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Fossil Fuel Spill Updates: Keystone Pipeline and Others


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#21 LFC

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 05:01 PM

One week later and how is Keystone doing on the cleanup? Just a little over 10% of the oil has been recovered. The remainder is expected to take weeks. And remember, folks, this spill happened in an open ag field which is one of the best case scenarios for a spill since it's not too close to a waterway or aquifer.

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The clean-up of an oil spill from TransCanada Corp’s Keystone pipeline may last several weeks, South Dakota’s environmental regulator said on Wednesday, but it is still unclear when the key artery will restart.

Last week, the Keystone system linking Alberta’s oil sands with U.S. refineries spilled 5,000 barrels in rural northeastern South Dakota, four days before neighboring Nebraska voted to remove a big regulatory obstacle for the company’s Keystone XL project.

“We expect it to take several weeks. Our focus is making sure they do that clean-up in accordance with our regulations,” said Brian Walsh, environmental scientist manager for the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

TransCanda has so far recovered 571 barrels of oil, a spokesman said. “Repair plans will be confirmed once we are able to safely expose the impacted section of pipe,” he said, adding that the company is working with the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on a return to service date for the 590,000 barrel per day pipeline.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

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#22 J-CA

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Posted 23 November 2017 - 06:27 AM

View PostLFC, on 21 November 2017 - 10:10 AM, said:

FMI, do you know what causes them to be unreliable? Is it the actual detection system sensors that are failing or is it something to do with the actual pipeline?
I don't know, an acquaintance of mine is an inspector, his job is to physically inspect them and he says it is a problem but he didn't say why (I doubt he would know either).
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#23 HockeyDon

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 10:08 AM

Just guessing here.

Think of automotive brakes. When air gets in the line, you press the brake pedal and get a softer feel, the car brakes more slowly, etc. In those cases, less pressure is applied to the brake pads than you are using on the brake pedal.

In the pipeline, the same pressure is being applied at the front end of the system, but way down stream at the tail end of the system if you have any sort of air contamination you'll get a reduction in the amount of pressure detected.

I'd guess they have a margin for error on these. The pump is probably also using more pressure than is strictly necessary to compensate for the great distances and the possibility of that air contamination.

One would think that regularly spaced sensors that could gather more data points and data types (perhaps volume?) then use some sort of computing machine to determine if you've somehow misplaced half a million gallons of this stuff. I mean, I misplaced a sock, which is a fairly low-value item, the other day and was able to determine that fact pretty easily. You'd think that misplacing millions of dollars of crude oil would be higher on the priority list.
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#24 indy

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 10:22 AM

I think there are a host of technologies available for leak detection, some internal to the pipe (e.g., pressure and flow sensor/observations) and some external (e.g., oil vapor detection?, infrared flyover?). Each, I'm sure, has it's trade offs in total lifetime cost vs effectiveness and each fails in its own way but I'm pretty sure they will all fail eventually, especially if not maintained properly.

#25 LFC

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 11:15 PM

Eh, what's another 380,000+ gallons.

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TC Energy’s Keystone pipeline leaked an estimated 383,000 gallons (1.4 million liters) of oil in northeastern North Dakota, state regulators said Thursday.

Crews on Tuesday shut down the pipeline that carries tar sands oil from Canada through seven states after the leak was discovered said Karl Rockeman, North Dakota’s water quality division director. It remained closed Thursday.

The Calgary, Alberta-based company formerly known as TransCanada said in a statement the leak affected about 22,500 square feet (2090.3 sq. meters) of land near Edinburg, in Walsh County.

The company and regulators said cause was being investigated.

“Our emergency response team contained the impacted area and oil has not migrated beyond the immediately affected area,” the company said in a statement.

North Dakota regulators were notified late Tuesday night of the leak. Rockeman said some wetlands were affected, but not any sources of drinking water.

Regulators have been at the site since Wednesday afternoon monitoring the spill and cleanup, he said.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

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#26 Rich T Bikkies

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Posted 02 November 2019 - 02:49 AM

US gallons are smaller than imperial gallons. So it could have been worse. Let's look on the bright side!
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#27 LFC

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 07:36 PM

View PostLFC, on 01 November 2019 - 11:15 PM, said:


We have a revision of the area impacted.

