Oil spill in rural Kansas creek closes Keystone pipeline

Oil spill in rural Kansas creek closes Keystone pipeline

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An oil spill in a creek in northeast Kansas shut down a major pipeline that carries oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast, briefly sending oil prices up on Thursday.

Canada’s TC Energy said it shut down its Keystone system on Wednesday night following a drop in pipeline pressure. He said oil spilled into a creek in Washington County, Kansas, about 150 miles northwest of Kansas City.

The company estimated the size of the spill at around 14,000 barrels on Thursday and said the affected pipeline segment had been “isolated” and the oil was contained at the site with dams or barriers. He did not say how the spill happened.

“People sometimes aren’t aware of the devastation these things can cause until disaster strikes,” said Zack Pistora, who lobbies the Kansas Legislature for the Sierra Club state chapter. .

Fears that spills could pollute waterways have sparked opposition to TC Energy’s plans to build another crude oil pipeline in the Keystone system, the 1,200-mile (1,900 kilometer) Keystone XL, which would have crossed the Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. Critics have also argued that using crude from the tar sands in western Canada would make climate change worse, and President Joe Biden’s cancellation of a US permit for the project led the company to unplug last year.

In 2019, the Keystone pipeline leaked around 383,000 gallons (1.4 million liters) of oil in eastern North Dakota.

Janet Kleeb, who founded environmental and landowner advocacy group Bold Nebraska which campaigned against the Keystone XL, said there have been at least 22 spills along the original Keystone pipeline since its commissioning in 2010. She said federal studies have shown the type of heavy tar sands oil transported by the pipeline can be particularly difficult to clean up in water because it tends to sink.

“All oil spills are tough, but the oil sands in particular are very toxic and very tough, so I’m terribly worried,” said Kleeb, who is also chairman of the Nebraska Democratic Party.

But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said there were no known effects yet on drinking water wells or the public, and the oil was not moving from the creek to any major waterways. Randy Hubbard, the Washington County emergency management coordinator, said no evacuations were ordered because the breach occurred in rural pastures.

TC Energy said it has environmental monitoring in place at the site, including 24-hour air quality monitoring.

“Our primary focus at this time is the health and safety of staff and on-site personnel, the surrounding community, and the mitigation of environmental risk,” a company statement read.

Oil prices briefly jumped midday Thursday amid news of the oil spill, with the cost per barrel of oil for short-term contracts rising nearly 5%, and higher than the cost for longer-term oil contracts. This usually suggests anxiety in the market over immediate supply.

A spokesperson for the US Energy Information Administration said the Keystone Pipeline transports about 600,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada to Cushing, Oklahoma, where it can connect to another pipeline to the Gulf Coast. This compares to the total of 3.5 to 4 million barrels of Canadian oil imported into the United States every day.

Previous Keystone spills have resulted in outages that lasted about two weeks, but this outage could be longer because it involves a body of water, RBC Capital Markets analysts said in a note to investors. Depending on the location of the spill, it’s possible part of the pipeline could restart sooner, they said.

“It’s something to watch,” said Patrick De Haan, head of oil analysis at GasBuddy, which tracks gasoline prices. “It could potentially impact oil supply to refiners, which could be serious if it goes on for more than a few days.”

The spill happened 8 miles northeast of Washington, the county seat of about 1,100 residents. Local farmer Paul Stewart said some of it was contained on his land using yellow dams and an earth dam. The spill happened at Mill Creek, which empties into the Little Blue River.

The Little Blue feeds the Big Blue River, which empties into Lake Tuttle Creek north of Manhattan, home of Kansas State University. The EPA said the oil did not affect the Little Blue.

Dan Thalmann, publisher and editor of The Washington County News, a weekly publication, said crews were creating a rocky path to the creek because recent rains made the fields too soft to move with heavy machinery.

“My God, the traffic in front of my house is unbelievable – truck after truck after truck,” said Stewart, who dismantled an electric fence he had finished putting up on Wednesday, fearing it might be knocked over and dragged into a field.

Chris Pannbacker said the pipeline runs through his family’s farm. She and her husband drove north from their farm and crossed a bridge over Mill Creek.

“We looked at it from both sides, and it was black on both sides,” said Pannbacker, a reporter for the Marysville Advocate newspaper.

Junior Roop, the sexton of a cemetery near the site of the spill, said people could smell the oil in town.

“It was like walking past a refinery,” he said.


Hollingsworth reported from Mission, Kansas, and Funk reported from Omaha, Nebraska. AP Business Writer Cathy Bussewitz contributed reporting from New York.


Follow John Hanna on Twitter at https://twitter.com/apjdhanna

#Oil #spill #rural #Kansas #creek #closes #Keystone #pipeline

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *