Texas

Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Keystone XL Pipeline Gets First Barrels of Oil On Way to Texas

The Keystone XL pipeline could start full operations in early January. Over the next few weeks, millions of barrels of oil will be sent through it as part of final testing.

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Keystone XL pipeline could start full operations in early January. Over the next few weeks, millions of barrels of oil will be sent through it as part of final testing.

The Keystone XL pipeline has come to Texas. The controversial project that will bring heavy oil mined from sand pits in Canada to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast has been waiting on presidential approval for years. But in the meantime, the company has gone ahead and built the stretch of pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas.

On Saturday morning, TransCanada, the Calgary-based company behind the project, put the first barrels of oil into the pipeline. It’s part of a testing phase expected to last several weeks. Over that time, some three million barrels of oil will flow through the pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas to prepare for a full launch, which could come in early January.

“We are not going to be in a position to provide an update on when the Gulf Coast Project will go into commercial service,” says TransCanada spokesperson Shawn Howard. “We have provided general guidance to our customers, based on the contracts we have in place with them.”

The southern leg of the Keystone XL will tie into the existing Keystone pipeline that already runs to Canada, bringing up to 700,000 barrels of oil a day to refineries in Texas.

While the portion of the pipeline that will cross from Canada into the U.S. and down to Oklahoma still needs presidential approval, this southern leg can go ahead without it. The pipeline faces opposition from environmental groups and have several lawsuits pending by private landowners along the route who are fighting the company’s claims of eminent domain.

For more on the pipeline, read our topic page: What is the Keystone XL Pipeline?

Comments

  • Kim Triolo Feil

    Dan Hill, head of the petroleum engineering department at Texas A&M University, told the Star-Telegram that “sand used in hydraulic fracturing can wear away steel pipes as it rushes from the well along with natural gas. He said new wells are the most susceptible to sand erosion because the amount of sand and gas rushing through valves and flow lines is at its greatest when a well first goes into production.” Imagine with the tar sands crap how corrosive that will be 24/7.

  • richardguldi

    One section of this pipeline has defective welds on approximately half of the 205 welds inspected. 125 sections of pipe were dug up and replaced for welds or dents. When a pipeline is dented, its anti-corrosion layer that protects the pipe from corrosion for ground water is destroyed. The patches applied over dented pipe do not provide adequate corrosion protection. This pipeline is very likely to rupture over and over again, just like TransCanada’s Bison pipeline did in its first year of operation. Watch the CBS news video https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eq7AQjXQSyQ

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