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Piepline Break.. 20,000 barrels of Oil leak in North Dakota

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More than 20,000 barrels of crude oil have spewed out of a Tesoro Corp. oil pipeline in a wheat field in northwestern North Dakota, the state Health Department said Thursday.


State environmental geologist Kris Roberts said the 20,600-barrel spill, among the largest recorded in the state, was discovered on Sept. 29 by a farmer harvesting wheat about nine miles north of Tioga.


"The farmer was harvesting his wheat and started smelling oil," Roberts said. "It went from there."


The release of oil has been stopped, Roberts said. Spread out over 7.3 acres, or about the size of seven football fields, the spill has been contained. Tesoro said no water sources were contaminated, no wildlife was hurt and there weren't any injuries.


Gov. Jack Dalrymple said he wasn't told of the spill until Wednesday night.


"Initially, it was felt that the spill was not overly large," Dalrymple said, when questioned at a news conference on a separate topic. "When they realized it was a fairly sizable spill, they began to contact more people about it."


The governor said North Dakota is investigating its procedures for reporting spills, saying, "There are many questions to be answered on how it occurred and how it was detected and if there was anything that could have been done that could have made a difference."


Tesoro Logistics, a subsidiary of the San Antonio, Texas-based company that owns and operates parts of Tesoro's oil infrastructure, said in a statement that the affected portion of the pipeline has been shut down.


"Protection and care of the environment are fundamental to our core values, and we deeply regret any impact to the landowner," Tesoro CEO Greg Goff said in a statement. "We will continue to work tirelessly to fully remediate the release area."


Wayde Schafer, a North Dakota spokesman for the Sierra Club, said the spill is an example of the lack of oversight in a state that has exploded with oil development in recent years.


"We need more inspectors and more transparency," Schafer said. "Not only is the public not informed, but agencies don't appear to be aware of what's going on and that's not good."


Roberts said the farmer who discovered the leak had harvested most of his wheat prior to the spill. The wheat is being tested for contamination at a local grain elevator.


An oil pipeline breach in the late 1980s in the northeast corner of the state was larger than this spill, Roberts said.


The Tesoro spill is four times the size of a pipeline rupture in late March that happened north of Little Rock, Ark. An ExxonMobile pipeline burst March 29 and spilled 5,000 barrels of oil in a Mayflower, Ark., neighborhood, forcing the evacuation of more than 20 homes.


Eric Haugstad, Tesoro's director of contingency planning and emergency response, said the hole in the 20-year-old pipeline was a quarter-inch in diameter. Tesoro officials were investigating what caused the hole in the 6-inch-diameter steel pipeline that runs underground about 35 miles from Tioga to a rail facility outside of Columbus, near the Canadian border. Roberts said the hole may have been caused by corrosion.


Tesoro owns North Dakota's only oil refinery, which occupies about 1 1/2 square miles of land overlooking the Missouri River in Mandan. The facility was built in 1954, three years after drillers began pumping oil in North Dakota. Tesoro acquired the refinery from BP in 2001.  more.. http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/pipeline-breaks-spews-20600-barrels-oil-20532593

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I just saw you posted in the comments there too Dan, still reading them..................



And it's now being mentioned on The Rachel Maddow Show............

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Don't you just love the way things get minimalized- only 20,000 barrels. Hmm.

20,000 barrels x 42 gal/bbl= 840,000 gallons. No wonder it covered 7.3 acres (3,179,881 ft2). That's every gallon spread over 3.78 ft2- do you realize how deep that either soaked in or pooled?


It may not have gotten to a stream initially and may even be far from one- however- a big rain or snow will move it far if some mighty fast work was not done. some portions of this spill would be moderately water soluble (think benzene). At the high rate of soil contamination here- this will take a lot of soil remediation activity to allow this soil to become productive and safe again. In spills I dealt with in the past -I had to dilute the contamination with more soil, manure, imported organic matter, etc to make the soil less toxic such that beneficial bacteria, organisms, etc could survive and eat the toxins.


How does so much get lost that fast from a pipeline without triggering a sensor alarm?


If this can happen on a 6" line (small volume)- how can such leaks be detected on 20", 30" or larger lines?


What if this would have been in the shallow part of the aquifer where water is near the surface?


Glad the proposed Keystone route was at least changed- still not a fan---


I love the state inspector's comment- "we need more inspectors"----- Raise the tax/inspection fees on oil- BUT DONT DO LIKE WISCONSIN WHERE ETHANOL PAYS THE SAME 3 CENTS CLEANUP FEE AS PETROLEUM!!!!!!!!


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Makes you think the "no pipeline" folks that were against the Keystone going over the Ogallala Aquifer were pretty wise.



Yeah who wants Oil passing over their water supply..don't need to be wise just a little common sense





If the Oil was for Canada and the United States they could simply invest in a Refinery near the Oil.. but we're suppose to risk our water supply so Oil can ship it overseas to the highest bidder makes little sense ..unless you work for Oil of course ;D





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Exactly, outlaw. I highly doubt no aquifers or water have been affected, and if this is allowed to sit long enough, it'll affect something! Not to mention the land that the farmer is no longer able to farm. I am also a huge opponent of the Keystone pipeline as well. I look at it realistically. This oil will not directly affect gas prices. Anyone who remembers anything from economics class would know that oil is a highly notible exception to the usual "supply an demand" rule. This oil would simply go in a pool, out of which transportation fuels as well as the various petroleum products come out. All these negative environmental impacts, for a product that will most likely have no effect on the ever-rising cost of oil.

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