Oil Pipeline Leak in Cook Inlet, Say Alaska Officials

An oil pipeline operated by Hilcorp Energy is leaking in Alaska's Cook Inlet, according to a report by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC).

The underwater leak was found Saturday and is unrelated to the ongoing leaking natural gas pipeline also operated by Hilcorp Energy in Cook Inlet.

Hilcorp has shut down two of its production platforms in the inlet that are connected by the oil pipeline, which is now operating at reduced pressure, according to ADEC.

The amount of oil spilled is estimated to be only 10 gallons so far, but spill prevention and response director Kristen Ryan said on Sunday that officials do not know if the line is still leaking.

Environmentalists are worried that the oil spill, as well as the ongoing natural gas leak, will cause harm to habitats located in the inlet, which are home to the beluga whale, Steller sea lion, humpback whale, and other wildlife.

PHMSA on March 3 had issued a Notice of Proposed Safety Order to Hilcorp requiring the company to either make repairs or shut down the leaking natural gas line by May 1.

The cause of the oil leak is unknown but is being investigated. Hilcorp has hired a diving crew to investigate the line and make any necessary repairs, which should begin sometime late next week, according to ADEC.


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


Magellan Midstream: Excavator Caused 47,000-Gallon Diesel Spill in Iowa

Oklahoma-based Magellan Midstream Partners announced that the January pipeline diesel spill in Iowa was caused by an excavator who did not check for underground utilities before digging.

The diesel fuel leak on the 127-mile pipeline was discovered on January 25 in Worth County, Iowa on private land during a snowstorm. At the time of the leak, Magellan Midstream could not identify the cause and said sensors used to notify an impact on the pipeline did not go off.

When the spill was first reported, an estimated 138,000 gallons of diesel were said to have spilled, but Magellan Midstream later announced that the real number was about 47,000 gallons.

Tom Byers, a spokesman for the company, told The Associated Press that the company has not yet taken any legal steps against the excavator and did not identify the excavator.


PHMSA Issues Safety Order to Hilcorp for Ongoing NatGas Leak in Alaska Cook Inlet

PHMSA sent a Notice of Proposed Safety Order to energy company Hilcorp Alaska last week in response to an ongoing natural gas leak that was discovered in the Alaska Cook Inlet in early February.

The natural gas pipeline owned by Hilcorp could have been spilling natural gas into the Cook Inlet as early as December of last year until the leak was spotted from the air on February 7, according to PHMSA. Hilcorp estimates that about 210,000 to 310,000 cubic feet of gas is spilling into the water daily.

In its notice, PHMSA ordered the company to either repair the line by May 1 or shut it down. Hilcorp has said there are complications relating to shutting down the line as it supplies fuel to four oil platforms in the inlet and because residual oil left in the once-crude pipeline could potentially leak into the water if shut down.

Repairs to the leak occurring 80 feet below water cannot yet be made by divers because of severe winter conditions such as sea ice. Divers may be able to start making repairs by late March at the earliest, according to the company.

Several environmental groups have asked the Trump administration to order an emergency order to shut down Hilcorp's pipeline, saying the leak is threatening beluga whale and salmon habitats. Two environmental groups, Cook Inletkeeper and the Center for Biological Diversity, have filed suit against Hilcorp, claiming the company is violating four federal laws: the Clean Air and Clean Water acts, the Endangered Species Act, and the Pipeline Safety Act.


Enterprise Products Partners Shuts Down Oil Pipeline after Leak

Enterprise Products Partners shut down its Seaway crude oil pipeline over the weekend after a potential leak was detected, according to Reuters reports.

The company reported the incident on the 400,000 barrel-per-day pipeline to the National Response Center on Saturday. PHMSA is currently investigating the cause of the leak.

The same crude oil pipeline, which travels from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast, was shut down in January after being struck by a third-party contractor and spewing oil across a Dallas highway.


