The oil is flowing. The Gulf Coast Project began delivering crude oil to Texas refineries on the morning of Jan. 22. TransCanada Corp. announced the completion of the $2.3 billion crude oil pipeline, which provides a direct connection between the oil hub in Cushing, Okla., and delivery points on the U.S. Gulf Coast at Nederland, Texas.
“This is a very important milestone for TransCanada, our shippers and Gulf Coast refiners who have been waiting for a pipeline to supply oil directly from Cushing,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada president and CEO. “This project is a critical, modern piece of American energy infrastructure that allows producers to safely connect growing production with the world’s most efficient refiners on the U.S. Gulf Coast. It also provides those American refineries the opportunity to use more of the crude oil produced in both Canada and the United States for decades to come.”
Construction of the 487-mile, 36-in. crude oil pipeline involved more than 11 million hours of labor completed by 4,844 workers in the United States. It also includes the addition of 2.25 million barrels of new oil storage capacity at Cushing.
“The workers who helped build this project are in addition to 8,969 men and women who constructed the initial Keystone pipeline system, and we are waiting for approval of Keystone XL so we can employ more than 9,000 more Americans who are waiting to put their skills and experience to work,” Girling said.
The Gulf Coast Project was designed to help relieve the glut of crude oil in places like Cushing and will transport growing supplies of U.S. supply to meet refinery demand. It provides Gulf Coast refineries with access to lower cost domestic production and reduces U.S. reliance on foreign sources of crude oil. In addition, TransCanada put in place a number of design measures to improve safety, including a higher number of remotely controlled shutoff valves, increased pipeline inspections, increased standards for pipeline construction, maintenance and integrity, as well as burying the pipe deeper in the ground.
“As we bring the Gulf Coast Project into commercial operation, and look forward to the final review for Keystone XL, it is important to remember that we have a choice about where to get the oil we need to maintain our quality of life,” Girling said. “That choice is stable American and Canadian oil transported through our Keystone system versus higher priced, unstable crude oil from countries such as Venezuela that do not share or support American values.”
The Gulf Coast Project will have the initial capacity to transport up to 700,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) with the potential to transport up to 830,000 bpd. TransCanada is currently projecting pipeline capacity of 520,000 bpd for the first year of operation.
The 48-mile Houston Lateral Project is an additional project under development to transport crude oil to refineries in the Houston area. All permissions necessary to the project are in place and construction is under way on the project.