Keystone XL southern leg’s oil shipments to begin in January

HOUSTON — TransCanada expects to begin shipping oil on the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline on Jan. 22, the company said Tuesday.

The notices went out late Monday, TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard said in an email.

“This is another important milestone for TransCanada, our shippers and the refiners on the U.S. Gulf Coast who have been waiting for this product to arrive,” Howard said. “Providing this notice gives our customers time to ensure that they have the appropriate volumes of oil to move into our system when the pipeline is ready to go into full commercial operation.”

The Canadian pipeline owner currently is filling the new system with 3 million barrels of oil. Once it begins operation, the pipeline and associated storage units and pumping stations will be able to move up to 700,000 barrels of oil per day from Cushing, Oklahoma to Nederland, Texas. From there, it will be able to move through lines to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Keystone XL director: Mandate on Obama delayed pipeline

The southern leg of Keystone XL was built despite a regulatory hold up over the northern leg of the pipeline, which would extend into Alberta, Canada. That portion of Keystone XL, which would move crude from oil sands fields toward Gulf Coast refineries, requires presidential approval since it crosses an international border.

President Obama has once rejected a permit application for the northern leg of the pipeline because an environmental review of the project was not yet complete. A new review is nearing completion and will again present the project to the Obama administration for approval.

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