TransCanada receives final permit for part of Gulf Coast pipeline

TransCanada is set to begin construction on the Gulf Coast leg of its much-debated Keystone XL pipeline project, after receiving the final permit needed to move forward, the company said Friday.

The Alberta, Canada-based corporation announced it has received the three key permits needed from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Fort Worth, Galveston, and Tulsa, Okla. Construction will begin this summer and the pipeline is scheduled to be operational by late 2013, CEO Russ Girling announced in a conference call Friday morning.

The 485-mile project snakes from Cushing, Okla. to Nederland, Texas and includes a 47-mile extension to Houston. The $2.3 billion pipeline would give Gulf Coast refiners more access to the glut of low-priced domestic crude oil held at the Oklahoma storage hub.

“We’ve now achieved a very important milestone,” Girling said.

The company is pursuing approvals for the northern portion of Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry crude from Alberta, Canada, through Montana to Nebraska. President Barack Obama rejected TransCanada’s plan in January, but he left the door open for a revised application for the project.

TransCanada submitted a new plan to the U.S. government in May that avoided Nebraska’s environmentally sensitive Sandhills.

“The cross border permit should be processed expeditiously by the State Department,” Girling said.

He said if the company gets approval by early 2013, the Keystone pipeline would be operational in late 2014 or early 2015.