TransCanada expects to operate the Keystone XL Pipeline in excess of 50 years. If the pipeline were to be taken out of service, the pipe will be purged of its contents, filled with an inert gas, such as nitrogen, and left in place and intact with appropriate warning signs. Cathodic protection would likely remain functional as would other integrity measures such as periodic inspections under the integrity management plan.
If the pipeline were to be fully decommissioned, those activities would be conducted in compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements that are in place at the time of decommissioning, as well as agreements with affected landowners. Such procedures would include safe disconnection from an operating pipeline system, purging of combustibles, and sealing abandoned facilities left in place to minimize safety issues and environmental hazards.
Prior to decommissioning in Nebraska, TransCanada would identify the decommissioning procedures it would use along each portion of the route, identify the regulations it would be required to comply with, and submit applications for the appropriate environmental permits.
For more information: Additional information is available in Section 2.6 of the NDEQ “Draft Evaluation Report on the Keystone XL Pipeline Nebraska Reroute,” available from the NDEQ homepage.