By LYNN DOAN
Tesoro accepted a federal order requiring upgrades on its
oil pipeline system spanning North Dakota and Montana that
clears the company to restart a section shut since a 20,000 bbl
spill discovered September 29.
The United States Department of Transportations
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, known
as Phmsa, issued a safety order allowing Tesoro to restart a 56
km section of the 200 mile High Plains pipeline system. The
order requires weekly aerial patrols of the line for a year and
new leak detectors along all regulated sections of the High
The spill in North Dakota last month and debate over
TransCanada's Keystone XL proposal have renewed criticism over
the governments regulation of pipelines as a boom in
domestic oil production drives increasing investments in new
and expanded networks to deliver the oil to market.
Safety is our highest priority, United States
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.
Todays safety order is an important step to protect
the people and environment in this area and to
strengthen the integrity of the pipeline so that something like
this doesnt happen again.
Tesoro accepted the safety order, Tina Barbee, a spokeswoman
at Tesoros headquarters in San Antonio, said by e- mail.
She declined to say when the section of the pipeline that
leaked will return to service.
The segment, used for both oil-gathering and transmission,
runs from Tioga to Black Slough, North Dakota, according to
Barbee. The line carries oil to a rail site at Battleview,
North Dakota, Maxine Herr, a spokeswoman for the state Mineral
Resources Department in Bismarck, said by telephone October
Phmsas safety order shows the line was carrying oil
from a field in North Dakotas Bakken formation at the
time of the leak. A preliminary analysis indicates that a
strong electrical discharge such as lightning caused the
pipe failure, according to the agency.