Keystone pipeline reopens after 1.4 million-litre spill in North Dakota

The Keystone pipeline resumed moving crude oil Sunday after 1.4 million litres of oil were spilled in North Dakota in late October.

Calgary-based TC Energy still investigating cause of leak

Workers clean contaminated soil after the Keystone pipeline spilled oil in North Dakota in late October. (TC Energy)

The Keystone pipeline resumed moving crude oil Sunday after 1.4 million litres (9,120 barrels) of oil were spilled in North Dakota in late October.

Pipeline operator TC Energy will operate it at a reduced pressure, gradually increasing the volume of crude oil moving through the system, the Calgary-based company stated in an emailed release Sunday afternoon. The company said the repair and restart plan was approved by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

The spill was one of the largest on-shore crude oil spills in the region in the last decade and Keystone's largest spill.

The pipeline, which delivers roughly 93.8 million litres per day from Hardisty, Alta., to the U.S. Gulf Coast, had been shut down since the spill near Edinburg, N.D., was detected on Oct. 29. The spill impacted a nearby wetland.

TC Energy said it's still investigating what caused the incident and analyzing the segment of removed pipe. "No significant impacts to the environment" have been found so far, the company's website states.

Around 200 personnel have been working around the clock to clean up the site, and have recovered more than 1.08 million litres of oil.

In 2017, a Keystone leak in rural South Dakota spilled around 1.04 million litres, PHMSA data shows. Earlier this year, Keystone was partially shut after leaking 6,800 litres of crude in Missouri.

TC Energy has been working to expand the pipeline system to double its capacity but has faced regulatory hurdles. Completion of the Keystone XL project is currently slated for 2021.

The differential between West Texas Intermediate and Western Canadian Select sat at around $22 US as of Thursday.

With files from The Associated Press


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?