1.3 Million Gallons Of Crude Bubbles Up In A North Dakota Wheat Field

A Good Thing Farmer Discovered the Spill In His Wheatfield Because the Pipeline Operator Had No Idea

North Dakota Pipeline Spill 2013
This spill is roughly three times the mess Exxon made in Mayflower, AR in March 2013. Wait! You didn’t hear about that one either?

In late September, North Dakota farmer Steven Jensen discovered more than a million gallons of crude oil flowing into a wheat field on his 1,800 property in western North Dakota. And it’s a good thing he did, because the pipeline operator, Tesoro “Logistics” LP had no idea there was a hole in their six inch underground pipe. The official contaminated area is 7 acres. The 20 year old pipeline was originally built by BP, so you know it’s a quality engineering job.

The crude originated in the huge Bakken shale play, a booming oil reserve that made possible by hydraulic fracturing technology. As for the estimate, it was provided by the company…but most of it took place underground. The cleanup is expected to take a few years, but meanwhile, the company is going to INVESTIGATE. And they will find that it was caused by corrosion, which is caused by lack of interest in maintenance, which is caused by excessive interest in profit, which is OK because it’s ultimately less expensive to pay a few half-hearted fines.

The few media outlets that have bothered to mention the Bakken pipeline breach describe it as the Bakken oil field’s first big spill. But it isn’t the first spill or contamination incident. In 2011, oil companies in North Dakota reported more than 1,000 accidental releases of crude oil or wastewater brine, and we bet there might have been more. You see, the oil companies are required to notify the North Dakota Health Department about any spills, but the state is not required to notify the public. Cause even in states owned by the oil companies, there are a disgruntled few who will complain about oil in their groundwater.

The more drilling you do, the more screwups there are, and the incidents of pipeline spills in North America are increasing significantly. Some of them are accidental, but many of them are illegal dumping incidents. But if the state regulators don’t care, why should we? The people of North Dakota won’t really stop to consider the price they have paid until the last oil truck pulls out.

For a global perspective on oil and gas leaks, explosions and other screw ups, visit the CatMap Petroleum Screw Ups Map


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