Keystone to be back on stream Tuesday


AMHERST, SD, November 28, 2017 – The Keystone pipeline will resume operations on Tuesday after a November 16 incident near Amherst, South Dakota, in which about 5,000 barrels of crude spilled, operator TransCanada announced on Monday.

“[The] Keystone pipeline repair and restart plans have been reviewed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration with no objections, permitting a safe and controlled return to service of the Keystone system,” the company statement said. “As part of the reviewed plans, TransCanada will operate the pipeline at a reduced pressure starting on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, to ensure a safe and gradual increase in the volume of crude oil moving through the system.”


On Sunday, TransCanada said it had recovered around 1,000 barrels of crude from the site of the leak.

While TransCanada last week received a key approval by the Nebraska Public Service Commission for the route of the Keystone XL extension of the 590,000-bopd pipeline, the future of the project remains uncertain. Following the Amherst spill, members of South Dakota’s Public Utilities Commission have also threatened in interviews with Reuters to cancel the company’s permit if an ongoing investigation shows that TransCanada has not built and run the pipeline according to the standards stipulated in its licence.

Risk assessments provided by the company said that the probability of a spill larger than 50 barrels was “not more than once every seven to 11 years over the entire length of the pipeline in the United States,” Reuters reported. Keystone has already had three leaks of at least 400 barrels over its seven years of operations, including the November 16 incident. The chance of a spill of more than 1,000 barrels had been estimated to occur once a century.

“They testified that this is going to be a state-of-the-art pipeline,” South Dakota Public Utilities Commissioner Gary Hanson told Reuters. “We want to know the pipeline is going to operate in a fashion that is safe and reliable. So far it’s not going well.”