TransCanada to replace some sections of Keystone pipeline
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Canadian-based company plans to replace sections of its Keystone pipeline so the company can begin pumping oil at higher pressure.
Some of the sections of TransCanada Corp.’s pipeline didn’t meet federal strength standards, so the company must replace those sections so it can pump oil at higher pressure. TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha told the Lincoln Journal Star that running at the higher pressure “allows us to be more efficient with our operations to meet customer expectations and demands.”
Richard Kuprewicz, president of the independent pipeline industry consulting company Accufacts Inc., said that the higher pressure could also mean more money for TransCanada.
“They can run it at higher flows, and higher flows means more profit,” Kuprewicz said.
The 30-inch pipeline first went into operation in June 2010.
Most oil pipelines in the U.S, including Keystone, operate at 72 percent of the minimum pressure that could cause a deformation in the system. In 2007, TransCanada got permission to run its Keystone pipeline at 80 percent in mostly rural areas. But the agreement came with a long list of specifications.
During the time in which Keystone was being constructed, several other pipelines built in the mid to late 2000s failed stress tests. Cunha said that after building the Keystone, TransCanada did an in-line inspection which found the pipeline to be safe but identified some areas that would need to be replaced based on post-construction guidelines for low yield strength.
In November President Barack Obama killed the company’s plans to build the Keystone XL pipeline.
The sections of the pipeline that will be replaced range from nine to 40 feet long. The Keystone will be shut down for short periods, no more than twice in a four-week period and typically for 24 hours at a time.
The work is scheduled to begin this month and extend through 2017 in Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, Illinois and Missouri.