Keystone Has Leaked More Oil Than Any Other US Pipeline Since 2010

Sections of pipelines stacked
Sections of pipelines stacked by an electricity transmission tower. (Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg News)

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The early December oil spill in Kansas means that TC Energy Corp.’s Keystone pipeline has now leaked more crude oil than any other conduit on U.S. land in the past 12 years.

The major line running from Canada into the U.S. Midwest was shut after a spill of 14,000 barrels a day, with some of that crude released into a local waterway. The spill, in combination with several others in recent years, will mean that Keystone has leaked almost 26,000 barrels of crude on U.S. land since 2010. That’s the most of any other pipeline during that period, according to preliminary spill data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Other notable pipeline spills include Tesoro’s High Plains conduit that ruptured in 2013 and Enbridge Inc.’s Line 6B, which caused a massive oil leak in the Kalamazoo River in 2010, the data show. (The 2010 BP oil spill that spewed millions of barrels of crude took place after an offshore drill rig sank in the Gulf of Mexico.)

“Over the last several years, we have taken decisive action to implement measures to strengthen our approach to safety and the integrity of our system and will conduct a full investigation into the root cause of this incident, in cooperation with regulators,” the company said in a statement.

Chart of pipeline's spilled oil

So far, TC Energy hasn’t submitted a plan to restart the 600,000 barrel-a-day pipeline, PHMSA said in a statement. The company is excavating the area of the spill to inspect damage to the line, according to Randy Hubbard, the county’s emergency management coordinator. 

While Keystone is the largest spiller of crude oil since 2010, the refined fuel pipeline Colonial Pipeline’s Line 1 has spilled more liquid hydrocarbons than Keystone.

With assistance from Devika Krishna Kumar and Ari Natter.

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