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he amount of land impacted by an oil spill in North Dakota is almost 10 times larger than initially reported, officials say. The disclosure comes about a month after the Keystone 1 Pipeline leaked about 383,040 gallons of oil.

TC Energy, the company that owns the pipeline, shut down it down on October 29 after discovering that the oil had leaked from the pipe into the surrounding wetlands. The pipeline was returned to service on November 10 following approval by the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, TC Energy says.

Initial reports of the leak released by TC Energy and North Dakota's Department of Environmental Quality estimated about 2,500 square yards of land were affected by the spill.

Now, they have both revised the size of the impacted area to 4.8 acres, or 23,232 square yards -- that's almost ten times the original estimate.

The new estimate includes both the surface and subsurface impact of the leak. The initial 2,500-square-yard estimate was based on visual observations alone, the company told CNN.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#28 LFC

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 05:55 PM

The state of North Dakota appears to be hiding an oil spill that rivals the Exxon Valdez spill of roughly 11,000,000 gallons. It looks like they're trying to allow the company to try to clean it up over a period of years (only about half done as of last year) without letting the public, NOAA, or the EPA know about it.

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In July 2015 workers at the Garden Creek I Gas Processing Plant, in Watford City, North Dakota, noticed a leak in a pipeline and reported a spill to the North Dakota Department of Health that remains officially listed as 10 gallons, the size of two bottled water delivery jugs.

But a whistle-blower has revealed to DeSmog the incident is actually on par with the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, which released roughly 11 million gallons of thick crude.

The Garden Creek spill “is in fact over 11 million gallons of condensate that leaked through a crack in a pipeline for over 3 years,” says the whistle-blower, who has expertise in environmental science but refused to be named or give other background information for fear of losing their job. They provided to DeSmog a document that details remediation efforts and verifies the spill’s monstrous size.

“Up to 5,500,000 gallons” of hydrocarbons have been removed from the site, the 2018 document states, “based upon an…estimate of approximately 11 million gallons released.”

Garden Creek is operated by the Oklahoma-based oil and gas service company, ONEOK Partners, and processes natural gas and natural gas liquids, also called natural gas condensate, brought to the facility via pipeline from Bakken wells.

Neither the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which monitors coastal spills, nor the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could provide records to put the spill’s size in context, but according to available reports, if the 11-million-gallon figure is accurate, the Garden Creek spill appears to be among the largest recorded oil and gas industry spills in the history of the United States.

However, the American public is unaware, because the spill remains officially listed as just 10 gallons. That is despite the fact that a North Dakota regulator has acknowledged the spill was much larger, and even the official record, right after stating the spill was 10 gallons, notes that the area was “saturated with natural gas condensate of an unknown volume,” and thus may have been larger.

Scott Skokos, Executive Director of the Dakota Resource Council, an organization that works to protect North Dakota’s natural resources and family farms, questioned whether it was legal for the state to cover up or downplay spills.

“I have seen many instances where it appears spills are being covered up, and there appears to be a pattern of downplaying spills, which makes the narrative surrounding oil and gas development look rosy and makes the industry look better politically,” says Skokos. “If this pattern is as widespread as it seems, then we have a government that is conspiring to protect the oil industry. This is not only reckless and unethical, but also potentially illegal.”

“In my view,” Skokos added, “this is not looking out for the best interest of the state or the people who live in the state, it is only looking out for corporations. And these are not even corporate citizens of this state, they are corporate citizens of somewhere else.”

Spills are pervasive in North Dakota’s oil industry and have been the focus of numerous media reports. “State regulators have often been unable — or unwilling — to compel energy companies to clean up their mess,” ProPublica reported in a 2012 investigation.

A 2015 Inside Energy article noted state reports “are riddled with inaccuracies and estimates” and cited a 2011 spill of oil and gas wastewater by a Texas-based company listed as 12,600 gallons but later determined to be at least two million gallons. An eight-year database of spills compiled by the New York Times in 2014 showed two spills of roughly one million gallons.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#29 LFC

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 06:08 PM

The North Dakota whistleblower came out and reported a culture of lax concerns over safety. Welcome to Republican paradise where regulations aren't enforced and industry is allowed to police itself because, yeah, that's worked before.

