* Three-day outage estimate still stands
* WTI down as U.S. oil supplies still seen as ample
By Jeffrey Jones
CALGARY, Alberta, Oct 19 TransCanada Corp
said on Friday that poor weather was impeding efforts
to inspect a section of its idled Canada-to-United States oil
pipeline, but the company stuck to its estimate for a weekend
restart for the major export conduit.
TransCanada, the country's largest pipeline company, shut
down the 590,000 barrel a day Keystone oil pipeline on Wednesday
after an in-line inspection tool detected what the company
referred to as a "small anomaly" on the pipe. It said it
expected the line would be down for three days.
"Bad weather is hampering our efforts in getting heavy
equipment on site," TransCanada spokesman James Millar said in
"Our current statement (on the timing for restart) still
stands," Millar said.
TransCanada has not given the location of the potential
defect, but the U.S. Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety
Administration said on Thursday it had sent an inspector to
observe repairs on a section between Missouri and Illinois.
The pipeline, which has the capacity to move a quarter of
Canada's oil exports to the United States, extends to Wood
River, Illinois, and the major storage hub at Cushing, Oklahoma,
from Hardisty, Alberta.
On Thursday, the outage pulled U.S. oil prices off their
lows and pressured Canadian crude prices. West Texas
Intermediate was down 2 cents at $92.08 a barrel on Friday
"Because of the ample supplies of oil (in the United
States), a three-day closure is not extremely bullish -- if they
announce a delay, that's when the market will start to get a bid
in it again," said Gene McGillian, analyst at Tradition Energy
in Stamford, Connecticut.
The pipeline is the first phase of TransCanada's overall
Keystone system and has been in operation since 2010.
The next phase, between Cushing and Gulf Coast refineries, is
under construction amid opposition from some landowners. The
contentious Keystone XL project, between Alberta and southern
Nebraska, still requires U.S. federal approval after President
Barack Obama rejected the initial application early this year.
TransCanada has re-applied to build that $5.3 billion portion
of the system, hoping for an approval early next year.