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U.S. fracked oil to flow to Energy East pipeline in Moosomin, Saksatchewan

Moosomin, SK

Moosomin, Saskatchewan

TransCanada wants to build a pipeline to move oil from North Dakota to Saskatchewan that would then flow into the Energy East pipeline. It appears the terminus of the pipeline would be the community of Moosomin, a town in southern Saskatchewan about 225 kilometres east of Regina and 20 kilometres west of the Manitoba border. The company wants the pipeline to be operational by 2018.

The Wall Street Journal reports, “TransCanada Corp. will apply to the U.S. State Department to build a 200-mile pipeline from North Dakota’s booming oil fields across the border into Canada to connect to another proposed pipeline, according to a person briefed on the plan. …It is proposing the $600 million Upland Pipeline Project, which aims to transport up to 300,000 barrels a day of North Dakota crude to a connection in Saskatchewan…” Other news article indicate the pipeline would move 70,000 barrels a day.

The Financial Post notes, “The $600-million, 460-kilometre Upland pipeline, first proposed in July 2014, has received the shipper support it requires to link multiple points in North Dakota to the proposed Energy East pipeline at Moosomin, Sask., TransCanada said Friday.” That article adds, “If the State Department turns down KXL (which would benefit largely Canadian oilsands production) because it fails the President’s new test on climate change impacts, it will be interesting to see how it handles Upland, which would benefit U.S. production that is also very greenhouse-gas intensive, largely because Bakken oil producers flare — or burn off — natural gas.”

It is notable that most of the oil produced in North Dakota is extracted by fracking. The Toronto Star has warned, “Bakken crude can contain high levels of hydrogen sulfide, a toxic, corrosive chemical that’s extremely flammable. …The oil’s flammability classification is the highest there is, level 4 — the same as methane gas and propane… In the case of a spill, the Bakken oil could ignite, with a spark, at 20C.” In October 2013, the state produced nearly 950,000 barrels of oil a day, second only to Texas in terms of production in the U.S.

As we noted in this November 2014 blog, TransCanada intends to build a 1.05 million barrel receipt and delivery terminal (tank farm) in Moosomin as part of its Energy East pipeline project.

TransCanada’s tank farm project manager Cody Knorr has said, “The [Moosomin] facility will consist of three 350,000 barrel tanks. …One of these tanks is 200 feet in diameter and 60 feet high. …There will be operational staff—the number of people I would guess to be five to six people during business hours. …We will have some maintenance staff on hand, who will check on the monitors to make sure everything looks good, will walk the facility and will conduct routine maintenance on wearing parts such as pumps and valves.”

This tank farm would pose a spill risk to the community and emit volatile organic compounds posing a further threat to their air quality.

The Council of Canadians is opposed to the Energy East pipeline and is in the process of organizing a speaking tour – with Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow – against the pipeline in several communities in Saskatchewan and Manitoba this spring. For more on our campaign to stop the pipeline, please click here.