Ongoing Pipeline Leak Spills Natural Gas into Alaska Cook Inlet, Crews Unable to Reach Spill

An underwater natural gas pipeline owned by Hilcorp Alaska has been leaking for at least 10 days in Alaska's Cook Inlet, with surrounding floating ice inhibiting crews to get to the pipeline.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said risk to public health and safety is small but risk to the surrounding environment cannot easily be measured since a monitoring and assessment program has not started.

A spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the group is concerned for the lives of the endangered beluga whales and their habitats in the inlet.

The company said the cause of the leak is unknown and that it cannot simply stop flow to the pipeline due to issues associated with that option, including the safety systems of the crews located on the platforms in the inlet that are receiving natural gas from the pipeline.

A Hilcorp helicopter flying to a platform noticed natural gas bubbling on the water surface. Divers were assigned to swim out to the pipeline to assess the leak but were not able to due to floating ice in the inlet.

A nonprofit organization called Cook Inletkeeper, which works to protect the watershed, said Wednesday it intends to sue Hilcorp under provisions of the Clean Water Act, saying that the discharged methane is displacing oxygen in the water and potentially harming or killing wildlife.


Canada Pipeline Regulator: Human Error Causing Increase in Pipeline Leaks

Canada's pipeline regulator says human error, from incorrectly following procedures to improperly using equipment, is causing an increase in pipeline leaks.

According to data gathered by the National Energy Board, human error has caused an average of 20 leaks per year the last three years, which is up four per year in the previous six years.

Although pipeline companies have improved their safety practices, they are lacking in constant effort and attention to details that may seem insignificant at first but ultimately contribute to incidents, according to Mark Fleming, a professor of safety culture at Saint Mary's University.

Plains Midstream Canada's 1.2 million gallon oil spill in Peace River in 2011 and Nexen Energy's 436,000 gallon oil spill near Fort McMurray, Alberta in 2015 are both examples of incidents that resulted partly due to human error such as improper pipeline installations and inadequate management of the ground surrounding the pipeline.

Pipeline companies are continually improving their safety protocols as regulators push stricter standards on the industry, but Fleming says getting pipelines to regulatory compliance requires "significant financial sacrifice" that can be difficult for pipeline companies to adhere to.

CBC News

Magellan Midstream: Investigation Underway for 138,000 Gallon Diesel Pipeline Leak

Magellan Midstream Partners is investigating a 138,600-gallon diesel fuel leak from a pipeline rupture that occurred Wednesday morning in Worth County, Iowa.

The leak was reported by Magellan Midstream at 8:00am on Wednesday morning and has since been contained. The company is using vacuum and frack trucks to handle the fuel and will then remove the contaminated soil once the free-liquid diesel has been removed.

The 12-inch pipeline leaked on private agricultural land, but no surface water was contaminated, according to Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The group has not yet uncovered any underground water contamination.

Magellan Midstream spokesman Bruce Heine said the company does not know the cause of the pipeline rupture as nothing struck the pipeline and the sensors used to notify a pipeline impact did not go off.

No injuries or evacuations have been reported, and there is no threat to health risk, according to the Worth County Sheriff's Office.

USA Today

Federal Officials Work to Clean Up Natural Gas Spill in Gulf

A pipeline leak of natural gas and liquid hydrocarbons in the Gulf of Mexico was reported Wednesday by Fieldwood Energy and is being treated by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

The pipeline, operated by Houston-based Kinetica Partners, spilled an estimated 750 gallons into the Gulf located roughly 30 miles southwest of Cameron, Louisiana. The last reported sheen was about one mile across and 10 miles along.

The BSEE says it plans to fly over the area in attempt to locate the source of the leak and review efforts to shut the pipeline flow.

Houston Chronicle

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


Colonial Pipeline Reopens Pipeline after Gasoline Leak

Colonial Pipeline Company has reopened one of its gasoline pipelines after it was shutdown due to a gasoline leak in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Repairs to Line 19, which carries petroleum products through Chattanooga to Nashville, were completed on Thursday, and service was restored after being closed since Sunday.

