TC Energy's Keystone pipeline ruptures near North Dakota

Pablo Tucker
November 1, 2019

Current incident estimates published by the company say that 9,120 USA barrels (383,040 gallons) or "approximately half the size of an Olympic-sized swimming pool" of crude oil were released into an impacted area of 2,500 square yards - which is "less than half the size of a football field".

Trees dominate a field through which the Keystone XL pipeline is planned to run, near Bradshaw, Neb., on January 16, 2015. The company has promised the spill has been contained but the cause is still unknown. The company shut the pipe system from Hardisty, Alberta to Cushing, Oklahoma and to Wood River/Patoka, Illinois.

Federal regulators said at the time that the Keystone leak was the seventh-largest onshore oil or petroleum product spill since 2010. Earlier this year, Keystone was partially shut after leaking 6,800 litres of crude in Missouri.

In 2017, a Keystone crude pipeline leak in rural South Dakota spilled almost 1.04 million litres, PHMSA data showed.

Water Quality Division Director Karl Rockeman says the pipeline has been shut down since the leak. "There have been no reported injuries or impacted wildlife", TC Energy said. It's created to carry crude oil across Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and through North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri on the way to refineries in Patoka, Illinois and Cushing, Oklahoma.

Heavy Western Canadian Select crude's discount to West Texas Intermediate futures widened $19 a barrel Thursday, the widest since December, data compiled by Bloomberg show. After the Keystone spill in South Dakota in 2017, prices widened from about $11 a barrel to more than $25 a barrel.

Together, the massive Keystone and Keystone XL network would be about five times the length of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline. The project has been a top target of environmentalists, who argue that the pipeline would contribute to catastrophic climate change.

No new export pipelines out of Canada are planned until late next year at the earliest, when Enbridge Inc.'s Line 3 is scheduled to start operation.

The Keystone pipeline is part of a 2,687-mile system that also is to include the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

The controversial Keystone XL pipeline would begin in Alberta and extend south to Steele City, Nebraska.

Parts of the Keystone pipeline, which carries crude oil from the tar sands of Canada through several US states, were shut down as emergency response teams rushed to the scene.

-With assistance from Michael Bellusci and Sharon Cho.

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