10k Gallons of Oil Leaked in North Dakota

Heath Department in North Dakota said that an oil spill was reported on Friday by Samson Oil & Gas USA, where more than 10,000 gallons of oil has spilled from a pipeline in Williams County.

The spill occurred on Thursday north of Williston at a well pad and affected a small patch of nearby grassland, environmental scientist Brian O'Gorman said. According to O'Gorman, no water sources were affected, but the cause of the spill is under investigation.

He added that about 4,200 gallons had been recovered by late Friday afternoon and the spill was contained.


Plains Midstream Now Expanding Formerly Leaked Pipeline

Years after two large oil spills and a $1.3 million fine, Plains Midstream Canada has recently announced plans to expand its Rangeland crude oil pipeline that spreads from Edmonton, Alberta to the U.S. Border.

Plains Midstream Canada’s plans include doubling capacity between Edmonton and Sundre to 100,000 bpd and increasing their system that starts in Sundre and continues south to the border from 20,000 bpd to 100,000. These expansions will be subject to acquiring permits and regulatory approvals and are set to begin minor services later in 2019 and full services in 2021. The new expansions should connect to projects in Montana and Wyoming and eventually deliver crude Canadian oil to Texas.

Plains Midstream's website states that the company has spent $110 million on environmental cleanup efforts for both of their oil spills in 2011 and 2012.

Source: BNN Bloomberg

Husky Energy Faces Charges After Major 2016 Pipeline Leak in Saskatchewan

Husky Energy is facing provincial and federal charges related to a pipeline leak in 2016 that spilled 1,570 barrels of oil into the North Saskatchewan River and forced a number of cities in Saskatchewan to temporarily stop drinking water from the river.

Environment and Climate Change Canada laid nine charges against the company, and the Saskatchewan province laid one charge.

The maximum fine under federal laws ranges from C$15,000 to C$1 million ($11,669 to $778,938), and the maximum fine under Saskatchewan's environmental rules is C$1 million.

The charges follow a 19-month investigation at both the federal and provincial levels.

The Calgary-based energy company said in a statement that it regrets what happened and takes full responsibility for it.


Minnesota PUC Says Enbridge Must Publicly Report Line 3 Oil Spill Projections

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted Thursday that Enbridge Energy must publicly disclose its projections for potential oil spills from its proposed Line 3 pipeline replacement project.

Enbridge submitted its modeling dataset, which includes the probability of large spills at seven water crossings in northern Minnesota, to the Minnesota Department of Commerce but had much of the data redacted from the public version of the dataset for safety and security reasons.

The state's PUC voted to release the spill information to the public anyway, arguing that the data should be public and that the information is not likely to cause a security threat.

Enbridge Energy is seeking permission in Minnesota to replace a part of its aging Line 3 pipeline that currently only runs at approximately half of its original capacity for safety reasons. The pipeline runs from Alberta through North Dakota and Minnesota to Wisconsin. Construction on the $7.5 billion project has already begun in Canada and Wisconsin.

Environmentalists and tribal groups are strongly against the pipeline and have cut short public hearings on the project. Minnesota's PUC recently canceled two hearings that had been scheduled in St. Cloud on Thursday due to logistical and safety issues.

Houston Chronicle

Michigan Universities to Conduct Risk Analysis on Possible Line 5 Oil Spill

Michigan's Pipeline Safety Advisory Board is recommending that the state's universities analyze the worst-case scenario of an oil pipeline failure in the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge's Line 5 carries nearly 23 million gallons of light crude and liquefied natural gas daily from Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula to refineries in Sarnia, Ontario. Along its route, the line splits into two twin pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac.

Line 5, which was built in the 1950s, highly opposed by environmentalists and other groups who fear the aged line could break and spill oil into the Great Lakes.

The analyses would be led by Michigan Tech University, which would collaborate with other universities on the study.

A contractor conducting an independent analysis of the risks of an oil spill from Line 5 was fired in late June after the state discovered a conflict of interest with an employee of the company.

Houston Chronicle

Court Overturns PHMSA's Ruling, Fines Against Exxon for Major Oil Spill in 2013

A federal appeals court earlier this week overturned PHMSA's ruling and $2.6 million in fines against ExxonMobil for a pipeline spill in 2013, saying Exxon had fulfilled all obligations under PHMSA's safety laws.

The approximately 200,000-gallon tar sands oil spill occurred in Mayflower, Arkansas and leaked from an Exxon-operated pipeline built in the 1940s. Independent lab tests conducted after the spill found that the pipeline had been defective since it had first been laid in the ground more than 70 years ago.

PHMSA fined Exxon $2.6 million for nine probable violations of safety rules that lead to the spill, including failing to adequately account for risks posed by the pipeline.

