Stretch Zone Movement Causes 3 large Oil spills in Canada, two this month!


Third oil spill fuels calls for Alberta pipeline review

“About 230,000 litres of heavy crude oil spilled from a pumping station on an Enbridge Inc. pipeline onto farmland, Alberta’s oil and gas regulator, the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), said Tuesday.

The regulator said 1,450 barrels of oil spilled from a pumping station on Enbridge’s Athabasca pipeline, 24 kilometres from Elk Point, Alta., a small town roughly 200 kilometres northeast of Edmonton. That pipeline, briefly shut down but then restarted Tuesday, connects the oil sands with Hardisty, Canada’s most important crude oil hub. The spill comes while crews are still working to clean up two other large leaks in Alberta, nearly 800,000 litres of oil from a Pace Oil & Gas Ltd. well about 200 kilometres from the Northwest Territories border, and 160,000 to 480,000 litres from a Plains Midstream Canada pipeline that ruptured beneath the Red Deer River.

 Environmental groups are now seizing on the confluence of accidents, which includes another massive spill from a Plains pipe last year, to call for an expansive look at pipeline safety in Alberta.”

“Given the significant number of pipeline spills in recent months, Alberta should conduct a review of the integrity of Alberta’s pipeline system,” said Simon Dyer, policy director with Alberta’s the Pembina Institute. “Pipeline spills are inevitable but the risks can be reduced through stronger regulation and practices.”




ZetaTalk about Stretch Zone Accidents

Stretch zone incidents - where rock pulls apart or snaps, creating booms and vibrations and hums, dropping bridges that lose their moorings or snapping gas and water mains, or creating sinkholes or crevasses - are not considered earthquake incidents. Quakes occur when rock borders slide along each other or push under one another, creating a jolt or a series of jolts. Stretch zone accidents  only happen when major plate movement is occurring, and are usually silent so do not get the attention that jolting earthquakes get. A bridge slips off its mooring and is attributed to heavy trucks or poor construction. A sinkhole appears and is attributed to ground water erosion. A building implodes and is attributed to settling, even though the building may have been there for centuries.


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Comment by Howard on September 17, 2016 at 4:50am

Leak From Biggest U.S. Gasoline Pipe Sparks ‘Red Alert’ (Sep 16)

Gasoline prices are set to jump across the eastern U.S. after a spill from the country’s largest fuel pipeline choked off supplies.

A leak in Alabama Sept. 9 shut the main gasoline pipeline delivering fuel from refineries along the Gulf Coast to 50 million Americans in states from Mississippi to New Jersey. Colonial Pipeline Co. said on Thursday it pushed back the estimate for a complete startup of its Line 1 to next week from this weekend, citing adverse weather conditions overnight that slowed the cleanup and repair.

Suppliers are moving gasoline and diesel by sea and sending trucks to distant terminals to bring fuel to consumers, but it won’t come close to the 1.3 million barrels a day that the shuttered line normally carries.

"The thing is that there is a time pressure. No one is exactly sure when the pipeline will be completely fixed," Patricia Hemsworth, senior vice president at Paragon Global Markets in New York, said by message.

Colonial is delivering some gasoline through a pipe that typically carries jet fuel and diesel, though the company hasn’t said how much. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency temporarily lifted requirements on fuel quality amid what it described as “extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstance,” and Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina governors lifted rules that limit how many hours fuel truckers can work. A tanker carrying fuel from the Houston area to New York has been rerouted to Savannah, Georgia, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

Red Alert

North American fuel distributor Mansfield Oil Co. on Thursday urged its customers to take fuel-saving measures over the next week and place orders early as its supply distribution network was impacted from Mississippi to Maryland.

"Mansfield’s Supply and Logistics Teams are meeting daily and treating this situation with the same importance and urgency as a natural disaster and moving to Red Alert," the company said in its online daily newsletter to customers.

Prices may rise as much as 15 cents a gallon over the next week in parts of the eastern U.S. due to the shutdown, Patrick DeHaan, an analyst with GasBuddy, said in a tweet.

“It’s likely to get worse before it gets any better,” he said by phone. “It’s really a race against the clock -- will there be gasoline available to replenish those terminals before they draw down?”

Retailers in Nashville and Atlanta were required to sell summer-grade gasoline, which carries a lower vapor pressure than fuels used in the winter, through Thursday. The EPA is waiving the federal mandates to distribute the fuel with low volatility amid the regional shortages.

