Tesoro reports larger leak from oil pipeline

A Tesoro Logistics LP pipeline has leaked 20,600 barrels of crude oil in a wheat field in northwestern North Dakota, the North Dakota Department of Health said Thursday.

The leak was discovered on Sept. 29, and Tesoro has been working to recover oil and define the leak’s area, said Dennis Fewless, director of the water quality division for the North Dakota Department of Health.

The pipeline leak was initially reported as 750 barrels, “but now they’ve fully delineated it, it’s 20,600 barrels,” Fewless said. A barrel of oil contains 42 gallons.

“No surface water or groundwater is threatened,” Fewless said. The leak “is on top of a hill in a wheat field. So it’s as good a situation as we can hope for when you have a leak.”

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The leak came from a Tesoro Logistics pipeline that’s buried about six feet below the surface. There is a clay layer about 12 feet below the surface, so “any release would go to that clay and then stop. It’s a natural barrier,” Fewless said.

The clean-up “will take awhile,” he said, because the area of the crude-oil release is estimated at 7.3 acres, he said.

The leak occurred about 9 miles north of the city of Tioga, N.D., Fewless said.

Tesoro officials did not immediately replay to an email query seeking more information.

Locally based Tesoro Logistics is a master limited partnership that owns pipelines, storage, terminals and rail facilities.

San Antonio refiner Tesoro Corp. partially spun off Tesoro Logistics in April 2011, and holds a stake in the partnership.

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