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Large 2013 North Dakota oil spill still being remediated three years later

03 January 2017

According to NGI Shale Daily, the clean-up of a 20,600 barrel leak from a Tesoro Logistics oil pipeline which polluted a site in the heart of the Bakken Shale in 2013 about 10 miles northeast of Tioga, ND, is still ongoing. The news source quoted North Dakota Department of Health spill investigation program manager Bill Suess as saying that remediation would likely continue up until the fall of 2017.

Stock image
Stock image

There will be several years of monitoring the site by the company and the state after everything is excavated, treated and backfilled, Suess said. Tesoro has spent nearly $50 million to date for a clean-up effort originally estimated at about $61 million, he said.

An eventual fine for Tesoro would be determined after the remediation work is completed.

The September 2013 leak was the biggest in the USA that year and was not fully contained for several weeks, according to state and company officials. The work involves a 45-foot deep excavation spread over 13 acres and the related treatment of all the affected soil.

The incident has had widespread impact on the industry and led to new guidelines from both the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) Oil/Gas Division and the Department of Health.

The state initially issued a notice of violation and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a safety order to the Tesoro High Plains Pipeline in response to the leak.

The 20-year-old six-inch diameter pipeline involved carries crude oil north of Tioga to Columbus, ND, where it is loaded on railcars for shipment to various refineries.

Last month the PHMSA issued a corrective action order to Belle Fourche, part of True Companies of Wyoming, following an investigation into a 4,200 barrel oil spill discovered on December 5 by a landowner northwest of Belfield, North Dakota, about a hundred miles to the south of Tioga.


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