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Keystone XL pipeline reaches capacity ahead of schedule

TransCanada’s Gulf Coast Project, a pipeline connecting Cushing with refineries along the Gulf of Mexico coast, reached capacity in about 45 days, a company official said.
By Jay F. Marks, Business Writer Published: March 24, 2014

The southern leg of Keystone XL pipeline reached capacity much faster than expected, a TransCanada official said Monday.

Corey Goulet, vice president of TransCanada’s Keystone development, said the company wanted the 487-mile pipeline to transport 700,000 barrels of oil a day after about 90 days of operation.

“We achieved that last week” in about half that time, Goulet said in a telephone interview with The Oklahoman. He was in Tulsa on Monday to visit a local pipeline company and speak to the Tulsa Pipeliners Club.

Goulet said the pipeline known as the Gulf Coast Project has helped relieve the bottleneck at the Cushing hub when the capacity of pipelines into the hub vastly exceeded the ability to move it out. The line started moving crude oil out of Cushing on Jan. 22.

He said that has narrowed the discount on West Texas Intermediate crude, the oil priced at Cushing, compared with Brent crude, the major benchmark for oil worldwide.

The gap now is about $5 a barrel, Goulet said, but it had reached as much as $25 before the pipeline was completed.

TransCanada built that leg of its Keystone XL pipeline after its original bid for a presidential permit for the transcontinental pipeline in 2012. The company still is pursuing a permit for the other half of the project.

Goulet said a resolution on TransCanada’s permit application could come this summer, noting media reports indicating President Barack Obama recently told a group of governors, including Oklahoma’s Mary Fallin, that a decision would be made in a couple of months.

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