By contrast, the Fifth Circuit Court found that Exxon had not failed under federal law to ensure the safety of the pipeline, saying the company conducted an in-depth analysis of risks posed by the line. The court found PHMSA's decision to be arbitrary.

“The fact that the Mayflower release occurred, while regrettable, does not necessarily mean that ExxonMobil failed to abide by the pipeline integrity regulations in considering the appropriate risk factors. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that, despite adherence to safety guidelines and regulations, oil spills still do occur," the court wrote in a statement.


Pipeline that Leaked in North Dakota Creek at Risk of Future Failures, Says PHMSA

The Belle Fourche Pipeline system that leaked hundreds of thousands of oil into a creek in North Dakota last December is at risk of future failures due to its geographical location, according to PHMSA.

Following the December 5 oil spill that leaked an estimated 530,000 gallons of oil into a tributary of the Little Missouri River, PHMSA issued a Corrective Action Order to Belle Fourche Pipeline Company. The current spill estimate is three times larger than the original spill estimate made in December.

An investigation is still ongoing, but crews have said the pipeline break, which occurred near a "slumpy hillside" along its path was due to unstable conditions. PHMSA stated in a document released this week that other pipeline spills may have occurred and gone undetected due to the company's poor leak detection monitoring and the vulnerable location of the line.

PHMSA also stated in a hearing after the pipeline spill that the system could be harmful to life, property, or the environment if Belle Fourche does not take necessary steps to secure the pipeline and improve its monitoring detection system.

Belle Fourche wrote in response to PHMSA that it is working hard to address the pipeline system's impact on the environment.

West Fargo Pioneer


Enbridge Shuts Down Oil Pipeline after 365 Barrel Leak in Missouri

Enbridge announced Monday that it shut down its Ozark pipeline in Lawrence, Missouri after a release of about 365 barrels, or 15,330 gallons, of light oil.

On Saturday a leak detection alarm went off and notified workers of a potential release on the Ozark pipeline, also known as Line 51, at the Lawrence Pump Station.

Most of the leak was contained on Enbridge property, but some made its way to a drainage area about 2,000 from the station's fence. This oil has also been contained, according to Enbridge spokeswoman Jennifer Smith.

The cause of the spill is unknown, but an investigation is underway. Cleanup efforts are also ongoing.

The Ozark pipeline was built in the 1950s and was acquired by Enbridge when the operator bought Shell Pipeline company in 2005. The pipeline moves oil from Cushing, Oklahoma to Wood River, Illinois.

KY3 News


Alaska Plans to Overhaul Decades-old Protocol for Cleaning Petroleum Spills

For the first time since 1999, Alaska is working to overhaul its protocol for how to clean up petroleum spills.

The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) held a meeting in November over revising its regulations that are used in the event of a petroleum-based spill, and the public has until mid January to comment on the proposal.

According to the DEC, updating its regulations is long overdue and need to reflect more current science on the toxicity of petroleum.

Although it is not yet clear what the revised regulations will look like, cleanup protocols for materials like diesel and gasoline will most likely become stricter.

Some Alaskan residents have already said they plan to comment.

Houston Chronicle

Photo thumbail: Denali, formerly Mount McKinley, in Alaska, by Denali National Park and Preserve - _MG_4070Uploaded by AlbertHerring, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45209082

State Officials Investigate 3,000 Gallon Spill of Oil, Brine in North Dakota

Officials with the North Dakota Health Department reported an oil and brine spill at a site in Mountrail County and say the spill is currently being treated and monitored.

Officials approximate that 40 barrels of oil and 30 barrels of brine leaked Monday at a site operated by Arsenal Energy USA, a total nearing 3,000 gallons combined.

The release was most likely due to a treater leak, according to state officials.

A treater is a vessel used to treat oil-water emulsions and separate the oil so that it may be transported through a conduit.

The leak is currently under investigation.


Exxon Agrees to Pay $12 Million for Yellowstone Oil Spill

Yellowstone River near Livingston, Montana by Tim Evanson [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Yellowstone River near Livingston, Montana by Tim Evanson [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

ExxonMobil has agreed with state and federal regulators to pay $12 million in fines relating to environmental damage caused by a 2011 crude oil spill in Montana’s Yellowstone River.

The spill that took place upstream of Billings, Montana occurred during flooding on the Yellowstone. It leaked 63,000 gallons of crude oil into the river, damaged an 85-mile stretch of the river, and killed fish and wildlife.

After investigations, PHMSA concluded that Exxon workers had failed to take appropriate measures following warnings that the pipeline was at risk from flooding on the Yellowstone River.

On top of the agreed $12 million for damages, Exxon may also be fined for pollution violations.

