Vancouver Sun

Keystone pipeline shut after oil spill

- IAN BICKIS

TransCanad­a CALGARY has shut down its Keystone pipeline while it investigat­es an oil spill in South Dakota, the company said Monday.

Mark Cooper, a spokesman for TransCanad­a, said a local landowner noticed signs of an oil spill around noon local time Saturday and informed the company.

The pipeline, which carries about 500,000 barrels of oil a day, was shut down in minutes, Cooper said.

“As soon as we got that report in, we immediatel­y began efforts to shut down the pipeline and crews were immediatel­y dispatched to the site,” Cooper said.

He said it was difficult to determine precisely how much oil was spilled, though the company said it covered a “small surface area” with no significan­t impact to the environmen­t observed. The company continues to investigat­e the source of the spill, he added.

The spill was found about six kilometres from TransCanad­a’s Freeman pump station, which sits roughly 60 kilometres southwest of Sioux Falls, S.D.

The company said it has notified landowners and local agencies in the area as well as U.S. federal agencies including the National Response Center and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administra­tion.

The Keystone pipeline carries oil from Hardisty, Alta., east through to Manitoba before it turns south to markets in the American Midwest and the Gulf of Mexico.

TransCanad­a said it has notified customers that the pipeline running from Hardisty to Cushing, Okla., and to terminals in Illinois would remain shut until at least Friday, while the Gulf Coast extension of the pipeline remains active.

The incident comes as TransCanad­a continues to push forward its proposed 4,600-kilometre Energy East Pipeline, which would ship Alberta crude to New Brunswick.

The company hit a major setback in its pipeline expansion plans when U.S. President Barack Obama rejected its proposed Keystone XL pipeline last November.

Environmen­tal groups had opposed the pipeline, which would have run from Hardisty to Nebraska, both because it would allow increased exports of oilsands crude and because of potential spills.

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