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Two North Dakota gas processing plants in the heart of the Bakken oil fields have shown signs of an eroded safety culture and startling construction problems, according to Paul Lehto, a 54-year-old former gas plant operator who has come out as a whistleblower. He described worrisome conditions at the Lonesome Creek plant, in Alexander, and the Garden Creek plant, in Watford City, where DeSmog recently revealed one of the largest oil and gas industry spills in U.S. history had occurred. Both plants process natural gas brought via pipeline from Bakken wells and are run by the Oklahoma-based oil and gas service company, ONEOK Partners.

“The safety culture is embarrassing,” said Lehto, who has described to DeSmog the discovery of dozens of loose bolts along critical sections of piping, and other improperly set equipment, deficiencies he attributes to the frenzied rush of the oil boom that has dominated the state’s landscape and economy. “North Dakota is basically a Petrostate,” said Lehto, who worked at the two plants between 2015 and 2016. “There is regulatory capture, and sure that happens in other areas, but nowhere is it more extreme than in North Dakota.”

“The reason I am coming forward is that while I didn’t think ONEOK was doing their job, I still trusted the state to regulate and do its job,” said Lehto. “But in reading what the state’s response was to the condensate spill, I have lost all confidence that the state is acting as a legitimate regulator.”

Furthermore, a trove of documents received by DeSmog from the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) under a public records request has revealed that despite state regulators listing the Garden Creek spill as just 10 gallons from 2015 to 2019, an intense multi-year cleanup operation was underway to remove the spilled natural gas condensate from the grounds of the plant. According to a cleanup document, the ground well beneath the plant became saturated with condensate, so much so that even 18 feet down, a “pure gasoline-like odor” was detected.

Also, groundwater at one monitoring well registered the carcinogen benzene at levels nearly 2,000 times that required by the state health department.

DeSmog has also received new information to indicate that the Garden Creek spill, whose size continues to be downplayed in statements to the media by DEQ officials, was indeed officially estimated at 11 million gallons. This puts the release, in terms of gallons spilled, on par with the infamous 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska and secures Garden Creek a spot as one of the largest industry spills in U.S. history. ONEOK has not received any fines from North Dakota regulators for the spill.

“Eleven million gallons just barely underground but steadily evaporating, and lots of benzene which is really nasty stuff,” said Lehto, who says ONEOK never officially informed him about the spill. “It’s like working on a health time bomb, we are the guinea pigs for the largest condensate spill in U.S. history. I am glad I got out but feel sorry for workers still there.”

ONEOK spokesperson Brad Borror rejected the idea that workers are at risk. “We have performed assessments and sampling for our employees and contractors, including soil vapor analysis and indoor and outdoor air monitoring at the facility,” he said.


Here's more on what the workers were exposed to. Again the ONEOK spokesperson downplayed it.

Quote

One of Lehto’s tasks was to inspect the grounds twice a shift, often with an instrument called a “sniffer” that detects volatile organic compounds, which the EPA says are “of concern” as air pollutants, and other hydrocarbon emissions.

“Everywhere I looked I would get readings, sometimes so hot the equipment would actually shut down,” said Lehto, whose Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, included a fire-resistant uniform, hard hat, steel toe boots, safety glasses, and earplugs but no mask or respirator. “The Garden Creek facility was literally sitting on a lake of spilled condensate.”

Borror with ONEOK put it differently. “The air monitoring assessments have not indicated a need for our plant-based employees and contractors to wear additional PPE, such as respiratory equipment,” he said. “The condensate release occurred in the subsurface soil and remains in the subsurface until it’s recovered using a robust combination of systems.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#30 LFC

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Posted 16 April 2020 - 04:44 PM

Keystone XL was just handed a setback in court.

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Indigenous rights groups and climate action campaigners credited their years-long effort to block the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline with securing the latest legal victory against TC Energy on Wednesday after a federal judge in Montana invalidated a water-crossing permit needed to build the pipeline.

Judge Brian Morris ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued the permit without conducting a thorough assessment of the harm the pipeline would cause to endangered species in waterways along the oil infrastructure’s planned route, which stretches 1,179 miles from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska.

Morris ordered a suspension of construction and the USACE was ordered to complete a formal analysis of the pipeline’s potential impact on endangered species. If completed, the pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of tar sands oil per day.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#31 Traveler

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Posted 18 April 2020 - 02:21 PM

Right now the pipelines are empty. And not likely to resume filling any time soon.
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#32 baw1064

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Posted 18 April 2020 - 06:00 PM

View PostTraveler, on 18 April 2020 - 02:21 PM, said:

Right now the pipelines are empty. And not likely to resume filling any time soon.

