Keystone Oil Pipeline Leaks 383,000 Gallons in North Dakota, Says Company

October 31, 2019 Updated: October 31, 2019

The Keystone oil pipeline has leaked 383,000 gallons of oil in North Dakota, said state regulators on Thursday.

The pipeline operated by TC Energy that carries tar sands oil from Canada through seven U.S. states was shut down after the leak was discovered, said North Dakota’s water quality division director, according to a report from The Associated Press.

TC Energy, in a news release, said the leak affects about 22,500 square feet, or around half an acre, of land in northeastern North Dakota, according to a statement from the Canadian firm.

The firm downplayed the leak, saying it is “less than half the size of a football field” while the amount of oil was “approximately half the size of an Olympic-sized swimming pool.”

“Our crews will remain focused on oil recovery and then prepare to make repairs to the pipeline. We will provide updates as they become available,” it said, adding that “we will not have the exact figure until oil recovery has been completed.”

Trees dominate a field through which the Keystone XL pipeline is planned to run, near Bradshaw, Neb., on Jan. 16, 2015. The company behind the controversial Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S Gulf Coast has asked the U.S. State Department to pause its review of the project. TransCanada said Nov. 2, 2015, a suspension would be appropriate while it works with Nebraska authorities for approval of its preferred route through the state. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Trees dominate a field through which the Keystone XL pipeline is planned to run, near Bradshaw, Neb., on Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

What’s more, there have been no reported injuries or impacted wildlife following the spill. The cause of the spill has not yet been determined, said the firm.

Karl Rockeman, North Dakota’s water quality director, said officials were told about the spill on Tuesday evening, which was the same day as the leak, reported The Associated Press. He said wetlands were affected, but not any drinking water sources.

State regulators have been at the site since Wednesday afternoon to monitor the site and cleanup, he told the news agency.

Crude oil started flowing through the Keystone pipeline starting in 2011, and it can now handle 23 million gallons per day.

The spill comes as TC Energy seeks to build the Keystone XL pipeline that would carry oil from Alberta, Canada, to Texas refineries.

In November 2017, the Keystone pipeline leaked about 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota.

Miles of pipe ready to become part of the Keystone Pipeline are stacked in a field near Ripley, Okla., on Feb. 1, 2012. A bill to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline cleared a key Senate committee Thursday, setting up a fight next week pitting newly empowered Republicans against President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee moved the bill closer to the floor by a 13-9 vote. Sen Joe Manchin of West Virginia, one of six Democrats sponsoring the bill, was the only Democrat to support it in committee. The House will vote on its version of the bill Friday, and is expected to pass it easily. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Miles of pipe ready to become part of the Keystone Pipeline are stacked in a field near Ripley, Oklahoma on Feb. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

“It’s a valid ques­tion, two cracks on a fair­ly new pipe­line, geez what’s going on?” asked Rich­ard Kuprewicz, pres­i­dent of Accufacts, which is a pipe­line safe­ty con­sult­ing firm. He added that  “age is not a pre­dic­tor of pipe­line fail­ure. I have seen new pipe­lines that have re­al­ly been abused and I have seen old pipe­lines that look like new,” reported the Star-Tribune.

The Keystone pipeline designed to transport crude oil across Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and into North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri before going to Illinois and Oklahoma refineries.

The Sierra Club said that the latest spill is an example of why the Keystone XL should not be constructed. “We don’t yet know the extent of the damage from this latest tar sands spill, but what we do know is that this is not the first time this pipeline has spilled toxic tar sands, and it won’t be the last,” it said.