The company has already spent $135 million on cleanup operations and repairs, and it previously paid $2.6 million for safety violations and state pollution violations.

Houston Chronicle

Cleanup Efforts for Louisiana Oil Spill Still Underway



Cleanup efforts are still underway near Bay Long, Louisiana where an estimated 5,300 gallons of crude oil leaked from a pipeline last Monday due to a puncture from a marsh excavator that hit it while working on restoration activities.

According to the Coast Guard in New Orleans, more than 6,000 gallons of oil-water mixture have been recovered to date, and over 12,000 feet of hard-boom have been deployed to contain and recover the spill.

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is leading the effort to capture affected wildlife that have been observed as oiled to some degree as a result of the oil spill.

Aerial assessments are also underway as crews look for more potential harm to wildlife or the environment from the spill.

Officials say that crews are currently making repairs to the damaged pipeline.


5,300-Gallon Oil Spill in South Louisiana Secured

A 5,300-gallon oil spill was reported near Bay Long in South Louisiana and is being cleaned. (Google Maps)

A 5,300-gallon oil spill was reported near Bay Long in South Louisiana and is being cleaned. (Google Maps)

A 5,300-gallon oil spill near Bay Long in South Louisiana has been secured, according to the Coast Guard, and the incident is currently being investigated.

The spill was reported Monday to the Coast Guard saying a pipeline owned by Harvest Pipeline Company was leaking after being struck by a Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company vessel that was doing excavation in the area.

A spill response company has deployed 3,000 feet of hard boom, and sorbent material and skimmers are collecting the spilled oil.

The Coast Guard has conducted crews to aerially assess surrounding areas to look for more possible damage from the oil spill.

Houston Chronicle
The Times-Picayune

Tennessee County Plans Simulated Oil Spill to Test Emergency Preparedness

tennessee county plans simulated oil spill to test emergency preparedness

A county in Tennessee plans to hold a disaster preparedness exercise on Friday that will call into practice the appropriate steps to quickly and safely handle an oil spill.

Shelby County’s Office of Preparedness will put together a simulated oil spill that is set to occur in downtown Memphis and will involve several agencies in the call-to-action.

The drill involves a simulated oil spill that will threaten the Wolf River Chute and damage the Canadian National North Rail Yard. 

Agencies included in the drill are the Shelby County Office of Preparedness, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security-Infrastructure Protection, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, and the Memphis fire and police departments.


FX Drilling Fined $100,000 for 2011 Montana Oil Spill

Looking down on the Cut Bank Creek in Montana, by Royalbroil (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Looking down on the Cut Bank Creek in Montana, by Royalbroil (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

FX Drilling will pay $100,000 in fines after pleading guilty in court to criminal charges relating to a 2011 oil spill in northwestern Montana.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris levied the fine on Thursday which was recommended in a plea deal between the federal prosecutors and company attorneys.

The company pleaded guilty to negligently discharging oil into Cut Bank Creek and failing to take immediate action to remove or maintain the oil that had already leaked.

According to court documents, the company’s field supervisor Quay Geza Torok discovered an oil pipeline had ruptured in the San Unit oilfield on July 12, 2011 and reported the spill to his supervisor as well as repaired the line. However, Torok and FX Drilling’s failure of immediate action led to a spill that lasted over a month, spilling roughly 840 gallons down a drainage and into a tributary that empties into Cut Bank Creek.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped charges against Torok.

Cordillera Montana

City in Canada Activates Emergency Operations After Oil Spill

Prince Albert Saskatchewan, By Carolyn Carleton (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Prince Albert Saskatchewan, By Carolyn Carleton (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The City of Prince Albert activated its emergency operations center on Saturday afternoon in order to put together a contingency plan after a boom set up to contain an oil spill in the North Saskatchewan River breached, sending oil toward the city and its drinking water supply.

A spokesman for Saskatchewan’s water security agency said Prince Albert gets most of its water supply from the North Saskatchewan River. Staff members are getting ready to shut down the intakes as oil from the leak flows past the city.

The city is working on ways to treat water for hydrocarbons if backup water supplies run out before the oil passes. Backup water supply options for the city include water from storm water retention ponds and other reservoirs, which the city will treat.

The 65,000-gallon spill leaked into the river last Thursday after a break in a pipeline owned by Husky Energy. The company stated its containment and cleanup efforts in the wake of the spill are ongoing.

CBC News
Houston Chronicle

Enbridge Agrees to Pay $177 Million in Fines and Safety Improvements for Michigan Oil Spill

Updated July 22, 2016, at 11:00am

2010 Kalamazoo River Oil Spill via www.michigan.gov

2010 Kalamazoo River Oil Spill via www.michigan.gov

After multiple extensions for negotiating a fine for the 2010 Kalamazoo River disaster, the U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Protection Agency and Enbridge settled at $177 million, announced on Wednesday.

