CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO) will extend the open season on its Keystone pipeline system by a month because of the unprecedented flooding and damage caused by Hurricane Harvey slamming into the Gulf Coast region in late August, the company said on Wednesday.
Shippers will now have until Oct. 26 to sign up for committed capacity on the existing Keystone and proposed Keystone XL pipelines that will carry crude from Alberta’s oil sands to Cushing, Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast.
The open season, which was launched on July 27, was originally scheduled to last until Sept. 28.
Harvey forced a quarter of U.S. refining capacity offline, shut down key liquids pipelines and disrupted crude production as it swept through the heart of the country’s energy industry nearly two weeks ago.
In a statement TransCanada said it was extending the open season due to the “historic flooding and catastrophic impacts to Houston and parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast”.
While the original 590,000 barrel per day Keystone pipeline is already operating, the proposed 830,000 bpd Keystone XL line has been delayed for years after the Obama administration denied it a presidential permit.
U.S. President Donald Trump approved Keystone XL in March but two other major crude export pipelines are now also in progress, prompting some industry players to question whether TransCanada’s new line would be needed.
Chief Executive Russ Girling said in May lower oil prices and alternative export routes were “complicating” negotiations over shipper commitments, but traders in Calgary said the open season extension appeared to be the result of Harvey impacts rather than a lack of demand for the route.
Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Marguerita Choy