pipeline spill | Prairie Public Broadcasting

pipeline spill

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota’s Energy and Environmental Research center has been doing research into ways to detect oil and gas leaks, as well as produced water leaks, under its "iPipe" program.

"iPipe" stands for "intelligent Pipeline Integrity Program."

EERC's Jay Almlie said one of its successes is in the use of staellite data to detect oil, produced water and methane leaks. A company called "Satelytics" has been working on that project. Almlie said it issues "red flags" to indicate leaks.

EERC-led project aims to reduce oil spills

Dec 18, 2019
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

UND’s Energy and Environmental Research Center is heading a program to more quickly detect weaknesses and leaks in pipelines.

It’s called the “intelligent Pipeline Integrity Program” – iPipe.

EERC’s Jay Almlie said it brings together researchers and industry to test new technologies. Almlie told the state Industrial Commission about some of the successes. One is “Pipers,” a company based in Calgary, Alberta. It uses a golf-ball sized device, dropped into the pipeline.

"This really is 'Star Trek' technology," Almlie told the Commission.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has approved a plan to convert about 20 miles of 8-inch oil pipeline in McKenzie County from a gathering line to a transmission line.

But that approval came after the company – Belle Fourche – already made the conversion.

Gathering lines are less regulated than transmission lines.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said PSC staff will be having some conversations with the company about the right way to make these conversions. She said she wants to deter companies from taking this approach. That could lead to financial penalties.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Representatives of Trans-Canada -- the owner of the Keystone Pipeline -- met with North Dakota’s Public Service Commissioners to talk about a big oil spill in northern South Dakota, and the company’s response to it.

The pipeline leaked 210,000 gallons of oil near the South Dakota city of Amherst.

The Keystone Pipeline runs through North Dakota into South Dakota.

Pipeline leak empties saltwater near Lake Sakakawea

Jul 11, 2014

A leaky pipeline has spilled about 1 million gallons of saltwater into a bay off of Lake Sakakawea. It’s the latest in a series of dramatic saltwater spills in oil country.

The pipeline runs along the shore of Bear Den Bay on Lake Sakakawea. That’s a reservoir on the Missouri River that supplies drinking water to the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

“You can’t really see the salt but you know what salt water does to the vegetation.”