TransCanada prepares to start laying Keystone pipe in southeast Alta. as it awaits U.S. court rulings
TransCanada pipelines is preparing to lay pipe — Keystone XL pipe that’s been stockpiled over the past 8 years — early in the new year if final approval of the United States route comes through.
Company representatives told council members of Cypress County where a portion of the line would be built, the Canadian portion was approved in 2010, and local enthusiasm for the project is very high.
Work now is focused on selecting a main contractor, inspecting pipe and touching base with local communities, said company spokesperson Rebecca McElhoes.
“There are a number of challenges that we face south of the border, but if we’re in that position where we can can begin (in early 2019) we need to laying the ground work,” said McElhoes.
Almost half of the 530-kilometre Canadian leg is located in Alberta, including a portion of northern Cypress County, entering Saskatchewan near Burstall at McNiel Alberta.
Council also heard that at the same time the company is gearing up to build the major export line, it is also planning to abandon the 64-kilometre Etzikom Lateral in portions of both Cypress County and the County of Forty Mile. As well, it will apply as well to the National Energy board this fall to close in the AECO “I” Connection to the gas system on the western edge of CFB Suffield.
The Keystone XL expansion could be rolling soon after court challenges in Montana and South Dakota are concluded.
The company could name a prime contractor in early 2019, said McElhoes.
Pipe has been stockpiled in Monitor, Oyen, Bindloss as well as Piapot and Shaunavon in Saskatchewan, and that pipe is being inspected currently. Earthworks at several of seven compressor sites along the route has begun, said McElhoes.
The abandonments in the Etzikom and Maleb lines were also discussed.
Rural gas co-ops in that area, which take gas off the line, were told of plans in early 2017, and have been arranging alternate supply, said TCPL spokesperson Cole Thomson.
“It reflects the changing markets and where (petroleum) is now produced, said Thomson. “We’re building a lot, but also taking a lot of pipelines out of service in southern Alberta.”
Etzikom Lateral consists of a 64kilometre, 10-inch line, the company says is no longer being supplied with sufficient gas from producers. Additionally, a portion stretching 21 km to Maleb, will also be officially abandoned. It’s service was officially discontinued in 1998.
The county taxes on the smaller lines accounted for about $30,000 of TransCanada’s annual tax bill of $2 million to Cypress County.
The addition of Keystone XL infrastructure would add $60,000 to the company’s tax bill.