Gasoline futures rose 3.53 cents a gallon at 10:57 a.m. Friday after jumping 6.87 cents the day before. The premium of October contracts over November has widened on concern that prompt supply at the delivery point for the New York Mercantile Exchange will become scarce. The eastern U.S. relies on imports, primarily from refineries in Texas and Louisiana, eastern Canada and Europe, to help meet demand.

"What is truly extraordinary and really the main barometer of this Colonial Pipeline disaster is the spread action," Hemsworth said. "Right now logistics are limiting the supply at the futures contracts’ deliverable point. You realize how dependent we are on our infrastructure."


Comment by Howard on July 17, 2015 at 4:36am

Alberta Pipeline Leak Covers 16,000 Square Metres (Jul 15)

One of the largest leaks in Alberta history today spilled 5 million litres of emulsion from a Nexen Energy pipeline at the company's Long Lake oilsands facility south of Fort McMurray.

The spill covered an area of about 16,000 square metres, mostly within the pipeline corridor, the company said. Emulsion is a mixture of bitumen, water and sand.

The pipeline that leaked is called a "feeder" and runs from a wellhead to the processing plant.

Peter Murchland, public affairs manager for the Alberta Energy Regulator, said officials were notified late Wednesday and had staff onsite Thursday to work with Nexen.

"My understanding is that the pipeline and pad site had been isolated and shut-in earlier today, effectively stopping the source of the release," Murchland said

Nexen has contained the leak and started cleaning up the area, he said. There was no word on how long that might take.


Comment by Derrick Johnson on May 20, 2015 at 8:53am

Broken pipeline spills oil into ocean off Santa Barbara

(Photo: Kenneth Song/The News-Press via AP)

GOLETA, Calif. — An estimated 21,000 gallons of crude oil dumped into the ocean from a broken pipeline just off the central California coast before it was shut off on Tuesday, creating a spill stretching about 4 miles along the beach, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Santa Barbara County health officials have shut down Refugio State Beach, the central site of the spill, though many had abandoned the site already because of the foul smell.

That smell brought county firefighters to the beach earlier in the day to discover the spill.

"They found about a half-mile slick of dark, black crude oil in the ocean," fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said.

They traced the oil to the onshore pipeline that spilled into a culvert that ran under the U.S. 101 freeway and through a storm drain into the ocean.

A few hours later the pipeline had been shut off, but the spill had stretched to about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) of beach for about 50 yards (45 meters) out into the water, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Andrea Anderson.

The 24-inch (60-centimeter) pipeline is owned by Plains All American Pipeline, which said it shut down the flow of oil and the culvert carrying the oil to the ocean was blocked.

"Plains deeply regrets this release has occurred and is making every effort to limit its environmental impact," the company said in a statement.

The scenic stretch of coastline about 20 miles northwest of the pricey real estate of Santa Barbara is dotted with state-run beaches that are popular with campers, and the spill comes just a few days before the Memorial Day holiday weekend and subsequent summer camping season begin.

The stretch of coastline is also home to many oil rigs and drilling operations, and small amounts of tar and seepage show up on beaches, but in much smaller amounts.

The Coast Guard, county emergency officials and state parks officials had begun cleaning up the spill.

Boats from the nonprofit collective Clean Seas were being used in the cleanup.

There was no immediate estimate of how long the cleanup might take.

The Santa Barbara-based Environmental Defense Center said such a spill was inevitable with coastal oil development, but still unwelcome.

"To see this level of spill into such a sensitive and treasured environment is devastating to watch," the EDC said in a statement. The group expressed special worry for the many species of whale that migrate through the area.

Sierra Club California Director Kathryn Phillips said, "Every time we hear about an oil spill, we hold our breath and hope it won't get worse."

The spill came on the same stretch of coast as a 1969 oil spill that was the largest ever in U.S. waters at the time and is credited for giving rise to the modern American environmental movement. Several hundred thousand gallons from a blowout on an oil platform were spilled, and thousands of sea birds were killed along with many marine mammals.

It was later surpassed in size by 1989's Exxon Valdez spill off Alaska and the 2010 Gulf oil spill off Louisiana.


