Keystone oil pipeline leaks 383,000 gallons in North Dakota

An image of the oil spill near the city of Edinburg N.D

An image of the oil spill near the city of Edinburg N.D

Oil flowing through the Keystone pipeline has spilled into a wetland in northwestern North Dakota, according to the state's Department of Environmental Quality.

Current incident estimates published by the company say that 9,120 United States barrels (383,040 gallons) or "approximately half the size of an Olympic-sized swimming pool" of crude oil were released into an impacted area of 2,500 square yards - which is "less than half the size of a football field". Glatt said pipeline owner TC Energy shut down the pipeline after the leak was detected.

According to TC Energy, the response crew's containment efforts prevented the spill from spreading, and cleanup workers with "vac trucks" have begun recovering oil.

"This is not the first spill from Keystone 1; the pipeline had a dozen spills in its first year of operation alone", the environmental organization noted. Keystone was invovled in a February 2019 spill in Missouri that shut a segment of the line. It has experienced problems with spills in the past, including one in 2011 of more than 14,000 gallons of oil in southeastern North Dakota, near the South Dakota border.

Gulf Coast refiners could seek medium-grades of sour crude to replace the heavy Canadian barrels, Kevin Birn, IHS Markit's director of North American crude oil markets, said by telephone.

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Heavy Western Canadian Select crude's discount to West Texas Intermediate futures widened $19 a barrel Thursday, the widest since December, data compiled by Bloomberg show. From those hubs, oil is transferred to other lines including TC Energy's Marketlink pipeline which runs to the U.S. Gulf Coast, home to about half the nation's refining capacity. After the Keystone spill in South Dakota in 2017, prices widened from about $11 a barrel to more than $25 a barrel.

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Marketlink is connected to the 590,000-bpd Keystone oil pipeline system, a key transporter of Canadian crude from northern Alberta to refineries in the U.S. Midwest. It is part of a system that also is to include the proposed $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline created to transport the oil from western Canada to terminals on the Gulf Coast.

-With assistance from Michael Bellusci and Sharon Cho.

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