After a 14,000-barrel spill, TC Energy’s plan for a partial restart of the Keystone oil pipeline on December 10th has been delayed due to weather. With the rupture’s proximity to a waterway, excavation of the pipeline would be made more difficult in the heavy rain. With this development, the timeline of a restart is still very much in flux, though the company is still aiming for a full restart by December 20th.
The spill is poised to be the largest in the pipeline’s history and one of the worst since the infamous 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill that plagued the gulf coast. According to data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the latest rupture makes for a total of nearly 26,000 barrels of leaked crude since its construction 12 years ago; the most of any U.S. pipeline during that timeframe.
TC Energy will not be permitted to resume operations on the ruptured segment until federal regulators approve its restart plan. According to PHMSA, as of December 12th, the company had yet to submit their plan. Even if the line resumes service as planned by December 20th, this would be one of the longest outages in the pipeline’s history.
So far, the shutdown has limited supplies of Canadian crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast, as the market anxiously awaits details on the duration of the shutdown, and oil prices begin to fluctuate.
The Environmental Protection Agency offers a silver lining in that no drinking water wells were contaminated by the spill.
So far, fewer than 2,600 barrels of oil have been recovered, including 2,163 barrels of oil/water mixture from Mill Creek and 435 of crude directly from the pipeline, according to an EPA statement. At this time, there is no timeline for cleanup to be completed.