Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Enbridge Pipe Spilling Oil in Saskatchewan-- Underground

Enbridge pipeline shut down after leak

Globe and Mail Update

One of the biggest Canadian oil pipelines to the United States has been shut down after a leak was discovered Sunday night, according to operator Enbridge Inc.

Line 3 connects Hardisty, Alta., with Wisconsin, carrying 450,000 barrels of oil a day to refiners in the U.S. Midwest — more than 20 per cent of Enbridge's capacity on its mainline, which is comprised of several links.

Jennifer Varey, an Enbridge spokeswoman, said Line 3 is still partly open, adding that Enbridge is meeting its obligations to customers, though she couldn't say how long that would be the case.

Ms. Varey said the company also doesn't know when the leak will be plugged. She said the company doesn't know how much oil spilled from the pipeline, which is buried.

The leak occurred near Glenavon, Sask.,, which is about 115 kilometres southeast of Regina. The line is still open from Cromer in western Manitoba to Wisconsin. The leak was discovered at about 6:30 p.m. MT on Sunday, when an Enbridge control centre in Edmonton noticed a drop in pressure on the pipeline and shut it down about 6 minutes after the leak occurred.

Emergency crews found the leak at about 8:50 p.m., Ms. Varey said.

Pipeline leaks or ruptures are fairly rare in Canada, particularly on Enbridge's mainline, of which Line 3 is a part. The whole system can move two million barrels a day.

A recent report from the National Energy Board showed there were four spills, leaks or ruptures on pipelines it regulated from 2002 to 2005, spilling a total of about 1,7000 barrels of oil.

Enbridge itself had a significant rupture in 2001, where more than 20,000 barrels spilled near Hardisty in early January. By May, almost all the oil had been recovered, according to a Transportation Safety Board report.

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