CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP KMP.N has shut its 307,000-barrel-per-day Trans Mountain crude oil pipeline after a spill of about 12 barrels of oil was detected near Kingsvale, British Columbia, the company said on Thursday.
Repairs were underway the line, which runs west across the Canadian Rockies from Edmonton, Alberta, to the Vancouver area and Puget Sound, but the company did not have details on when flows will resume.
Kinder Morgan spokesman Andrew Galarnyk said the company will need approval from Canada's National Energy Board before the line can restart.
News of the spill, though relatively small, could intensify environmental opposition to expanding the 1,150-kilometre (715-mile) pipeline, which transports batches of crude oil, refined and semi-refined products.
Kinder Morgan has plans to nearly triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain line to 890,000 barrels per day. It is currently the only pipeline transporting crude from the oil sands of northern Alberta to the West Coast.
The company shut the line on Wednesday afternoon when light crude oil was first spotted on the surface of the pipeline's right of way during routine maintenance.
"The release area is fully contained and there is no impact to any water course and no threat to the public. Early indications are that the volume is small at less than two cubic meters (12 barrels)," Galarnyk said in a statement.
Canadian cash crude prices fell in early trade on news of the Trans Mountain spill, before rebounding.
Western Canada Select heavy blend for July delivery last traded at $11.00 per barrel below the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, while light synthetic crude from the oil sands traded at a premium of $12.50 per barrel to WTI, according to Shorcan Energy Brokers.
Reporting by Nia Williams and Scott Haggett; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Bob Burgdorfer and Peter Galloway