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Gulf Coast pipeline nearly complete, TransCanada official says

A pipeline meant to transport oil from the storage hub at Cushing to refineries along the Gulf Coast is expected to be operational by the end of the year, an official with developer TransCanada says.
BY JAY F. MARKS Published: October 11, 2013

The southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline remains on track to start moving oil from Cushing to the Gulf Coast by the end of the year.

Corey Goulet, vice president of TransCanada's Keystone development, said the company is close to having the $2.3 billion pipeline operational.

TransCanada began construction of the Gulf Coast Project in August 2012 after the Obama administration denied a permit for the transcontinental Keystone XL pipeline.

The company opted to proceed with the southern leg while continuing to pursue a presidential permit.

The entire Gulf Coast pipeline is in the ground now, Goulet said. Some parts of line are being tested hydrostatically, while cleanup crews are working in other areas to restore top soil and vegetation.

Goulet said crews have started commissioning some facilities along the route, while the rest soon will be done.

“It's all looking good right now,” he said.

Goulet said 12 million man-hours have gone into building the 485-mile pipeline and six pump stations that will move 700,000 barrels of oil a day.

Goulet was in Tulsa on Thursday to offer the company's thanks to Pipeliners Union Local 798, whose members worked as welders and pipe fitters on parts of the project in Oklahoma.

He said many worked six 10-hour shifts each week, allowing them to earn a full year's pay in only eight months.

Goulet said about 4,000 workers were part of the pipeline project at its peak. That number has dropped to about 200 now, with another 600 working to built seven oil storage tanks at Cushing.

TransCanada also intends to build additional storage tanks near the end of the Gulf Coast line, Goulet said.


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