ND Pipeline Leak Cause: Corrosion

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 @ 12:10 PM gHale

Corrosion appears to be the cause of a 20,600-barrel leak on Tesoro Logistics LP pipeline in North Dakota, state regulators said.

The six-inch pipeline was carrying crude oil from the Bakken shale area to the Stampede rail facility outside Columbus, ND when a farmer discovered oil spouting from the pipeline Sept. 29.

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This is the largest oil spill in the state since it became a major U.S. producer. It is the biggest oil leak on U.S. land since March, when an Exxon Mobil pipeline spilled 5,000 to 7,000 barrels of heavy Canadian crude in Mayflower, AR.

The release did not pose an immediate threat to groundwater sources or nearby rivers and lakes, the state Department of Health said on Thursday.

Officials dismissed initial concerns residents broke the pipeline and the cause appears to be corrosion on the pipeline, said Brian Kalk, chairman of the state Public Service Commission (PSC).

The U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is in charge of investigating the cause of the leak and oversees the pipeline’s operation.

The state commission approves the construction of pipelines and operators’ compliance with initial designs submitted to the state, Kalk said.

The pipeline runs 35 miles from Tioga to Black Slough in North Dakota. BP originally built the pipeline in 1993.

It is a part of Tesoro’s “High Plains” pipeline system in North Dakota and Montana that gathers oil from the Bakken shale and delivers it to another Enbridge pipeline and Tesoro’s 68,000 barrels-per-day Mandan refinery. Tesoro purchased the pipeline and the refinery from BP in 2001.

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