Tuesday, May 10, 2011

TransCanada shuts down Keystone Pipeline after spill in North Dakota

CALGARY, Alta. - TransCanada Corp. said on May 9 that the 591,000 barrel per day Keystone oil pipeline was shut down early on May 7 after about 500 barrels of oil spilled within its Ludden pump station, approximately 40 miles southwest of Milnor, N.D.

Terry Cunha, a spokesman for the company, said the spill was contained within the station, though some oil mist drifted onto a neighboring property, and crews are now cleaning up the oil.

Vern Meier, the vice president of American operations for the TransCanada-Keystone Pipeline, said a 3/4 inch fitting that failed was to blame for a leak at its pumping stations in Sargent county in southeastern North Dakota.

Meier told KFGO news in North Dakota that about 280 barrels of oil has been recovered from the surface so far and that could top 400 barrels by the time cleanup is completed by the end of the week.

Some soil contaminated by the spill is being removed. A berm around the pumping station contained nearly all the oil.

The line was shut down within 30 minutes of the discovery of the leak. Eyewitnesses reported oil gushing 60 feet in the air.

Meier said some oil mist from that geyser ended up off-site in standing water in a nearby field. That was cleaned up immediately.

TransCanada says operations will not resume until the company inspects all similar fittings along the pipeline route.

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