TransCanada Corporation is digging up and replacing sections of its Keystone Pipeline after a report of an oil leak in South Dakota and in order to meet government infrastructure guidelines, according to a statement made by a PHMSA representative at a meeting in Stanton, Nebraska on Tuesday.
The oil leak was first discovered on April 2 by a landowner near Freeman, South Dakota. TransCanada hired a third-party investigator to assess the problem, during which they found a small hole in a weld that leaked about two drops per minute. It is unknown how long the leak went undetected, but the final estimate for the amount of escaped oil came to be 40 barrels. PHMSA ordered TransCanada to verify the integrity of the pipeline and address any areas of concern.
TransCanada will also replace portions of the line that do not meet current government strength guidelines, an issue that arose after the pipeline was already installed. By fixing these sections, the company will be able to run the pipeline at higher pressure.
In addition to the pipeline work in Nebraska, sections are being replaced in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and South Dakota. The construction started in May and is estimated to continue through the middle of 2017.
"This maintenance work is simply being done to comply with PHMSA's guidelines and so we can safely increase the operating pressure on the pipeline," TransCanada spokesman Mark Cooper said on Wednesday in an email. "The Keystone Pipeline continues to operate safely and there is no public safety issue or integrity concern with the pipeline."