Enbridge Pipeline Spills Crude Oil in MN

An estimated 600 gallons of crude oil has leaked on a 57-year-old Enbridge pipeline the company was ordered to cut pressure on back in October, due to concerns over cracks. The spill occured at a pump station near Viking, Minnesota. Line 2 was built in 1956 and has a history of spills,including one in Minnesota in 2004 that spilled over 1,000 barrels and another in North Dakota in 2010 that spilled over 3,000 barrels. Regulators ordered Enbridge to reduce its Line 2 operating pressure in October 2010 following the company's Kalamazoo River tar sands spill.

Enbridge has confirmed to DeSmogBlog that the incident involves the release of nearly 600 gallons of conventional Light Sour Blend crude oil.

The Viking pump station also receives oil from the Alberta Clipper (aka Line 67 pipeline) that carries heavy crude oil and tar sands bitumen from the Alberta tar sands region south from Hardisty to Superior, Wisconsin and refineries in the midwestern United States. It is unclear whether the product that spilled was tar sands-derived diluted bitumen. According to a link provided by Enbridge subsequent to this story's original posting, Line 2 begins in Edmonton and carries petroleum products, including crude oil, from Edmonton to Superior.  

The U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center website reports the details of the incident, which happened last night:  

DeSmog was alerted by the Indigenous Environmental Network, which is en route to the spill site to gather more information. Stay tuned for updates to this post below.
Similar to the controversial Keystone XL pipeline battle, Enbridge is currently seeking a Presidential Permit from President Barack Obama to expand the capacity of the Alberta Clipper Line 67 where it crosses the international border. The pipeline currently
transports approximately 450,000 bpd of crude oil from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin to the midwestern U.S.

The Calgary Herald reported in June 2011 about Line 2 (emphasis added):

"Enbridge's Line 6 pipeline, linking Griffith, Ind. to Sarnia, Ont., was shut down temporarily by American regulators last July following a rupture and spillage of more than 3 million litres of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River near Marshall, Mich. Three months later, the National Energy Board, which was monitoring the U.S. investigation, quietly ordered a 20 per cent pressure reduction on Enbridge's Line 2 Canadian pipeline, which links Edmonton to Superior, Wis., along sections that contained pre-1970s flash-welded pipe."

DeSmog has confirmed at least two previous spills on Line 2, one in Minnesota in 2004 that spilled over 1,000 barrels and another in North Dakota in 2010 that spilled over 3,000 barrels

Reuters reported in 2011 (emphasis added): 

"Canadian regulators ordered Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO) to cut pressure on its 440,000 barrel per day Line 2 last October after raising concerns that the company might not be able to detect cracks in the oil pipelineThe National Energy Board's order remains in effect. It restricts the pipeline, which runs from Edmonton, Alberta, to Superior, Wisconsin, to operating at 80 percent of normal pressure, according to documents provided by the regulator. The board said it was concerned that Enbridge might not be able to consistently identify cracks in pipes laid before the 1970s using flash-welding techniques."

This story originally reported that Enbridge Line 67 tar sands pipeline suffered the leak, but Enbridge subsequently confirmed the spill was on Line 2.

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