TransCanada Corporation (TSX:TRP) (NYSE:TRP) has begun commercial deliveries via the second phase of the US $12 billion Keystone Pipeline system, transporting crude oil to Cushing, Oklahoma. The second phase is a new, 480-kilometer (298-mile) extension from Steele City, Nebraska to Cushing, Oklahoma, and an increase in Keystone's nominal capacity to 591,000 barrels per day (Bbl/d), of which 530,000 Bbl/d is contracted.
"This is a significant development for TransCanada as the Keystone pipeline will play an important role in linking a secure and growing supply of Canadian crude oil with America's largest refining markets, greatly improving North American energy security," says Russ Girling, TransCanada president and chief executive officer.
The next phase of expansion for the Keystone Pipeline system is the proposed U.S. Gulf Coast Expansion (Keystone XL) project. Keystone XL, which has received strong support from American business, labour organizations and legislators, will help reduce America's dependence on crude oil from Venezuela and the Middle East by up to 40 percent and provide U.S. Gulf Coast refineries with increased access to Canadian oil. Keystone XL will also create 20,000 high-paying jobs for American families and inject $20 billion into the U.S. economy.
The Keystone XL project is a 2,673-kilometre (1,661-mile), 36-inch crude oil pipeline that will begin at Hardisty, Alberta and extend southeast through Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. The pipeline will then continue on through Oklahoma and Texas to delivery terminals near Port Arthur, Texas, to serve U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.
With the recent announcements of the Bakken and Cushing Marketlink projects, TransCanada has the ability to transport 250,000 Bbl/d of crude oil from Montana, North Dakota and the U.S. mid-continent to refineries in Oklahoma and the U.S. Gulf Coast and provide American producers with a competitive way to transport their crude oil.
With the Cushing extension operational, TransCanada has put into service seven major projects in the last 10 months. The initial phase of Keystone began operations in the summer of 2010; the North Central Corridor, Groundbirch and Bison natural gas pipelines are all moving gas to market; Maine's largest wind project - Kibby Wind - became fully operational in late October 2010; and the Halton Hills Generating Station in Ontario began producing power in the fall of 2010.
TransCanada will continue bringing large-scale projects into service in the coming months including the Coolidge Generating Station in Arizona and the Guadalajara natural gas pipeline in Mexico.