Trans Mountain Crude Pipeline Is Shut After Spill in B.C.

Robert Tuttle
June 13, 2020

The Trans Mountain pipeline was shut after an oil spill was discovered at a pump station in British Columbia early Saturday.


Workers from the state-owned pipeline are responding to a release at the Sumas Pump Station in Abbotsford, B.C., after an alarm went off at the pipeline control center, the company said in a release posted on its website. The line was immediately shut down, and a cleanup is underway. No estimate for the volume of oil spilled was available, it said.


The Trans Mountain pipeline carries about 300,000 barrels a day of crude oil and some fuels from Alberta to the Vancouver area, where it connects to a marine export terminal as well as to another line that supplies refineries in Washington state.


Trans Mountain has initiated an investigation into the spill, the company said in an email. The incident is probably related to a small, 1 inch diameter piece of pipe and the line was carrying mixed sweet crude at the time of the spill, it said.


The local community isn’t threatened and the spill has been contained, according to the company.


“Right now, we are focused on cleanup,” Trans Mountain said. “There are a number of steps and procedures that need to happen before we can safely restart the pipeline.”

The incident comes at a sensitive time for Trans Mountain, as work on a planned expansion is under way amid fierce opposition from some residents of British Columbia, including indigenous communities, who argue the pipeline is a threat to the environment. Canada’s federal government purchased the pipeline two years ago from Kinder Morgan Inc. after the company threatened to pull the plug on a planned expansion after years of regulatory and legal challenges.