12 barrels of oil leak from Kinder Morgan's pipeline, forces emergency shut down

Canada’s national energy regulator said Thursday that a pipeline operated by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (NYSE:KMP) released an unspecified amount of crude oil near the town of Merritt in southern interior British Columbia.

According to the National Energy Board's release, the size of the leak remains unknown, although the company said in a statement it has detected about two cubic metres, or 12 barrels, of light crude.

Kinder Morgan said the leak was found during regular maintenance late Wednesday afternoon near Kingsvale, about 40 kilometres south of Merritt, along Highway 3, in BC. By now the firm said the oil has been fully contained, none has seeped into any waterways and there is no threat to the public.

The NEB reported the pipeline had been shut down and Kinder Morgan confirmed company staff was at the scene overnight and are still working to repair the line.

Sierra Club BC Interim Executive Director, Sarah Cox, said the spill reinforces why Canadians should "reject Kinder Morgan’s proposal to build a second pipeline in order to ship tar sands bitumen past Victoria and the Gulf Islands.”

She added pipelines were not job creators, "unless you want to work in oil spill response."

The Trans Mountain line ships 300,000 barrels per day of various petroleum products from Alberta to BC's Lower Mainland and Washington State.

The company has plans to nearly triple the capacity of the system to 890,000 barrels a day with a project that would cost about $5.4 billion.

Image by Leonid Ikan/Shutterstock.com