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News » US » Report released into Keystone Pipeline rupture » published 9 Jul 2018

Report released into Keystone Pipeline rupture

Damage by a metal-tracked vehicle was the most likely cause of a pipeline rupture that released some 5,000 gallons of crude oil last year, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has found.

The ruptured section of pipe was tested by the NTSB Above: The ruptured section of pipe was tested by the NTSB

NTSB has completed its investigation into the rupture, which occurred on 16 November 2017 near Amherst in South Dakota. The pipe is part of the TransCanada Corporation Pipeline, also known as the Keystone Pipeline.

The focus of NTSB’s limited investigation was a metallurgical evaluation of the ruptured pipe. The pipeline was cut at the point of rupture and extracted for transportation to the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington. Materials engineers in the lab used optical and scanning electron microscopes and energy dispersive spectroscopy to examine the fracture surface and adjacent exterior pipe surfaces to determine the mode of fracture.

The NTSB determined the probable cause of the failure of the Keystone Pipeline was a fatigue crack, likely originating from mechanical damage to the pipe exterior by a metal-tracked vehicle during pipeline installation. The fatigue crack grew and extended in-service to a critical size, resulting in the rupture of the pipeline.

Keystone’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system detected the leak and Keystone’s Operational Control Center in Calgary, Alberta, shut down the pipeline, but approximately 5,000 barrels of crude oil were spilled. There were no injuries or fatalities associated with the incident.


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This article was published on 9 Jul 2018 (last updated on 9 Jul 2018).

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