‘Small anomaly’ shuts down Keystone pipeline
After finding a “small anomaly,” TransCanada Corp. said Thursday that it has shut down its Keystone pipeline, which has become a symbol for environmentalists who oppose its expansion in the United States and a bone of contention between Republicans and Democrats in this presidential election year.
The company said the segment of the pipeline – which runs from Alberta, Canada, to Illinois, and on to Oklahoma – is expected to be shut for three days as a precaution. No leaks have been detected in the system, TransCanada spokesman Grady Semmens said in an email.
“We found a small anomaly on the outside of the pipe after analyzing the data from an in-line inspection tool. As a precaution, we’ve shut down the line so we can go in and take a closer look. We expect the system to be down for three days before it is restarted,” he said.
The shutdown is not expected to have any long-term effect on the line that carries an estimated 590,000 barrels a day. “Once restart happens we expect normal operations and flows for the remainder of October. We may have to make up some volumes in November but we are still evaluating this,” he stated.
Oil prices rose at the market opening amid reports of the pipeline’s closure, but prices fell later in the day.
The first phase of the pipeline became operational in 2010. There have been more than a dozen minor problems on the line, a situation that, the company has said, is typical for any startup.
But an expanded pipeline system, known as Keystone XL, is designed to bring the oil from Canada to Texas and has run into opposition. Environmentalists said Thursday that the latest shutdown was part of a pattern that proved the expansion shouldn’t be allowed.