Oil Pipeline Pumping Station in rural Nebraska not far from where I live
The Keystone Pipeline System is a pipeline system to transport synthetic crude oil and diluted bitumen ("dilbit") from the Athabasca oil sands region in northeastern Alberta, Canada to multiple destinations in the United States, which include refineries in Illinois, the Cushing oil distribution hub in Oklahoma, and proposed connections to refineries along the Gulf Coast of Texas.
It consists of the operational "Keystone Pipeline" and "Keystone-Cushing Extension", and two proposed pipeline expansion segments, referred to as Keystone XL Pipeline and the Gulf Coast Project. After the Keystone XL pipeline segments are completed, American crude oil would enter the XL pipelines at Baker, Montana and Cushing, Oklahoma.
The Keystone XL has faced lawsuits from oil refineries and criticism from environmentalists and some members of the United States Congress. In January 2012, President Obama rejected the application amid protests about the pipeline's impact on Nebraska's environmentally sensitive Sand Hills region. On March 22 Obama endorsed the building of its southern half that begins in Cushing, Okla. The President said in Cushing OK on March 22, “Today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.”
Operating since 2010, the original Keystone Pipeline System is an 3,461-kilometre (2,151 mi) pipeline delivering Canadian crude oil to U.S. Midwest markets and Cushing, Oklahoma. In Canada, the first phase of Keystone involved the conversion of approximately 864 kilometres (537 mi) of existing 36-inch (910 mm) natural gas pipeline in Saskatchewan and Manitoba to crude oil pipeline service. It also included approximately 373 kilometres (232 mi) of new 30-inch (760 mm) diameter pipeline, 16 pump stations and the Keystone Hardisty Terminal.
The U.S. portion of the Keystone Pipeline included 1,744 kilometres (1,084 mi) of new, 30-inch (760 mm) diameter pipeline in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois. The pipeline has a minimum ground cover of 4 feet (1.2 m). It also involved construction of 23 pump stations and delivery facilities at Wood River and Patoka, Illinois. In 2011, the second phase of Keystone included a 480-kilometre (298 mi) extension from Steele City, Nebraska to Cushing, Oklahoma and 11 new pump stations to increase the capacity of the pipeline from 435,000 to 591,000 barrels per day (69,200 to 94,000 m3/d).
Additional phases (three and four) have been in construction or discussion since 2011. When completed, the Keystone XL will add 510,000 barrels per day (81,000 m3/d) increasing the total capacity up to 1.1 million barrels per day (170×103 m3/d).
The original Keystone Pipeline cost US$5.2 billion with the Keystone XL expansion slated to cost approximately US$7 billion. The Keystone XL was expected to be completed by 2012–2013, however construction has been overcome by events.