For the first time since early July, more Americans approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing than disapprove, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll that shows his approval rating now at 50 percent. Reuters

President Barack Obama on Thursday will expedite the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline as part of a tour of the nation's energy hubs.

The president is speaking in Cushing, Okla., at a site owned by TransCanada (NYSE: TCP), whose controversial pipeline has been a major flash point between the White House, environmentalists and Republicans convinced the administration isn't doing enough to bring energy prices down, or ensure the nation's energy security.

The president was scheduled to speak at the country's nexus of oil pipelines, shortly before 11 a.m. EDT, with the goal of suggesting to his opponents he doesn't oppose the oil industry.

Cushing, a small town of about 8,000 people is the meeting point of three dozen pipeline systems. It's also the site of an oil supply bottleneck where current pipeline capacity can't keep up with the nation's increased oil production.

It also has the storage capacity for more than 66 million barrels of oil, the Financial Times reported.

In January, Obama blocked TransCanada's first permit request for an extension of its already functioning Keystone pipeline on environmental and safety grounds.

On Feb. 27, however, the White House backed TransCanada's proposal to build the southern half of the pipeline, from Cushing to the Texas coast as a separate project, and welcomed news the company was ready to resubmit its permit.

TransCanada shares fell 11 cents to $46.04 in Thursday trading.