MOSCOW, May 27 (RIA Novosti) – US safety regulators have placed two further conditions on the construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline after finding dangerous construction defects involving the southern leg of the Canada-to-Texas project, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
Although defects such as high rates of bad welds, dented pipe and damaged pipeline coating have been fixed, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration wants to prevent similar problems in the construction of the controversial northern segment, which has been put on hold pending a decision by the Obama administration.
TransCanada Corp. has been required to hire a third-party contractor chosen by the pipeline safety regulator to monitor the construction and report on whether the work is sound.
TransCanada has further been ordered to adopt a quality management program to ensure high construction standards at the company and among subcontractors, AP reported.
Inspections by the watchdog revealed that TransCanada had failed to use approved welding procedures to connect pipe segments. The company had hired unqualified welders for the project by using improper procedures to test them.
Robert Bea, professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Berkeley said the weld failure rates are “horrible.” “The level of defects is indeed cause for alarm and indicative of something that is going on in the Keystone organization that isn't satisfactory.”
Thousands of activists have been protesting in the United States against the construction of the 1,700-mile (2,700-kilometer) $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline, which is planned to carry heavy crude oil through America’s heartland from Canada’s tar sands – described by 350.org founder Bill McKibben as North America’s “biggest carbon bomb.”