Line Filling Begins On Southern Leg Of Keystone XL Pipeline

January 2014, Vol. 241 No. 1

TransCanada Corp. began filling its Gulf Coast Pipeline – the southern leg of the Keystone XL project – with oil on Dec. 7.

Spokesperson Shawn Howard said line fill activities follow the completion of pipeline construction, ongoing testing and TransCanada’s demonstration to the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) that it has followed through on the advanced safety standards that the Gulf Coast Pipeline will operate under – and that no other pipeline in operation will feature.

In coming weeks, TransCanada will inject about 3 MMbbls of oil into the system, beginning in Cushing, OK and moving down to company facilities in the Houston refining area. As to commercial services, Howard indicated that for commercial and contractual reasons, the next update they will provide will be after the line has gone into commercial service.

Once online, the 485-mile, 36-inch Gulf Coast system will have initial capacity of up to 700,000 bopd with the potential to transport up to 830,000 bopd to Gulf Coast refineries. Construction began in August 2012. For more than 15 months, 4,844 workers worked to complete the project.

Construction required:
• US$2.3 billion in private-sector investment;
• Six modern pump stations;
• More than 11 million hours of labor;
• More than 50 contracts with U.S. manufacturers and companies building the pipeline and equipment;
• The manufacturing of more than 485 miles of high-strength, advanced oil pipeline (36-inch diameter); hundreds of large valves; thousands of fittings; thousands of pieces of equipment used to build transformers, meters, electric motors, cabling and electrical equipment; and piping assembling and structural steel for supports; and
• About 2.25 MMbbls of new oil storage capacity at Cushing.
The 48-mile Houston Lateral project (shown on the accompanying map) is an additional project developed to transport oil to refineries in the Houston area that is not yet complete.

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