Wyoming Oil Pipe Spill Caused by Corrosion

By MEAD GRUVER | July 22, 2014

The owner of a pipeline that sprung a leak and spilled 25,000 gallons of crude oil that flowed more than two miles down a gulley in the Powder River Basin said Friday that internal corrosion was to blame.

“It’s pretty well been resolved, and we continue to monitor it. The cleanup and repairs went very well,” said Bob Dundas, environmental coordinator for Casper-based Belle Fourche Pipeline.

He declined to comment on the age of the 6-inch pipeline or whether the company is investigating any corrosion elsewhere in its system.

Belle Fourche Pipeline is a subsidiary of the True Companies.

The spill happened May 19 about 45 miles southeast of Buffalo and 35 miles southwest of Gillette. The oil crossed mostly federal Bureau of Land Management property, but it also crossed state-owned land in a region that has seen a significant increase in oil drilling over the past few years.

A temporary dam stopped the oil just short of flowing onto private land. The oil remained a couple miles away from reaching the Powder River.

Belle Fourche Pipeline workers burned the oil to clean it up.

The Bureau of Land Management has been investigating the spill but as of Friday had not released findings. BLM Buffalo Field Office Manager Duane Spencer didn’t return a message seeking an update on the investigation.

Nobody was working in the area of the buried pipeline at the time of the leak.

The oil didn’t pose a threat to groundwater in the remote area, agency officials said.

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