Google Maps

Comment by Corey Young on July 24, 2013 at 5:34pm

Hey @Howard,

I find it completely disgusting that CNRL has ceased operating this heavy oil line in the wake of what they have found! The reason this continues is profit motive and nothing else....a basic background of proper reactionary measures include:

-CNRL Operators (of the pipeline) would have been notified the moment that the pipeline pressure decreased in the whole pipeline section / at a certain point. This is a result of the technology available to them in the operating rooms.

-Protocol for such an event would result in the 'Shuitting In' of the line itself (removing the back line pressure to push oil down the line) and different sections of the pipeline itself would have been closed off for further safety concerns.

-CNRL would then get tanker trucks to unload as much oil off the line through batteries located along the route (thereby decreasing the amount of oil in the line) allowing for a cleanup crew to go in and drain the pipe on site

-CNRL would send a 'PIG' down the line to clean the line, then send another 'PIG' to electromagntically detect the anomoly and the point at which the anomoly was causing the problem

-Finally they would decommission the pipe to fix the section so that the problem would not arise again (by bringing it back above ground / water, cutting it and welding another piece to it)

What gets me is that they probably thought about doing a quick fix and not the proper it is leaking again....Profit motive > Environmental Motive in any company...its sickening. Why this isn't national news is beyond y comprehension!

Comment by Howard on July 24, 2013 at 4:14am

Alberta Oil Spills Remain Unexplained and Out of Control (July 23)

9 weeks ago, an oil leak started at a tar sands extraction operation in Cold Lake, Alberta, and it's showing no signs of stopping.

Four recent oils spills at the oil sands extraction site in Canada’s eastern Alberta province are still leaking oil into the ground and officials don't have any clue of what is causing the spillage. The area spillage area covers an area of 13.7 hectares (about 34 acres). The spillage is difficult to access because it is underneath a body of water, where it is seeping onto vegetation and wildlife. Dozens of animals, including loons and beavers, have been killed, and some 60,000 pounds of contaminated vegetation have been removed.

On Friday, the Toronto Star reported that an anonymous government scientist who had been to the spill site—which is operated by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.—warned that the leak wasn't going away. "Everybody [at the company and in government] is freaking out about this," the scientist told the Star. "We don't understand what happened. Nobody really understands how to stop it from leaking, or if they do they haven't put the measures into place." The Star reported that 26,000 barrels of watery tar have been removed from the site.

The impacted area spans some 30 acres of swampy forest. According to the Star, pictures and the documents provided by the scientist show that dozens of animals, including loons and beavers, have been killed, and some 60,000 pounds of contaminated vegetation have been removed. (You can see the pictures at the Star's website.)

Curran confirmed the leak was ongoing as of Tuesday afternoon and said AER was working with the company on a plan to contain the damage. He added that he couldn't make a firm assessment of what caused the leak until after AER had completed its investigation. "We don't get into probable causes," he explained. But he did say that AER was concerned, adding that the leak was "very uncommon—which is why we've responded the way we have."

On May 21, something went wrong at the Primrose site. According to Curran, springs of watery bitumen started popping up, seeping out of the earth. When the first three appeared, AER shut down nearby steam injection. When a fourth appeared in a body of water close by, AER shut down all injection within a kilometer of the leaks, and curtailed adjacent steaming operations. "The first three are just leaking right there at the surface," Curran says. "Small cracks in the ground, just kind of bubbling out."

It's unclear what long-term consequences might result from the spill. "They don't know where this emulsion has gone, whether it has impacted groundwater," says Chris Severson-Baker, managing director of the Pembina Institute, a nonprofit group that studies the impacts of tar sand mining. According to Severson-Baker, the question is what will happen if the geology at Primrose is to blame. "[If] the problem is inherent to the project itself, are they going to remove the permits for the project?" Even so, he claims the damage might already be done. "At this point, what can actually be done to prevent the impact from continuing to occur? I don't think there is anything that can be done."


Comment by Howard on July 30, 2012 at 11:49pm

Another Enbridge Oil Pipeline Ruptures - this time in Wisconsin (July 27) -

Canada’s Enbridge Inc. raced on Sunday to repair a major pipeline that spilled more than 1,000 barrels of oil in a Wisconsin field, provoking fresh ire from Washington over the latest in a series of leaks.

The spill on Friday, which comes almost two years to the day after a ruptured Enbridge line fouled part of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, has forced the closure of a major conduit for Canadian light crude shipments to U.S. refiners and threatens further reputational damage to a company that launched an over $3 billion expansion program just two months ago.

