TransCanada on Saturday began injecting crude oil into its $2.3 billion pipeline between Cushing and the Gulf Coast.
The company said the move means the 485-mile pipeline is another step closer to the start of commercial operation.
“Over the coming weeks, TransCanada will inject about 3 million barrels of oil into the system, beginning in Cushing,” spokesman Shawn Howard said.
The pipeline, dubbed the Gulf Coast Project, is the southern leg of TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada's oil sands and the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to refineries in the Houston area.
President Barack Obama refused to issue a permit for the project last year amid concerns about its potential impact on a large aquifer in Nebraska.
The Obama administration currently is considering another application for the project, but TransCanada received clearance for the pipeline out of Cushing. Construction begun in August 2012.
“The Gulf Coast Project is a significant step forward in the move to transport oil from Cushing to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries,” Howard said.
He said the pipeline was built using advanced safety standards featured in no other pipelines in operation.
Howard said testing of the pipeline is ongoing, but he was unable to provide any details about when it will go into commercial service.
The pipeline will carry up to 700,000 barrels of oil a day.
The Gulf Coast Project is a significant step forward in the move to transport oil from Cushing to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.”