TransCanada says Keystone XL likely source of Missouri oil leak

Keystone Oil Pipeline Partly Shut To Investigate Possible Leak

Keystone Oil Pipeline Partly Shut To Investigate Possible Leak

An oil leak near St. Louis prompted the closure of parts of two pipelines as crews work to determine the source, company officials and Missouri regulators said Thursday. Enbridge's Platte pipeline was initially closed from Casper, Wyoming, to Wood River, Illinois.

The shutdown of part of Keystone comes at a time in which Canadian heavy crude is becoming increasingly in demand as refiners look to replace the heavy crude grades from Venezuela after the USA slapped sweeping sanctions on the Latin American country's oil industry and its state oil firm PDVSA.

The leak was discovered Wednesday near St. Charles, Mo., about 48 kilometres northwest of St. Louis.

Missouri Department of Natural Resources spokesman Brian Quinn said in an email that if Keystone is confirmed to be the source, "it will remain closed until the cause is determined and necessary repairs or corrections can be made and verified".

The exact quantity of oil released can not be determined until excavation is complete and it's unclear how long the release lasted, Quinn said.

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Two pipelines operating near the release site will be excavated on Friday to determine the source of the leak, said Darius Kirkwood, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone pipeline and Enbridge Inc.'s Platte pipeline are among several that run through the area.

Yet, the pipeline routes for Canadian oil to the US are full to capacity and rising production in Canada past year led to further takeaway capacity constraints that forced Alberta to mandate an oil production cut of 325,000 bpd for three months starting January 2019. Canadian heavy oil has attracted greater demand following US sanctions against Venezuela's state oil company.

The discount on Canadian heavy crude compared with USA light oil grew to as much as US$11.50 per barrel on Friday from the previous day's settlement of US$10.25, according to Net Energy Exchange, indicating concerns about oil reaching buyers.

Shares of TransCanada and Enbridge both dropped about one per cent.

Marathon declined to comment and BP did not respond to a request for comment.

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