Thursday, January 29, 2009

Keystone XL seeks U.S. waiver to allow higher pressure on line

HELENA, Mont. - Developers of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that will transport Canadian crude oil destined for Gulf Coast refineries are seeking an
increase in the federal limit on pressure within the pipeline. The developers say the higher limit would optimize the flow of oil.
TransCanada Keystone Pipeline of Calgary, Alta., wants to draw on up to 80 percent of the pipeline wall's strength, rather than the maximum 72 percent specified in federal regulations. The higher limit would involve certain pipe specifications and extensive testing, said Jeff Rauh, project representative for Keystone XL.
Notice of the request appeared in the Federal Register. The U.S. Department of Transportation, which includes the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, is accepting public comment on the proposal until Feb. 23.
The nearly 2,000-mile Keystone XL project with a pipeline 36 inches in diameter would start at Hardisty, Alta., enter the United States near Montana's Port of Morgan, pass through eastern Montana, continue through South Dakota and end near the Nebraska-Kansas border. There it would connect to a pipeline that is set for construction in 2010 and would end at Cushing, Okla. A proposed pipeline from Cushing would go through Texas, to the Gulf Coast.
A permit from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality is among requirements for building and operating the pipeline in Montana, where it would cross private, federal and state land. The state agency is taking public comment through March 6 and plans to join the federal government in preparing an environmental impact statement, the draft of which would be examined in public hearings.

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