Under the settlement, Enbridge agreed to pay $62 million in fines for violating the Clean Water Act, which is the largest fine for a pipeline spill ever under that law, according to Bloomberg. The company will also spend $110 million in steps toward improving pipeline operations and to prevent future spills across its 2,000-mile span of pipelines near the Great Lakes. Enbridge is also required to replace nearly 300 miles of one of the lines, according to its deal with the EPA. Finally, Enbridge will pay $5.4 million to reimburse the government for cleanup costs.

“Financial accountability is very important. It is something that we take very seriously,” said US Attorney Patrick Miles. “We also want to make sure that we don’t have a recurrence of these types of events. So prevention, detection, and repair are also critical in these matters. And so that is something that this consent decree does and addresses, and my office is very pleased with this solution.”

Enbridge has already paid $57.8 million for reimbursements of cleanup costs for the spill, agreed to pay $75 million in settle claims pursued by the state of Michigan, and spent more than $800 million cleaning up the accident.

In 2010, Enbridge’s Line 6B failed and sent more than 20,000 barrels of oil into the Kalamazoo River as a result of the rupture. The accident is one of the largest inland spills in U.S. history. After 22 months of cleanup work, the Kalamazoo River reopened for recreational use.

The settlement agreement has a 30-day public comment period.

Wood TV 8

Crews Stop Oil Spill in Ventura, California from Hitting Nearby Coast

Ventura, California Ariel View By WPPilot - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39254314

A crude oil spill of 29,400 gallons from a broken pipeline in Ventura, California was spotted around 5:30am Thursday and stopped before the oil reached a nearby coast.

The broken pipeline belongs to Crimson Pipeline, who took responsibility for the spill in a regulatory filing. Officials are investigating the cause of the leak which has yet to be determined.

The pump where the oil was flowing was shut down within a few hours after the leak was spotted, and the oil was captured in an earth-filled dam about a quarter mile from the leak site.

Crude oil has coated rocks and creek beds, but total environmental damage from the spill has yet to be determined. Authorities have raised concerns about vapors and advised local residents to evacuate if they are sensitive to odors. No mandatory evacuations have been ordered.

Crews worked with hoses to suck the oil into trucks when the oil was accumulated in the dam after the spill.

This spill marks Crimson Pipeline’s 10th time in 10 years that it has had a pipeline rupture or fail, according to Los Angeles Times.

Los Angeles Times

Enbridge Invests in Clean-up Equipment in Case of Oil Spill

Straits of Mackinac By Louie Wannahocka - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45126309


Canadian energy company Enbridge announced Monday that it will spend $7 million over the next two years on additional safety equipment to expedite the clean-up process in the event of a spill, despite the company’s insistence that the likelihood of there being a spill is incredibly unlikely.

The purchase includes equipment that would help quickly recover oil in open water and in icy conditions in the Straits of Mackinac. The company is also taking extra precaution with the purchase of floating barriers that can contain and absorb oil in the event of a spill.

Enbridge announced their safety equipment buys when it launched a relations tour in Michigan, a public relations event designed to convince surrounding communities that their Line 5 pipeline has never leaked and poses no risk to the scenic area.

Enbridge’s Line 5 is a 645-mile, 30-inch-diameter pipeline that runs through Michican’s peninsulas, starting in Superior, Wisconsin, and ending in Sarnia, Ontario. Built in 1953, the pipeline travels under the Straits of Mackinac and carries 23 million gallons of light crude oil and liquefied natural gas daily.

Although the pipeline is inspected regularly and monitored continuously by its operations center, environmental groups and communities are concerned about its high-risk placement in the straits area and want the line shut down or rerouted.

A senior manager of emergency response with Enbridge stated that despite the very unlikely chance of there being a spill, the company is ready to respond.


PHMSA Issues Third Amendment to Corrective Action Order for Santa Barbara Oil Spill

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHSMA) on Thursday issued a third amendment to the Corrective Action Order (CAO) for the Santa Barbara crude oil leak. The CAO was issued to Plains All American Pipeline as a result of the May 2015 pipeline failure in Santa Barbara, California that released approximately 2,934 barrels of crude oil.

The third amendment instructs Plains All American to complete a number of corrective actions before PHMSA will approve the restart of the failed pipeline and an adjoining pipeline. The company is required to implement tools for advanced leak detection, install more safety valves and pressure sensors, create a long-term plan for corrosion prevention, and update its Facility Response Plan for the failed and adjoining pipelines before restarting.

PHMSA is also sending out an advisory bulletin to operators around the nation to assist in informing lessons learned from the Santa Barbara oil spill.

Read the amended CAO.