Major Oil Leak Forces Pipeline Shutdown, Hikes Per-Barrel Price

Dec 13, 2022

Keystone Pipeline Map

A broken pipe dumped 14,000 barrels of oil in a creek in northern Kansas. It forced the Keystone Pipeline to shut down. It also made oil prices go up. The spill is the largest in the pipeline's history. It's the biggest in the US in 12 years, according to federal data. 

The pipeline is 2,687 miles long.

As of mid-day Monday, prices had gone up $2 per barrel. This is partly due to worries over supply problems caused by the spill.

About 588,000 gallons spilled into a creek in Kansas. That's almost enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The US Environmental Protection Agency and TC Energy said crews stopped the flow with a temporary dam. TC Energy is the pipe’s Canada-based operator. Officials said the spill didn't reach other waterways. No wildlife deaths have been reported.

Environmentalists, however, say the government should think about whether TC Energy should still be allowed to maintain higher pressure within parts of the pipeline. That includes the part in Kansas. Current pressure levels in some sections are higher than standard. For some, the spill confirms their objections to the proposed idea to make the connecting Keystone XL Pipeline. The Biden administration stopped that project in January 2021. 

TC Energy said it is working 24/7 to clean up the spill. The spill consists of tar sands oil. That might make the cleanup harder. Tar sands oil sinks in water rather than floats. 

"This is going to be months, maybe even years before we get the full handle on this disaster … and get it all cleaned up,” a Kansas lobbyist told The Associated Press.

Based on information in both the article and the infographic, where did the pipe break along the Keystone Pipeline? (Common Core RI.5.7; RI.6.7)
a. Hardisty, Canada
b. Washington County, Kansas
c. Houston, Texas
d. Baker, Montana
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