Part of Keystone, Platte oil pipelines shut in U.S. after leak

(Reuters) – Portions of TransCanada Corp’s Keystone oil pipeline and Enbridge’s Platte pipeline remained shut on Thursday for investigation of a leak in the St. Louis, Missouri, area, officials said.

FILE PHOTO: A TransCanada Keystone Pipeline pump station operates outside Steele City, Nebraska March 10, 2014. REUTERS/Lane Hickenbottom/File Photo

TransCanada shut the Keystone pipeline down on Wednesday between Steele City, Nebraska and Patoka, Illinois and dispatched crews to assess the situation, company spokesman Terry Cunha said.

The 590,000 barrel-per-day Keystone pipeline is a critical artery taking Canadian crude from northern Alberta to U.S. refineries. Canadian pipelines are already congested, due to expanding production in recent years, forcing the Alberta provincial government to order production cuts starting last month.

Part of the Platte crude pipeline, operated by an Enbridge Inc affiliate, was also shut, while other sections were open as of Thursday afternoon, spokesman Devin Hotzel said.

The pipeline transports up to 164,000 bpd of crude oil from Casper, Wyoming, to Guernsey, Wyoming, and 145,000 bpd from Guernsey to Wood River, Illinois.

Canadian heavy oil has attracted greater demand in recent days due to U.S. sanctions against Venezuela’s state oil company.

The discount on Canadian heavy crude compared to U.S. light oil widened to $10.25 per barrel on Thursday afternoon from $9.40 earlier, according to Net Energy Exchange.

TransCanada shares eased 0.4 percent to C$55.88 in Toronto while Enbridge shares slipped 0.4 percent to C$49.22.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration could not be immediately reached.

A Missouri Department of Natural Resources official said the source of the leak had not yet been identified and the quantity of oil from the release is still unknown.

“The release was contained to an area of approximately 4,000 square feet.. excavation of the containment area will begin soon or is already in progress,” the official said in an email, adding that there are no reports of other pipelines affected or closed.

Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Devika Krishna Kumar in New York; Editing by Alistair Bell and Lisa Shumaker

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