TransCanada seeks Keystone construction approval

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Dec. 18 -- TransCanada Corp. has filed the second of two major regulatory applications with Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) for approvals for the Canadian portion of the Keystone oil pipeline.

In this application, TransCanada seeks approval to build and operate facilities in Canada, including about 371 km of oil pipeline, terminal facilities at Hardisty, Alta., and pump stations. The company also is seeking approval of tolls and the tariff for the pipeline.

The proposed 2,965-km Keystone pipeline will transport 435,000 b/d of crude oil from Hardisty to the US Midwest at Wood River and Patoka, Ill., and will be expandable to a nominal capacity of 591,000 b/d with additional pump stations.

The estimated cost of the Canadian portion of the project is $664 million (Can.). TransCanada said it has secured firm, long-term commitments from shippers to transport 340,000 b/d of crude oil for an average term of 18 years.

TransCanada in June filed the first major application for the Keystone project, with the NEB seeking approval to convert a portion of its Canadian Mainline natural gas transmission facilities for use as part of the Keystone pipeline. Public hearings on the transfer application were completed in mid-November, and TransCanada anticipates a decision in early 2007 (OGJ Online, June 12, 2006).

The Keystone pipeline also will require approvals from various US agencies at the state and local levels. The US portion of the project includes construction of 1,730 km of pipeline.

Public and stakeholder consultation, detailed environmental assessments and field studies, and further engineering work are ongoing in both Canada and the US and will continue into 2007.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2008, with commercial operations scheduled to begin in fourth quarter 2009.

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