BISMARCK, N.D. — More than 20,000 barrels of crude oil have spewed out of a Tesoro Corp. oil pipeline in a wheat field in northwestern North Dakota, the state Health Department said Thursday.
State environmental geologist Kris Roberts said the 20,600-barrel spill, among the largest recorded in the state, was discovered on Sept. 29 by a farmer harvesting wheat about nine miles north of Tioga.
"The farmer was harvesting his wheat and started smelling oil," Roberts said. "It went from there."
The release of oil has been stopped, the spill contained and no water sources have been contaminated, Roberts said. The spill is spread out over 7.3 acres, or about the size of seven football fields, Roberts said, noting an oil pipeline breach in the late 1980s in the northeast corner of the state was larger.
Tesoro Logistics, a subsidiary of the San Antonio, Texas-based company that owns and operates parts of Tesoro's oil infrastructure, said in a statement that the affected portion of the pipeline has been shut down.
"There have been no injuries or known impacts to water, wildlife or the surrounding environment as a result of this incident," the statement read.
"Protection and care of the environment are fundamental to our core values, and we deeply regret any impact to the landowner," Tesoro CEO Greg Goff said in a statement. "We will continue to work tirelessly to fully remediate the release area."
The hole in the pipeline was a quarter-inch in diameter, said Eric Haugstad, Tesoro's director of contingency planning and emergency response.