Tesoro says 'developing plans' to restart North Dakota crude line after leak

Houston (Platts)--14 Oct 2013 1238 pm EDT/1638 GMT

Tesoro Corporation Monday said it has begun developing plans to restart the segment of a six-inch diameter Tioga to Black Slough, North Dakota, that was shut September 29 following a leak of about 20,000 barrels of crude oil.

"We have begun developing plans to restart the pipeline, and we will share those plans with PHMSA," spokeswoman Tina Barbee said in an email Monday.

The company, however, was not able to provide a timeline as to how long it will take to re-mediate the oil leak northeast of Tioga.

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"At this time, we are unable to provide a specific timeline," Barbee said.

Press reports say the remediation of the oil leak could take several years.

The cause of the leak has not been reported by Tesoro except that the pipeline, part of a gathering system, has stopped operating and repairs are underway.

Tesoro said it informed the authorities on September 29 of a leak of about 1,000 barrels of crudes and subsequently updated its report accordingly.

"We issued a press release to inform stakeholders subsequent to updating our report with authorities, which was based on further examination of the site after the initial observation, Barbee said. "To clarify, stakeholders include community members, elected officials, customers, business partners, shareholders and other interested parties."

North Dakota industry sources said the US federal government's shutdown could have resulted in the delayed release of information on the oil leak to the public.

The first public information of this leak came about when Tesoro published a statement on its website, which has since been withdrawn.

"The [crude oil] release is contained within this seven and a half acre area, vertically by a naturally occurring clay layer, horizontally by Tesoro installed interceptor trenches," spokeswoman Tina Barbee said in an email.

"We will continue to work closely with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the North Dakota Department of Health, local law enforcement, as well as public safety and regulatory authorities throughout the remediation process until completed."

--Esa Ramasamy,
--Edited by Jonathan Dart,

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