Calgary

TransCanada can resume some pre-construction work on Keystone XL, judge rules

A judge in Montana ruled last week that TransCanada can resume some pre-construction work on the Keystone XL pipeline.

Pipeline construction is currently halted by injunction pending environmental reviews

A depot used to store pipes for TransCanada's planned Keystone XL pipeline is seen in Gascoyne, N.D., last year. (Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

A judge in Montana ruled last week that TransCanada can resume some pre-construction work on the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Calgary-based company successfully argued to U.S. District Judge Brian Morris on Wednesday that it should be allowed to resume project development (like engineering and awarding contracts) and meetings with regional stakeholders, despite the fact construction on the pipeline has been halted, the company said in an emailed statement.

TransCanada is still awaiting a decision on whether or not it can resume pre-construction field activities. Those include physical movement of pipes and equipment, campsite preparation and road upgrades. A ruling will be issued after Judge Morris receives the written arguments on Dec. 5.

The company said it now plans to resume stakeholder engagements.

"It is too soon to say what the injunction will mean to the timeline of the Keystone XL pipeline but we remain confident the project will be built," said spokesperson Terry Cunha.

The company had argued that blocking pre-construction work for even a few weeks could cause it to miss the 2019 construction season and delay it's targeted completion in 2021.

On Nov. 8, Morris granted the injunction to stop construction on the project, saying the U.S. Department of State made several violations when it approved the project and that previous environmental assessments fell short of what was necessary.

The $8-billion pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of crude per day from Hardisty, Alta., to Steele City, Neb., where it would connect with the original Keystone that runs down to refineries in Texas's Gulf Coast.

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