In peak summer heat and under the hottest conditions anywhere in the pipeline system, the temperature of the oil will not exceed 150°. (All temperatures are in degrees Fahrenheit.) In Nebraska, the hottest pipe temperature is expected to remain below 120°, even in peak summer under the hottest local conditions. At times other than peak summer, maximum temperatures will be lower.
Because the pipe is buried four feet below the ground, the soil temperatures at the surface and in critical growth zones for crops will be significantly less. In winter, the ground will still freeze, though directly over the pipe, it may freeze more slowly and thaw more quickly than adjacent ground.
The oil is not heated to prior to the shipment. Instead, the temperature generally increases due to pumping as the oil moves through the pipeline. That is one reason why temperatures in Nebraska will be lower than those that may occur at the southern end of the pipeline system. Lower pumping volumes, thinner oil, and lower ambient temperature will produce maximum temperatures below those listed above.
Crops, rangeland and other land uses are not expected to be adversely impacted. However, TransCanada remains responsible and will compensate landowners for any adverse impacts caused by the pipeline, including any reduction in yield caused by pipeline temperature.
For more information: The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ)“Draft Evaluation Report on the Keystone XL Pipeline Nebraska Reroute” addresses pipeline temperature and potential effects in Chapter 4, Section 4.10 and in Appendix E.2. The document is available from the NDEQ homepage. The federal government’s “Keystone XL Final Environmental Impact Statement” addresses pipeline temperature and potential effects in Chapter 3.2, Soils and Sediments, Section 22.214.171.124 Operational Impacts. See the U.S. Department of State New Keystone XL Pipeline Application.