Contrary to all expectations, they've unwittingly achieved an impressive environmental record of late!
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#33 LFC

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 03:10 PM

A quick search since April turns up a few more spills. Here's the Trans Mountain spill in Canada in June which dumped 50,000 gallons right in the middle of a wetland that sits on an aquifer.

Quote

Wilderness Committee drone photos taken late Sunday afternoon show the extent of an oil spill this weekend from the Trans Mountain pipeline, despite the company’s attempts to minimize the situation.

“We’re talking about a major oil spill in a waterlogged field that sits above the Sumas aquifer,” said Climate Campaigner Peter McCartney. “This is a disaster.”

Trans Mountain says its pipeline spilt 150,000 to 190,000 litres of crude oil on Saturday morning and images show the spill was not cleaned up by the time the company planned on restarting the flow of oil. It rained throughout the weekend.

This is only the latest of around 90 major spills from the 67-year old pipeline and highlights the extreme risks to local ecosystems posed by the federal government’s planned expansion of the project.


Exxon had to shut down a diluent pipeline in Alberta for a leak at the end of August. It's not just the crude oil that can be a problem.

Quote

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Imperial Oil shut down its oil-sands mine after a spill from a pipeline that supplies diluent to the operation, adding to the woes of Canada’s beleaguered energy industry.

Imperial announced the ramp-down of its Kearl mine in northern Alberta on Wednesday, following a leak Saturday that led Inter Pipeline Ltd. to shut the west segment of its 240,000-barrel-a-day Polaris system. The diluent Polaris supplies to sites operated by Imperial and Husky Energy Inc. is mixed with the sticky bitumen they produce, so that it can be shipped by pipeline.


I wonder how much we the taxpayers have been stuck with for the cleanup bills.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#34 LFC

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Posted 16 February 2021 - 03:24 PM

Refineries should not be adjacent to large bodies of moving water. If a spill can't be adequately contained then the facility doesn't belong there.

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Emergency crews in Richmond, California, are rushing to clean up an estimated 600 gallons of oil that spilled from a Chevron refinery into the San Francisco Bay. Details on the spill are still scant, but the emergency has reinvigorated calls from residents and environmentalists for the city to change its relationship with the refinery.

The spill at the Chevron Wharf, which poured unabated for nearly two hours on Tuesday, cast a brownish sheen across the waters of the north-eastern part of the bay where harbor seals haul out, migratory birds skim the water, and residents live and recreate.

“It smelled like somebody spilled gasoline in front of my house,” Richmond resident Margaret Berczynski told ABC News. “I cannot take my kids to the water, I cannot walk on water, I cannot enjoy it. I’m really scared,” she added.

Sprawling across close to 3,000 acres on the peninsula hillsides overlooking the Pacific, Chevron’s Richmond refinery churns out 245,000 barrels of crude oil a day. The refinery is older than the city itself, which is located 12 miles from San Francisco and counts roughly 110,000 residents. Tuesday’s spill is just the latest incident in a long history of environmental and public health hazards associated with the oil company in Richmond.

The refinery is one of California’s largest polluters, casting toxins into the sky and sea even during normal operations. State records show the refinery released nearly the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 that it did a decade prior.

In 2012, an explosion released black clouds of toxic smoke into the air that sent more than 15,000 people to the hospital. In the last five years, the refinery has been hit with 147 formal enforcement actions, according to documents from the US Environmental Protection Agency. Late last year, Chevron agreed to a settlement with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District for 29 violations issued between 2016 and 2018. Recent increases in flaring – when excess gases are burned off – have also caused community concern.

Richmond has become known as one of the biggest battlegrounds for environmental justice in the US, and Tuesday’s spill renewed calls from activists for the city to end its century-long relationship with the refinery.

“These refineries are a clear, present and ongoing danger to the residents who are forced to live near them,” said Andrés Soto, an organizer at Communities for a Better Environment, an advocacy organization. “These are mostly communities of color,” he added, “and this is disproportionately impacting African Americans, Latinos, working-class and immigrant Asians and working-class and poor whites”.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer





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