BP Restarts Pipeline after Gasoline Spill in Washington State

Reuters, December 18, 2023

BP has restarted its Olympic Pipeline that had leaked roughly 25,000 gallons of gasoline near Mount Vernon in Washington state, a source familiar with the pipeline's operations said on Thursday.

The pipeline was restarted following repairs, integrity testing, and regulatory approval of the restart plan, the source said. The company has been cleaning up the spill since Sunday with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and local officials.

Nearly 7,000 gallons had been recovered, according to the latest update from BP and the EPA on Wednesday, which added that at least one American beaver, one pine siskin bird, and one mallard duck died due to the spill.

The leak was caused by a tubing failure inside a concrete vault that connected one of the pipelines to a pressure sensor, and the main pipeline was shut down by Monday after detecting a loss in pressure.

Gasoline was 2 cents stronger at 5 cents a gallon under NYMEX January gasoline futures in the Pacific Northwest market, traders said on Thursday.

Around 2,100 feet (640 meters) of boom remained deployed to contain the spill and no gasoline or sheen has been seen on the Skagit River, while State Route 534 reopened to one-way traffic, according to BP and the EPA.

The Olympic Pipeline had ruptured in June 1999, spilling over 230,000 gallons of gasoline that caught fire near Bellingham, Washington, and killed three young people.

The explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 led to the largest oil spill in U.S. history that left 11 rig workers dead and caused $70 billion in damages.

(Reporting by Deep Vakil and Seher Dareen; Additional reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Lisa Shumaker, Aurora Ellis and Deepa Babington)

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