian oil versus more expensive crudes from other foreign countries. The combination of the Keystone XL pipeline, and the expansion of Enbridge's (NYSE:ENB) mainline expansions, could displace up to 40% of oil imports to the U.S. Gulf Coast region. This would not only provide a higher level of energy self-sufficiency, but it would also significantly reduce the costs for refiners in the Gulf region. Tune into the video below where contributor Tyler Crowe discusses how jobs estimates for projects can be adjusted to fit the narrative you want, and what is more important with this kind of project.

Fool contributor Tyler Crowe has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him at under the handle TMFDirtyBird, on Google +, or on Twitter, @TylerCroweFool.

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