New rules imposed on Keystone XL after detection of pipeline defects
Two new conditions have been added by safety regulators to the 57 already agreed regarding the construction of TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone XL oil pipeline, the Associated Press reports. The new rules were imposed after construction defects were found in the southern leg of the project.
The defects, which involved high rates of bad welds, dented pipe and damaged pipeline coating, have been fixed. Yet the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) wanted to make absolutely sure that such problems won't arise during construction of the northern segment of the pipeline, which is currently on hold, awaiting a decision by the Obama administration.
The first new condition demands that TransCanada hire a third-party contractor chosen by PHMSA to oversee the construction and report back to the agency whether the work executed is stable and sound.
The second condition requires TransCanada to implement a quality management program to make sure that Keystone and its numerous contractors follow the highest standards while building the pipeline.
The conditions were added after two warning letters were sent by PHMSA to TransCanada regarding serious defects and problems on the Keystone Gulf Coast Pipeline from Oklahoma to the Texas Gulf Coast.
Keystone is intended to stretch from Canada to Texas, enabling the transportation of oil from Canadian tar sands to oil refineries on the Gulf Coast.
A decision from the Obama administration regarding the pipeline project isn't expected until after the elections in November.