PHMSA: Wrong coating likely used on parts of Keystone Pipeline

Keystone Pipeline

Shannon Marvel

A federal inspection of the Keystone Pipeline has yielded a notice of probable violation.

It’s alleged that TC Oil Operations, the company that owns the pipeline, failed to provide suitable coating material at numerous locations along the pipeline.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration issued TC Oil Operations a notice of probable violation and a proposed compliance order June 13. The federal agency issued the notice as a result of an inspection of the Keystone Pipeline’s facilities and records, according to the notice document.

TC Oil Operations, also known as TC Energy, had operated under the name TransCanada until changing its name in May.

No fine was proposed by PHMSA as a result of the probable violation, but a compliance order was proposed that requires TC Oil to “correct deficiencies in coating material so that they are suitable for prevention of atmospheric corrosion.” It requires that the company provide a “record of the location of piping with insufficient coating and the date in which the appropriate coating was applied.” The company has six months from the date of the final order to comply, according to the notice document.

The Keystone Pipeline carries crude oil more than 2,600 miles from eastern Alberta, Canada, to Oklahoma and Illinois. It cuts through northeast South Dakota.

“The operator used fusion bonded epoxy as a coating on numerous locations on the pipeline at and above the air soil interface,” the notice reads.

It notes that TC Oil failed to follow its own procedures in its operations and maintenance when it failed to provide suitable coating material.

Neither TC Oil Operations nor PHMSA could be reached for comment by July 26.

On Nov. 16, 2017, a leak in the pipeline was reported near Amherst in Marshall County. Some 276,864 gallons of oil leaked from the pipeline, according to the PHMSA investigation report. The area of the leak has since been cleaned.