“Ron Burgundy” Leaking Oil in North Dakota

Stopping the Keystone XL pipeline ensures more railroad tank-car spills, as Terry Anderson with the Bozeman, MT-based PERC writes in The Wall Street Journal.  Meanwhile, an effort to build an oil pipeline to Canada’s east coast gains ground.  

Those stories are below, but first- I figured this might catch your eye: “Ron Burgundy” is Leaking Oil (h/t Politico’s “Morning Energy”)

An oil well near the town of Tioga, North Dakota continued to leak oil, gas and fracking fluid on Monday, days after authorities learned about the problem, a local official said.

The Department of Mineral Resources said the incident occurred at the Ron Burgundy 3-23-14H well, around eight miles northwest of Tioga.

(Williams County emergency coordinator Mike Hallesy) said the spill had so far been contained with berms and that excess liquid was being trucked out of the area to disposal sites. He said he didn’t have any information about the size of the spill yet.

Terry Anderson in the WSJ: Stopping Keystone Ensures More Railroad Tank-Car Spills

President Obama’s own State Department answered the comparison question plainly in February. According to the report, pipelines larger than 12 inches in diameter in 2013 spilled more than 910,000 gallons of crude oil and petroleum products—compared with 1.15 million gallons for tank cars, the worst in decades. Comparing total oil spilled makes it appear, at first glance, that pipeline and rail safety records are similar. That’s only until you factor in that pipelines carry nearly 25 times more crude oil and petroleum products.

Consider the safety record of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, which includes the huge 48-inch-diameter mainline pipe carrying crude from Prudhoe Bay, 11 pumping stations, several hundred miles of feeder pipelines and the Valdez Marine Terminal. The largest oil spill in the system occurred in 1978 when an unknown person blasted a one-inch hole into a pipeline. It leaked 16,000 barrels and had no disastrous effects.

The debate over the Keystone XL vs. railcar transport can be likened to the safety of offshore vs. onshore oil production. By putting nearly 60% of potentially oil-rich onshore lands off limits, we have forced exploration and production offshore. Oil production onshore is safer than offshore just as pipelines are safer than tank cars. While the Deep Water Horizon oil spill well gushed nearly five million barrels into the Gulf of Mexico over an 87-day period beginning on April 20, 2010, a blowout in western Pennsylvania in June (while Deep Water Horizon was spilling) was capped in 16 hours and spilled only a few thousand gallons.

Bloomberg.com: Keystone Delays Fuel Push for Canada East Oil Pipeline

Delays by the U.S. in reviewing Keystone XL are helping build momentum for an oil pipeline to Canada’s East Coast.

TransCanada Corp. (TRP), the company proposing the $5.4 billion conduit to connect Alberta’s oil sands with U.S. Gulf Coast refiners, may have an easier path to approval with its alternative to the nation’s Atlantic Coast. The C$12 billion ($11 billion) Energy East would be North America’s largest oil line, with capacity to ship 1.1 million barrels a day.

Canada’s crude output will more than double to 6.7 million barrels a day by 2030 provided new export conduits are built, according to a report last year from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

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