Calgary

TransCanada hopes to restart Keystone on Sunday after South Dakota leak

TransCanada says it hopes to restart its Keystone pipeline on Sunday after a leak in South Dakota forced it to shut down the cross-border line for the past week.

Leak let more than 63,000 litres of oil seep into a South Dakota field

Crews dig at the site of the oil spill as they investigate the cause. (Submitted by TransCanada)

TransCanada says it hopes to restart its Keystone pipeline on Sunday after a leak in South Dakota forced it to shut down the cross-border line for the past week.

Mark Cooper, a spokesman for Calgary-based TransCanada, says repairs to the pipeline were completed on Saturday afternoon after the area where the leak occurred was excavated and U.S. regulators approved a plan to fix it.

Cooper says there's still aerial observation that crews want to do, and the company is waiting for further direction from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration before the taps are turned on.

The leak, which was reported April 2, let more than 63,000 litres of oil seep into a South Dakota field.

An environmental scientist with the South Dakota Department of Natural Resources has said the impact seems to be limited to soil in and around the pipeline.

Cooper says the line will run at a lower pressure at first.

"As we continue to verify the integrity of the pipeline, that pressure will be increased," Cooper said from Calgary.

The pipeline runs from Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Cushing, Okla., passing through the eastern Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri.

It's part of a pipeline system that also would have included the Keystone XL pipeline had President Barack Obama not rejected that project last November.

Cooper said the week-long-shutdown is being felt upstream, where the oil must be stored, and downstream, where it's refined.

There's no alternate route to get the oil to it's destination, he said.

"What this really has demonstrated is that the Keystone pipeline is a key cog in getting the needed energy, that we need on a day-to-day basis to function in our lives, to people in North America," Cooper said.

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