As French Courts uphold the ban on fracking in France and South African government paves the way for fracking the world’s 5th largest shale resource in the Karoo, John Berger manager of Tesoro Mandan refinery and board member of the North Dekota petroleum council brushes off largest onshore oil spill in US history.
Over 20,600 barrels (equivalent to 865,200 gallons) of oil fracked from the Bakken Shale has spilled from a Tesoro Logistics pipeline in Tioga affecting over 7.3 acres of land. The spill was bigger than the April 2013 ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline spill, which spewed 5,000-7,000 barrels of tar sands into a residential neighborhood in Mayflower, Arkansas.
Even though it took more than 8 days to clean a mere 6% of the spill, Kris Roberts, environmental geologist for the North Dakota Department of Health Division of Water Quality was quoted saying that he was “impressed with Tesoro’s handling of the cleanup”. Tesoro Logistics Chairman and CEO Greg Goff responded to the spill by saying: “Protection and care of the environment are fundamental to our core values, and we deeply regret any impact to the landowner. We will continue to work tirelessly to fully remediate the release area.”
Tesoro’s six-inch pipeline was carrying oil obtained via the controversial hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) process to the Stampede, ND rail facility. From Stampede, Canadian Pacific’s freight trains take the oil piped from Tesoro’s pipeline and ship it to an Albany, NY holding facility by Global Partners located along the Hudson River.
Once shipped to Global’s Albany holding facility, much of the oil is barged to market on tankers along the Hudson from the Port of Albany. “As much as a quarter of the shale oil being produced in North Dakota could soon be headed by rail to the Port of Albany,” explained an April 2012 article appearing in the Albany Times-Union. “The crude oil…will be loaded onto barges to be shipped down the Hudson River to refineries along the East Coast.” North Dakota Petroleum Council president Ron Ness further responded by saying: “You know, this is an industrial business and sometimes things happen and the companies are certainly responsible to take care of these things when they happen.”
Meanwhile in South Africa:
After 4 years of intense lobbying by anti fracking groups in South Africa, the South African government is climbing into bed with one of the world’s most environmentally damaging companies – Royal Dutch Shell.
With the lure of over R1BN of direct investment and ministerial greased palms, Shell will oversee the social and economic boom and bust cycle of the drought stricken Karoo desert region in South Africa.
With many Karoo towns running out of water and residents relying on the mercy of travellers passing through to hand out bottled water, government has decided that neither the critically scarce water supply, unique and highly vulnerable eco-system or the numerous documented dangers of fracking is enough of a deterrent.
Around 20 million litres of fresh water is required for one frack per well, as well as thousands of litres of chemicals ranging from benign to highly toxic, some of which are known carcinogens.