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Keystone oil pipeline returns to service following approval of repair plan

TC Energy Corporation has announced that the Keystone pipeline in North Dakota has returned to service, following the approval of its repair and restart plan by the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

As part of the restart plan, TC Energy will operate the pipeline at a reduced pressure with a gradual increase in the volume of crude oil being transported through the system.

The company will continue to communicate plans to and work closely with customers as it returns to normal operating conditions.

A statement from TC Energy read: “We appreciate the cooperation and support from local officials, emergency response personnel and commissioners in Walsh County, as well as the landowner who has granted permission to access land for assessment, repair and clean-up activities. We also want to recognise the continued efforts of our crews, contractors and businesses in the community for their around-the-clock support, which has allowed us to respond quickly and safely to this event.”

On 30 October, a drop in pressure was detected by TC Energy’s operations control centre, following which the company immediately began the process to shut down the pipeline, activating its emergency response procedures and dispatching ground technicians to respond to the incident.

An initial estimate from the company suggested that 9,120 barrels of oil had been released to the environment, approximately half the size of an Olympic swimming pool. By 4 November, 6,800 barrels of oil had been recovered.

TC Energy added that it will continue to work closely with the PHMSA and the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality as it investigates the cause of the incident and analyses the impacted segment of removed pipeline.