On Saturday the Chattanooga Fire Department received reports of gasoline fumes near the pipeline, after which the pipeline was shut down and searched for a potential leak.

Crew members found a sheen on Shoal Creek, which feeds into the Tennessee River, but no gasoline reached the river, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Colonial Pipeline Company estimated that 603 gallons leaked from its line.

Houston Chronicle

Seaway Pipeline in Cushing Temporarily Shut After Oil Spill

Seaway Pipeline Map (  Seaway Pipeline  )

Seaway Pipeline Map (Seaway Pipeline)

Pipeline developers temporarily shut down service on an oil pipeline system in Cushing, Oklahoma after an oil spill occurred on the line late Sunday night.

An older section of the Seaway pipeline, a joint venture between Enterprise Products Partners and Enbridge that delivers oil to the Texas Gulf Coast, was shut down as a precaution after officials detected a leak of an undisclosed amount of oil that did not cause any injuries, fires, and was not a threat to the public.

According to Seaway Crude Pipeline Co., the spill occurred in an industrial area of Cushing near Linwood Avenue and Texaco Drive. The spill occurred on Enbridge property only and has been contained in a retention pond at Enbridge’s facility.

Seaway said in a news release that the company is continuing to make efficient progress in cleaning up the spill, using vacuum trucks to recover the crude.

The amount of oil spilled will not be disclosed until cleanup efforts are complete, according Enterprise Products Partners.

Yahoo Finance
The Oklahoman

Ammonia Pipeline Leak Causes Evacuation, One Death in Nebraska

A pipeline rupture that leaked 294,000 gallons of liquid anhydrous ammonia on Monday in Tekamah, Nebraska caused the evacuation of 40 people and the death of one man.

The pipeline owner, Magellan Midstream Partners, noticed a drop in pressure on the line on Monday near 9:00pm and worked to shut off valves on either side of the break. It then isolated the affected section with machinery for further measure.

When the leak occurred, the liquid anhydrous ammonia turned into a toxic gas, as it does when exposed to oxygen, and rose roughly 30 feet into the air like a misty fog.

Families in the 23 nearby homes were forced to evacuate, and one man lost his life after driving into the toxic mist and crashing his vehicle into a ditch.

Magellan stated it is working hard to return the evacuees back to their homes. An air quality test will occur in the area before people are allowed to return, according to a Magellan spokesman.

Official investigations are ongoing as the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board work on an extensive report on the incident.

The eight-inch pipeline owned by Magellan Midstream Partners is one of two anhydrous pipelines in the U.S., according to a Magellan spokesman. The 1,100-mile section that runs through Nebraska was built in the 1960s. The entire line runs from Borger, Texas through Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota.

Lincoln Journal Star

Crude Oil Pipeline Leak Near Fox Creek, Alberta Under Investigation

Calgary-based Triology Energy Corporation discovered a leak on one of its oil pipelines in northwest Alberta and is currently investigating the cause of the rupture.

The discovery was made Thursday at its Kaybob Montney Oil project near Fox Creek, where the company found oil emulsion in a flowing marsh area.

The company called in the Alberta Energy Regulator to respond to the incident as well as immediately began its emergency response plan.

The affected area of the pipe has been isolated, and investigations are ongoing. The amount of oil that spilled has yet to be determined.

No injuries occurred as a result of the incident, according to the company.

CBC News

Colonial Pipeline: Expect Restart of Ruptured Gasoline Pipeline Wednesday

Colonial Pipeline Company announced Tuesday that it expects the restart of its Line 1 gasoline pipeline on Wednesday after a leak of approximately 6,000 barrels caused major gasoline shortages and higher prices at the pump in the Southeast.

