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TransCanada asks for pause on review of ND oil pipeline

BISMARCK — TransCanada Corp. has asked the U.S. State Department to pause its review of an oil pipeline that would originate in northwest North Dakota and carry oil to Canada.

The same company behind the Keystone XL proposes to build the Upland Pipeline that would originate about 15 miles southwest of Williston and transport up to 300,000 barrels of oil per day.

Because it crosses the U.S.-Canadian border, the project requires a presidential permit.

TransCanada, which held open houses with North Dakota landowners more than a year ago to discuss the project, recently asked the State Department to put its application for a presidential permit on hold.

The company wanted to pause the U.S. review of the project to better align the timing with TransCanada's proposed Energy East Pipeline System, which is under review by regulators in Canada, said TransCanada spokesman Matthew John.

The Upland Pipeline would transport Bakken crude to Canadian markets as well as refineries on the U.S. East Coast by connecting with the proposed Energy East.

Because the two pipelines are related, TransCanada wants to align the timing of the regulatory reviews, John said.

The proposed Upland route would travel about 126 miles in North Dakota, crossing the Canadian border near Flaxton. It also would require approval of the North Dakota Public Service Commission.