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Pipes sit at the TransCanada Corp. Houston Lateral Project pipe yard in Mont Belvieu, Texas, U.S., on Wednesday, March 5, 2014.

Scott Dalton/Bloomberg

TransCanada Corp. is seeking approval for another cross-border pipeline even as its contentious Keystone XL project languishes in the U.S. political system.

The Calgary-based company this week submitted an application to the U.S. State Department for its $600-million Upland pipeline, a proposal that would bring U.S. crude north at a time Canadian oil production is testing the limits of existing export capacity.

The project is designed, in part, to connect fast-rising crude supplies from North Dakota's Bakken oil play with the company's planned Energy East pipeline, which faces mounting opposition in Canada. Initial capacity would be 220,000 barrels per day starting in 2020, rising to 300,000 barrels over time, spokesman Mark Cooper said.

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The Upland pipeline requires a presidential permit because it crosses the U.S.-Canada border – a process that has delayed the company's much larger, $8-billion (U.S.) Keystone XL pipeline for years.

"Upland is about ensuring maximum North American benefits for the energy we produce and making sure it gets to market in the safest, most efficient and environmentally sound way possible," Mr. Cooper said in an email.

The pipeline would start near Williston, N.D., funneling 70,000 barrels of crude a day of contracted volumes into Energy East at an interconnection in Saskatchewan. The project would also connect with other pipelines within and outside the state.

The $12-billion Energy East pipeline is designed to ship more than one million barrels a day from western oil fields as far as Canada's East Coast. TransCanada this month delayed the project by at least a year amid concerns a related export terminal in Quebec would harm beluga whales.

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