A federal report published last year revealed that the crude oil conduit had 22 accidents between 2010 and 2020, with the severity of spills having “worsened” in recent years, while investigators in Kansas seek to determine what caused the worst leak in the pipeline’s 12-year history.
Based on the findings of the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s investigation, it has been determined that a total of 11,975 barrels of crude oil, or slightly more than 500,000 gallons, were lost in the previous incidents. One and a half Olympic-sized swimming pools’ worth of oil have leaked from the pipeline over the past decade between the two incidents in Kansas last week and a decade ago.
Keystone Pipeline operator TC Energy says that last week, a leak sent 588,000 gallons of crude spilling down a slope and into a creek in Washington County, Kansas, close to the Nebraska border.
According to the government’s accountability report, the Kansas spill is not only the largest of all the pipeline’s previous leaks, but it’s also more than twice as large as the second largest accidental spill, which occurred in November 2017 near Amherst, South Dakota.
Leaks On The Keystone Pipeline Have Worsened, According To The Report’s Findings
In Sargent County, North Dakota, a leak caused 16,800 gallons of water to escape in April 2011. In 2016, around 16,800 gallons leaked after an accident close to Freeman, South Dakota. It was roughly 19 months later that the Amherst incident occurred, spilling 276,864 gallons of fuel onto public and wildlife preserve land.
After three years, a rupture in the pipeline near Edinburg, North Dakota, caused 189,630 gallons of crude to spill into the environment.
The government report notes that while Keystone’s accident history is comparable to other crude oil pipelines since 2010, the severity of spills has worsened in recent years.
The report concluded that problems with the pipeline’s original design, manufacturing, or construction were to blame for four of the five largest oil spills along the Keystone Pipeline.
On Tuesday, TC Energy issued a statement in response to the report to ABC News, saying, “We treat every incident with the utmost seriousness. We will never tolerate any kind of incident.”
“Our top priority is the secure and eco-friendly operation of our system. Pipeline monitoring systems, preventative maintenance, pipeline integrity management, and emergency preparedness are just some of the areas where we invest regularly “reported the firm.
From its origin in Alberta, Canada, the Keystone Pipeline travels 2,687 miles to its destination at a series of refineries in Texas, Illinois, and Oklahoma. Keystone Pipeline has carried over 3.3 billion barrels of crude oil since it opened in 2010, according to TC Energy’s website.
Approximately 20 miles south of the terminal in Steele City, Nebraska, a leak in Kansas was discovered at around 9 p.m. on December 7. Due to the leak in the above-ground pipeline, TC Energy had to turn off the supply.
A total of about 300 people worked to “contain” the spill near Mill Creek in Washington County, Kansas, according to a statement released by TC Energy on Monday.
The timeline for the completion of the pipeline repairs is unknown, and TC Energy officials have stated that no date has been set for resuming the pipeline’s capacity to transport crude oil.
The company stated that hundreds of people, including third-party environmental specialists, responded to clean up the mess using numerous vacuum trucks, booms, and other resources. The company reported Monday night that it had removed more than 109,000 gallons of oil from Mill Creek, and that ongoing air quality monitoring had found “no indication of adverse health or public concerns.”
On Friday, Company Officials Promised A Thorough Inquiry Into The Leak’s Origins
On Thursday, the spill triggered a brief increase in the price of crude oil. On Friday morning, benchmark U.S. oil rose by a more modest amount, around 1%, as worries about a supply disruption were overshadowed by larger worries about an economic downturn in the U.S. and other major countries, which would reduce demand for oil.
Farmland owned by Chris and Bill Pannbacker is directly in the path of a pipeline. Farmer and stockman Bill Pannbacker was told by the company that the pipeline problems in the area will likely not be fixed until after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Pannbacker said the hill where the breach occurred was well-known to locals and had long been a favourite spot for hayrides.
The oil spill in Kansas is the largest in the United States in over ten years, but it is still not the largest in the country. While the Exxon Valdez supertanker accident in 1989 dumped 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska, the 2010 Deep Horizon incident released 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over the span of 87 days before it was capped.
Twenty-two leaks occurred in the Keystone Pipeline between 2010 and 2020, but twelve of them only spilled less than two barrels of oil each. Six of the accidents met the federal government’s criteria for “impacting people and environment,” while four others released more than 50 barrels each.