TransCanada gets final Gulf Coast Project oil line permit

TransCanada Corp. has received the final of three key permits needed from the US Army Corps of Engineers to advance its 485-mile Gulf Coast Project, a crude oil pipeline extending from Cushing, Okla., to Nederland, Tex., near Houston.

The US Department of State is reviewing TransCanada's application for a presidential permit to proceed with its 1,179-mile Keystone XL pipeline from Hardisty, Alta., to Steele City, Neb., and is expected to make a decision first-quarter 2013. TransCanada also continues to work with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality to finalize a route avoiding the environmentally sensitive Sandhills area of Nebraska.

TransCanada separated the Gulf Coast Project and Keystone XL in February, informing DOS that it would not be part of its reapplication for Keystone XL (OGJ Online, Feb. 27, 2012). US President Barack Obama denied TransCanada’s initial Keystone XL application on Jan. 18. The company filed its reapplication in May (OGJ Online, May 4, 2012).

TransCanada said it will adopt and comply with 57 special conditions developed by the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration including requiring a higher number of remotely controlled shut-off valves, increased pipeline inspections, and pipe buried deeper in the ground. DOS’s August 2011 final environmental impact statement for Keystone XL concluded that incorporating the 57 special conditions “would result in a project that would have a degree of safety over any other typically constructed domestic oil pipeline system under current code (OGJ Online, Aug. 26, 2011).”

TransCanada said in May that it has long-term contract in place to transport more than 500,000 b/d of Western Canada Sedimentary Basin crude and that its Bakken Marketlink, using facilities which form part of Keystone XL, had long-term contracts to transport 65,000 b/d of Bakken crude oil from the Williston basin in North Dakota and Montana. Keystone XL’s initial capacity will be 830,000 b/d.

If TransCanada can begin construction of Keystone XL in first-quarter 2013 the company says it will be complete by late 2014 or early 2015. The Gulf Coast Project has a target in-service date of mid to late-2013.

Contact Christopher E. Smith at chriss@ogjonline.com.

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