TC Energy Corp has submitted its plan to restart the Keystone pipeline to U.S. regulators, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, two weeks after the line ruptured in the worst oil spill in the United States in nine years.
The 622,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) pipeline was shut after it spilled 14,000 barrels of oil in rural Kansas on Dec. 7, the third major spill from the line in the last five years.
Even though the cleanup will take weeks or months, the line can still restart once it is repaired and the plan approved by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).
TC has not publicly identified the cause of the spill. TC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could not be immediately reached for comment.
The line leaked diluent bitumen, a heavy oil that tends to sink in water, making it harder to collect than oils that float. More than 400 people are involved in the cleanup, including TC workers, pipeline regulators, state and local officials and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
TC is required to complete an analysis of the root causes of the line’s failure by early March, or 90 days after PHMSA issued a corrective action order.
The response team has so far recovered 7,233 barrels of oil from Mill Creek.
The portion of the line that is shut covers 96 miles (155 km) in Kansas, south of a key junction located at Steele City, Nebraska. The line splits at that locale, with one leg heading to Midwest refineries. That leg was reopened last week.
Completion of the cleanup depends on weather and other factors.
(Reporting by Kavya Guduru in Bengaluru and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Lisa Shumaker)