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Canada investigating pipe, fittings on Keystone pipeline

Keywords: Tags  National Energy Board, pipe and fittings, TransCanada, Keystone, PHMSA, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — Canada’s National Energy Board is investigating the pipe and fittings on TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone pipeline to the U.S. Midwest and the Gulf Coast from Hardisty, Alberta, following concerns raised by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

"(PHMSA was) apparently looking into some fittings on the U.S. leg of the pipeline that may not fit their standards" a spokeswoman for the board told AMM, adding that the two agencies have a memorandum of understanding to share information about pipelines.

PHMSA did not respond to a request for comment.

"The board is ... investigating certain steel pipe and fittings installed on the Keystone pipeline with the potential to exhibit lower-than-specified yield strength," the board said in an audit of TransCanada’s integrity management programs.

The investigation relates to above ground fittings at its pump stations, a TransCanada spokesman said. The quality of the fittings exceeded regulatory requirements but was below the company’s own engineering specifications.

"Extensive field testing ... has confirmed that there are no safety or integrity concerns with these fittings. We are discussing the results of this testing with the (National Energy Board)," he told AMM via e-mail.

In the audit, the board found four issues of non-compliance by Calgary, Alberta-based TransCanada on issues of hazard identification, abnormal operating conditions, inspection and management review of pipelines.

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