Keystone Pipeline Leak Spills 9000 Barrels of Oil in North Dakota

Katie Ramirez
November 4, 2019

In November 2017, the pipeline spilled more than 200,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota, in a similarly sparsely populated area. Canada is the biggest foreign provider of oil to the United States, with exports to the USA averaging about 3.6 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2018, according to the federal Canada Energy Regulator. The cause of the rupture has not been revealed.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders took to Twitter on Thursday to condemn the pipeline and Trump for supporting the extension of it. Environmentalists, for instance, have argued against the extraction of crude oil from oil sands. 'As president, I will shut down the Keystone Pipeline that should never have been built in the first place'. The $8billion project has faced regulatory and environmental hurdles despite Trump's support.

The 590,000-barrel bpd Keystone system, owned by TC Energy Corp, is a key artery for Canadian heavy crude, imported by United States for blending with other oils to be refined into gasoline, diesel and other fuels.

A Nebraska court in August affirmed an alternative route through the state, raising hopes the project might proceed and provide badly needed transport for Alberta's crude.

Earlier Tuesday, the U.S. State Department held the sole public meeting on a new environmental review of the long-stalled proposal. Workers were expected to dig up a portion of the underground pipeline within the next few days to inspect it, he said. The cause and scope of the spill are still under investigation. Richard Kuprewicz, the president of pipeline safety consulting company Accufacts, told the Star Tribune in Minneapolis.

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No injuries or impacts on animals have been reported, TC Energy said in a statement, adding that the oil is now contained. The estimate is only initial, as authorities say the exact amount of oil released will not be clear until recovery has finished.

The leak marks the pipeline's second major spill in two years - a 2017 oil leak in South Dakota was discovered last year to have spilled more than 400,000 gallons of oil after the pipeline broke. Large stretches of Keystone have been shut down.

Karl Rockeman, director of the North Dakota Division of Water Quality, whose department is overseeing the cleanup, said crews were focused on reaching the leak to prevent "any further oil that may be sitting in the pipeline from being released". Rockeman said some wetlands were affected, but not any sources of drinking water.

Federal regulators said an "anomaly" on a weld on the pipeline was to blame.

The Keystone Pipeline System runs from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in IL and Texas, as well as to oil tank farms and an oil pipeline distribution center in Oklahoma.

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