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Spokesman: Portions of Keystone XL pipeline in Wood County to undergo repairs

From Staff and Wire Reports
May 30, 2013 at 10 p.m.


A Canadian company building a pipeline to carry tar sands oil to the Gulf Coast said Thursday crews were repairing sections of pipe that failed testing, mainly in Wood County.

Inspections had revealed "small imperfections" in the pipe, TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard said in an emailed statement.

Company spokesman David Dodson said in a separate emailed statement there was no performance issue with the completed portion of the pipeline. But 81 feet of it will be replaced, he said, all in one 80-mile section of pipe.

"Before any of our projects go into commercial service, they go through many different kinds of tests and inspections," Dodson wrote. "We have already inspected and tested portions of the pipeline using water pressure and remote sensing. We have used ultrasonic inspection tools and X rays to inspect each weld. And recently, we used some of our inline inspection tools to identify issues that may have been introduced to the pipe during construction or in the process of refilling the trench in which the pipeline is buried."

Problems were revealed in nine sections, Dodson said. By law, he said, the company is required to replace a minimum of nine feet of pipeline in each case.

As repairs are made, construction of the pipeline through Texas, which is now 75 percent complete, will continue.

The 485-mile pipeline will carry tar sands crude from a hub in Cushing, Okla. to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast. It is meant to eventually connect to a 1,179-mile Keystone XL pipeline that would bring crude from Canada. That larger project has not received a required permit from President Obama.

While the pipeline was being laid through Franklin, Wood and Smith counties last year it drew protesters from across the country, including activist-actress Darryl Hannah.

Local landowners and environmentalists have battled the pipeline's construction on grounds of eminent domain abuse and over fears of environmental contamination from possible leaks or spills.

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