Enbridge said it intended to begin repairs to Line 14 late on Saturday after making “excellent progress” in clean-up, allowing for visual inspection of the line. But it still did not know what had caused the incident and provided no estimated on when the 318,000 barrels per day Line 14 might resume service.

An image of the site posted on Enbridge’s website showed a patch of damp, blackened earth near a stand of trees about one-third the size of a football field. It found some oil on two small farm ponds, but said they did not connect to moving waterways and that drinking wells did not seem to be affected.

Although the spill appeared to be relatively small and quickly contained, it comes at a delicate time for Enbridge, which suffered another leak in Alberta, Canada a month ago and endured a scathing report from U.S. safety regulators over its handling of the Michigan incident in 2010, with employees likened to the “Keystone Kops” for their bungled response.

“Enbridge is fast becoming to the Midwest what BP was to the Gulf of Mexico, posing troubling risks to the environment,” U.S. Representative Ed Markey, the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement.

“The company must be forthcoming about this entire incident, and deserves a top-to-bottom review of their safety culture, procedures and standards,” said Markey, an outspoken critic of increasing imports of Canada’s heavy oil sands crude.

Just two months ago, Enbridge kicked off one of the most sweeping expansions in its history, announcing a multibillion-dollar series of projects aimed at moving western Canada and North Dakota oil to Eastern refineries and eliminating costly bottlenecks in the U.S. Midwest.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which has the authority to prevent Enbridge from restarting the line, said it had launched an investigation. Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are also on site, Enbridge said in a statement.

Line 14 is a 24-inch diameter pipe that was installed in 1998, making it a relatively new line. Enbridge said it had been inspected twice in the past five years.


In most cases, smaller pipeline leaks can be repaired quickly, although regulators may require significant work if they find any cause for alarm. Following the leak in Michigan two years ago, one line was shut for more than two months.

Enbridge said two landowners had been affected and that one family had been relocated for their safety and comfort, but that most of the spill was restricted to the pipeline right-of-way. It kept its estimate of the spill at around 1,200 barrels -- about as much as would fit in six very large oil tanker trucks.

“The house right next to where the pipeline broke got covered with oil,” said Patrick Swadish, who lives just about a mile northwest of the spill site in a rural area of mostly farmland about 80 miles north of the college town of Madison.

Oil trucks, Enbridge vehicles and about a dozen crews were working in the area, which had been cordoned off by sheriff deputies. Local law enforcement officials said they had been told it may take up to 30 days to clean the area.

Enbridge also said it had briefly shut down two larger adjacent lines -- the 400,000 bpd Line 61 and the 670,000 bpd Line 6A -- but both were pumping again within a day. Together with Line 14, they form the backbone of Lakehead, a 2.5 million bpd network that is the main route for Canadian exports.

Another line, the 180,000 bpd Line 13, which carries diluent from Chicago to Edmonton, Alberta, would be restarted once it was confirmed it had not been impacted by the release, it said.


Just weeks ago, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board blasted Enbridge’s handling of the July 2010 rupture of its Line 6B near Marshall, Michigan, which led to more than 20,000 barrels of crude leaking into the Kalamazoo River.

The NTSB said it found a complete breakdown of company safety measures, and that Enbridge employees performed like “Keystone Kops” trying to contain it. The rupture went undetected for 17 hours.

U.S. pipeline regulators fined it $3.7 million for the spill, their largest ever penalty.

The incidents, plus the most recent spill in Alberta, have caused furor just as the company seeks approval for its C$6 billion Northern Gateway pipeline to Canada’s West Coast amid staunch opposition from environmental groups and native communities that warn against oil spills.

Comment by Derrick Johnson on June 20, 2012 at 7:14pm

Thanks Kojima for posting the maps

These pipeline breaks are on the west side of the line of lakes from Lake Superior to the Great Bear Lake which are there because the land is pulling apart. The dropped quakes earlier this year happened just to the east of this line and now pipeline breaks to the west.

Comment by KM on June 20, 2012 at 2:51pm

Would not be surprised if there were more incidences of spills that are being covered up elsewhere.  These spills are pretty major and with the bow of the north American Plate happening would think spills of this kind would be on the increase.

Comment by Kojima on June 20, 2012 at 10:28am

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