Keystone Leak: TC Energy Requests Pipeline Reinstatement

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Leak from Keystone: TC Énergie requests the restoration of the pipeline

Cleanup continues in the area where the Keystone pipeline leaked into a creek in Washington County, Kansas.

TC Energy has submitted a plan to the US regulator to restore its entire Keystone pipeline to full operation nearly two weeks after a massive spill in Kansas, according to a source familiar with the matter.

About 14,000 barrels of diluted bitumen leaked from the pipeline on December 7, a few miles from the Nebraska-Kansas border.

The company was able to resume operation of part of the pipeline last week, between Alberta and refineries in Illinois. The section that carries oil between Nebraska and the Cushing, Oklahoma hub, however, remained closed.

TC Energy must first obtain approval from the Director of the x27; US regulatory agency Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

A section of the Keystone pipeline is closed in the United States.

In an email response, TC Energy did not confirm that it had submitted a recovery plan. She only reiterated that the pipeline will only be restarted when it is safe and when regulatory approval from PHMSA has been obtained.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has referred any questions about the operation of the pipeline to the company and PHMSA. The EPA will continue to coordinate and monitor the cleanup of the incident regardless of the operational status of the pipeline, it said in an email.

According to Richard Kuprewicz, president of pipeline consulting firm Accufacts Inc., said the cause of the leak does not need to be determined to allow the pipeline to return to service. TC Energy only needs to prove that the problem is not systemic and not expected to cause further leaks, he told Reuters news agency.

PHMSA, however, requires a long list of corrective actions, including a full and independent analysis of the causes of the spill within 90 days of the leak.

It also orders that any return to service is done with a gradual increase in the volume transported and constant monitoring. A 20% pressure reduction will also be imposed.

According to the latest EPA update, 657 people are working at the incident site. The company says it has recovered about half of the spilled bitumen, but the cold weather may slow cleanup efforts.

This spill is the worst in TC Energy's history. However, the Keystone pipeline was the scene of 22 accidents between 2010 and 2020.

With information from Reuters

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