TC Energy has declared force majeure on its Keystone Pipeline System which was shut in on Wednesday 7 December after alarms and a detected pressure drop in the system; the pipeline had spilled 14,000 barrels of oil into a Kansas creek in the United States.

A TC representative told Upstream that the force majeure notice informed customers that the pipeline system might not be able to fully perform its transportation service for December. The Keystone pipeline delivers about 600,000 barrels per day of Canadian crude oil to the United States.

"Over the last several years, we have taken decisive action to implement measures to strengthen our approach to safety and the integrity of our system and will conduct a full investigation into the root cause of this incident, in cooperation with regulators," TC said.

The Keystone pipeline operator on Sunday said it has entered Unified Command with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and continue to work in collaboration with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Association and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

A dedicated workforce of more than 250 personnel, including third-party environmental specialists, are working to clean up the spill and to get the pipeline back up and running.

"The product [leaked crude] remains contained and multiple vacuum trucks, booms and additional resources are on site as we continue the recovery process," TC said on Sunday.

"Repair planning is also under way, as are shoreline assessments.

"Continuous air quality monitoring has been deployed and, at this time, there is no indication of adverse health or public concerns."

However, rain is forecast on Monday and crews are preparing for this.

TC added it is continuing to work closely with landowners, the community and local, state and federal regulators. The Keystone pipeline operator is also in discussion with the Tribal Nations, and said it would welcome a Tribal representative on site to monitor progress of its remediation efforts and repair work.

"As always, the health and safety of our on site staff and personnel, our community neighbours and mitigating risk to the environment remains our primary focus. We are working with local and state environmental agencies to develop incident-specific wildlife management plans, including specialists to care for impacted wildlife.

"We appreciate the patience and collaboration of the surrounding community and partner agencies for their support in responding to this incident. We recognise this is concerning to the community and commit that we will continue our response until we have fully remediated the site."

The EPA, in a Friday update, said containment efforts by around 100 TC Energy workers ensured the oil discharge did not impact the Little Blue River or local drinking wells, and had limited the potential impact to nearby farmlands.

Offline for the foreseeable future

TC claimed the pipeline was operating within its design and regulatory approval requirements at the time of the latest incident.

The company was unable to give Upstream any specific timeline for when the pipeline would be back in operation.

"As we learn more information, we will continue to work with our customers to share details, including a timeline for resumption to minimise impact to December services," TC said.

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