Monday, June 6, 2011

Regulators allow Keystone oil pipeline to restart after repairs completed

WASHINGTON - U.S. regulators have allowed TransCanada to restart its Keystone oil pipeline after the company completed repairs and safety tests.

In a letter to TransCanada, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) said, "Based on a review of the information submitted, the restart plan is approved."

PHMSA's approval to restart the pipeline marks a reversal of its decision on June 3 after it had issued a corrective action order or COA to TransCanada that barred the company from restarting the pipeline, citing two leaks in the pipeline in the month of May.

Oil from the 1,300-mile pipeline that extends from Canada to Cushing, Okla., and Patoka and Wood River, Ill., began flowing on June 5 under a revised order from the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The agency approved the revision on June 4.

The pipeline has been closed since May 29, when workers reported a 10-barrel leak in Kansas. That followed a leak of 400 barrels of oil in North Dakota on May 7.

Russ Girling, president and chief executive officer of TransCanada said, "TransCanada takes all incidents very seriously. Almost all of the oil releases over the last 11 months on Keystone have been minor - averaging just five to 10 gallons of oil. The vast majority of that oil was confined to our property and in all cases was cleaned up quickly. None of the incidents involved the pipe in the ground - the integrity of Keystone is sound."

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