Crews are constructing a bypass line that, when completed, will resume full operation of Line 1, which runs gasoline from the Gulf of Mexico to the East Coast. The bypass is about 500 to 700 feet long and will have roughly the same pressure and capacity specifications as Line 1.

Gas prices have risen significantly in the past week in the affected states, with Georgia getting hit the worst. The cost of fuel rose by 4.5 cents in Georgia overnight, adding to an increase of fuel prices by 25 cents in just a week, according to AAA.

The gasoline leak occurred September 9 on a section of Line 1 in Shelby County, Alabama. A mining inspector detected a gasoline odor while doing work nearby and reported the smell to authorities. The leak was then confirmed by Colonial Pipeline, and officials are currently investigating the cause of the spill, which remains unknown.


Southeast Gas Pumps Experiencing Shortages after Alabama Pipeline Leak

Gas prices are spiking across the Southeast after a pipeline break that leaked approximately 8,000 barrels of gasoline in rural Alabama last week.

The ruptured pipeline is Colonial Pipeline Company’s Line 1 pipeline, which can transport up to 1.2 million barrels of gasoline a day. The company has two main lines and is having to ship significant volumes of gasoline on their second line while they make repairs on Line 1.

Motorists in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina are seeing a growing number of gas stations with covered nozzles indicating they are out of use. And gas stations that are still pumping gas are increasing their prices.

Colonial Pipeline said the company was working “around the clock” to repair the break and get supplies to the affected states. The company also stated over the weekend that it is in the process of constructing a temporary pipeline that will bypass the ruptured section of Line 1 in Shelby County, Alabama.

Meanwhile, federal regulators are in the process of investigating the cause of the pipeline leak, which is currently unknown.

Wall Street Journal

Shelby County Pipeline Leak Spilled an Estimated 250,000 Gallons of Gasoline

Aerial photo of two of the three mine water retention ponds at the incident site. The retention pond on the right is where the gasoline has been contained. ( Colonial Pipeline )

Aerial photo of two of the three mine water retention ponds at the incident site. The retention pond on the right is where the gasoline has been contained. (Colonial Pipeline)

Colonial Pipeline Company now estimates that nearly 6,000 barrels or 252,000 gallons of gasoline were spilled in the pipeline leak last Friday in rural Shelby County, Alabama.

Colonial Pipeline, the largest refined products system in the U.S., shut down two of its main lines, Line 1 and Line 2, after the leak was discovered by workers at a mining operation. Line 2 has restarted since Friday, and the company expects Line 1, which is currently being repaired, to be completely restarted by this weekend.

The company wrote on its spill-response website that there has been no threat to public health or safety.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Federal Government has restricted the airspace above the release location to further protect responders, personnel, and the public,” the company stated.

Most of the spill has been contained in a mining retention pond, and crews are working to remove the gasoline with skimmers. Booms have also been deployed to prevent gasoline from reaching a dry creek bed that runs to Peel Creek.

Nearly 500 employees and contractors are working on the response, according to Colonial Pipeline.

PHMSA officials are currently investigating the cause of the leak.

Colonial Pipeline

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.


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

4,200 Gallons of Crude Oil Spill into Barataria Bay

A crude oil leak occurred on Monday in an abandoned line near Lake Grande Ecaille in Barataria Bay spilling approximately 4,200 gallons of oil into open water in southwest Louisiana.

Officials with Hilcorp Energy, the owner of the affected pipeline, told the Coast Guard the oil flow from a malfunctioning valve was immediately stopped after the spill was discovered and has been contained.

The company reported in a statement that it is currently operating cleanup procedures and will keep state and federal agencies updated on the response. Hilcorp is investigating the leak but says it is too early yet to speculate a possible cause.

A spill response contractor deployed booms to contain part of the spill that affected 8 square miles of water and a patch of wetlands.

Several officials are overseeing the response of the spill, including the Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinators Office, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Houston Chronicle
The Times-Picayune