Keystone XL’s southern leg nears completion

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Wayne Knox, a contractor for TransCanada's Keystone XL project, looks at a pipe before it's lowered into the ground in Wood County, Texas. (Cody Duty / Houston Chronicle)

Wayne Knox, a contractor for TransCanada’s Keystone XL project, looks at a pipe before it’s lowered into the ground in Wood County, Texas. (Cody Duty / Houston Chronicle)

The southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline is more than 75 percent complete and construction is proceeding on schedule, a spokesman for pipeline owner TransCanada told FuelFix.

“We have some pump stations to build, but we’ve made great strides on the pipeline itself,” said David Dodson, a spokesman for the Canadian pipeline giant.

TransCanada in April pushed back its estimated completion date for the northern segment of the Keystone XL project, which is planned to eventually connect oil sands fields in Canada with the U.S. Gulf Coast. The delay was a result of slow federal approvals, the company said.

Moving forward: House passes bill to speed up Keystone XL

But there has been no change in the timeline for the $2.3 billion southern leg of the pipeline, which is under construction to add a major new oil line connecting the hub of Cushing, Oklahoma, with the Texas coast, Dodson said.

The 485-mile southern leg of Keystone XL will be able to move 700,000 barrels per day of oil when completed. Though it is expected to eventually bring crude from Canadian oil sands to Texas, oil sands crude is already being delivered to Gulf Coast refineries in large numbers.

Although environmental activists have attempted to thwart construction of the pipeline, by camping in trees, locking themselves to equipment and demonstrating in the path of working machinery, the project remains on target, Dodson said.

“We’re going to be done by the end of the year,” he said. “We’re on schedule.”

Keystone XL: Protests or not, they have a pipeline to build

Though TransCanada initially expected the northern leg of Keystone XL to be completed in 2014, the company now projects the $5.3 billion portion to be finished by the second half of 2015.

TransCanada has so far invested $1.8 billion in the northern leg of Keystone XL and the total estimate for that line could grow, depending on the timing of regulatory approvals, according to the company.

Zain Shauk

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