The cause and source of a Missouri pipeline leak that forced the closure of a section of the Keystone pipeline last Wednesday remains unknown.  The TransCanada pipeline remains closed in the area of the leak and there is no estimated restart time.  St. Louis Dispatch photo by David Carson.

Missouri pipeline leak in St. Louis area

A section of TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline remains closed on Monday almost one week after a leak was detected in St. Louis, Missouri.

Last Wednesday, the leak was discovered, prompting officials to close down two pipelines, TransCanada’s Keystone and Enbridge Inc’s Platte.  According to Enbridge, its pipeline was restarted on Friday evening after it was determined the TransCanada pipeline was the source of the Missouri pipeline leak.

TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha told Reuters in an email that the cause and source of the leak have not yet been determined and the company has no estimated timeline for restarting the section.

Crews are working on the clean-up.  TransCanada says the spill is controlled and there is no threat to public safety.

As a result of the shutdown, TransCanada told Keystone shippers in a notice seen by Reuters, that it is declaring a force majeure on shipments impacted by the shutdown.  Force majeure is a declaration that unforeseeable circumstances have prevented a party from fulfilling a contract.

The Keystone pipeline carries 590,000 barrels per day (b/d) of Canadian heavy crude from northern Alberta to US Midwest refineries.

Pipelines out of the Alberta oil sands have been running at full capacity recently on rising production.  Demand for Alberta heavy crude has grown as refiners are scrambling to replace supplies of Venezuelan crude cut off following the imposition of US sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry.

According to Net Energy Exchange, the discount on Canadian heavy crude compared to US light oil climbed to about $11.50/barrel, slightly wider than Friday’s level of approximately $11/barrel.