(CNN) — The results of an environmental impact study into the Keystone XL pipeline project will be announced Friday afternoon, two senior administration officials and another source familiar with the timing told CNN.
The sources were not authorized to speak on the record.
"The (study) is in the final stages of preparation and we anticipate a release of the document soon," a State Department spokesperson told CNN. "As a reminder when it is released, (the study) is not a decision, but another step in the process prescribed by the Executive Order" from the President.
What environmentalists and industry observers alike will be looking for is whether the study determines the project would be "carbon neutral." If it does, it's widely expected that the pipeline will ultimately win approval.
Still, the process is far from over.
Once the results of the study are out, eight U.S. agencies will then comb through it and offer their feedback. Secretary of State John Kerry will make a final recommendation to the White House.
The president would then decide whether or not to approve the construction of the pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Supporters of the project, which would carry 830,000 barrels of oil a day, say it would reduce imports from other more volatile areas and create jobs.
But opponents warn against potential damage to the environment and question whether many long term jobs would be created.
A final decision may not come for several months, but this study is a critical step in the process and the results are seen as a key factor in determining whether the project will go ahead.