Aerial photos show Keystone XL behind schedule, research firm says

The southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline is running behind schedule, according to an aerial analysis by market research firm Genscape.

Genscape said its photos from flyovers of the construction area on August 18, along with other research place its estimated date of service for the pipeline in the first quarter of next year.

TransCanada, which owns the pipeline, has said the project will be completed by the end of 2013.

“Genscape believes this estimate to be optimistic based on construction progress,” the company said in a news release.

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Transcanada did not respond to a request for comment and a message on the company’s media line said it was closed for the Labor Day holiday.

With construction lagging, the added time to fill the pipeline in order to begin smooth service will cause a further delay, Genscape said.

“Genscape estimates it will take approximately 40-60 days to fill the line” at a rate of up to 81,000 barrels per day, the firm said.

Genscape said its flyovers showed crews continuing to work on connecting pipeline in areas where sections of the Keystone line are still being assembled above the ground.

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Aside from that work, TransCanada’s main focus is on a pumping station near Cushing, Oklahoma.

The southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline will extend 485 miles from Cushing to Nederland, Texas, where an extension will connect the line to refineries in Houston.

The pipeline is 36 inches in diameter and is expected to eventually move up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day.

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