UPDATE 1-Enbridge shuts Alberta pipeline after oil spill

Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:20pm EDT

* 345,000 bpd line shut after leak at pump station

* Athabasca pipeline carries oil sands crude

* Second Alberta spill in less than two weeks

By Jeffrey Jones

CALGARY, Alberta, June 19 (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc has closed a major Alberta pipeline that moves oil sands-derived crude after a spill at a pump station, the second oil leak in the Canadian province in less than two weeks, regulators said on Tuesday.

Alberta's Energy Resources Conservation Board said Enbridge was forced to turn off its 345,000 barrel-a-day Athabasca pipeline following a spill on Monday that the company estimates at about 1,400 barrels.

The 540-km (335-mile) line carries oil to Hardisty, Alberta, from the tar sands center of Fort McMurray. Hardisty is a major pipeline hub from which crude gets fed into networks of export lines to the United States, such as Enbridge's mainline and TransCanada Corp's Keystone Pipeline.

The oil spilled south of the northeastern Alberta town of Elk Point, the board said.

"The pipeline has been shut in and the pumping station has been isolated," the Energy Resources Conservation Board said in a statement. "No waterways are impacted and cleanup is under way. There were no injuries or no evacuations as a result of the release."

The incident follows an oil spill from a pipeline owned by Plains All American in western Alberta on June 7 in which cleanup efforts are continuing. Up to 3,000 barrels of oil leaked into the a large river system, fouling up a vacation resort area.

Environmentalists opposed to multibillion-dollar pipelines planned to take hundreds of thousands of barrels a day of Alberta crude to Texas and the Pacific Coast pounced on that spill as reason to reject the proposals.

Enbridge officials were not immediately available for comment.

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