TransCanada wins second of three permits for Keystone line

Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:22pm EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted TransCanada Corp a second permit for the southern section of the Keystone XL crude pipeline late Thursday, but the third and final nod for the segment is delayed.

TransCanada wants to build the Canada-to-Texas pipeline in stages after President Barack Obama rejected the overall project on environmental and water supply concerns about its route through Nebraska.

In March, Obama threw his support behind the southern half of the line, which would drain a glut of oil in the U.S. mid-section fed mostly by the oil boom in North Dakota.

The Tulsa, Oklahoma Army Corps office said on Friday it granted the permit, which covers wetland and other crossings. Earlier this week the agency's Galveston, Texas office granted the company a similar permit.

Still to come is the final permit from the agency's Fort Worth, Texas, office which has requested more information from TransCanada. When the office receives all the information it needs it will have 45 days to decide on the permit.

TransCanada says it expects to start construction on the 700,000 barrels per day section it has rebranded the Gulf Coast project later this summer. The line could be expanded to 830,000 bpd.

Obama late last year delayed a decision on a presidential permit for the initial $7.6 billion Keystone XL pipeline to take Canadian oil sand crude to refineries in Texas on the concerns in Nebraska.

TransCanada has applied again to build the northern section between the Canada-U.S. border and Steele City, Nebraska. The process is more complicated than that of the southern segment because the section would cross a national border.

(Reporting By Timothy Gardner; editing by M.D. Golan)