Keystone's southern leg sends Gulf Coast crude to record high


Crude oil inventories in the Gulf Coast area hit a record high of 207.2 million barrels on April 11, months after the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline’s southern leg opened, a government stat shop said Thursday.

The southern part of TransCanada Corp.’s pipeline is called the Marketlink Pipeline, and runs from Cushing, Okla., to the Texas Gulf Coast, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said.

It started operation in January, but the most controversial piece, known as Keystone XL, has been delayed amid objections from green groups. If built, it will run from Nebraska to Albert’s oil sands.

The EIA said Marketlink is the main factor behind the record inventories. It has a capacity of 700,000 barrels per day, and will likely average 525,000 barrels a day this year.

The agency also attributed the record to growth in oil production and refineries entering seasonal maintenance. The inventory total includes tank farms, refineries and pipelines.

Crude oil inventories usually increase in the spring due to seasonal maintenance, but the increase has been much larger this year, the EIA said.

The Gulf Coast region had a total capacity of 273.3 million barrels as of September, excluding pipelines, the EIA said.