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Published October 16, 2013, 03:48 PM

North Dakota wants answers on ruptured pipeline inspections

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota officials are trying to determine if Tesoro Corp. knew about potential problems with a pipeline that leaked more than 20,000 barrels of crude oil in a wheat field in the northwestern part of the state.

By: JAMES MacPHERSON, Associated Press, Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota officials are trying to determine if Tesoro Corp. knew about potential problems with a pipeline that leaked more than 20,000 barrels of crude oil in a wheat field in the northwestern part of the state.

Dave Glatt, chief of the state Department of Health's environmental health section, said Wednesday that regulators want to know more about inspections conducted before the spill reported by a farmer harvesting wheat on his farm near Tioga on Sept. 29.

"We have heard they may have found some anomalies in the metal but not necessarily holes," Glatt said. "We have heard there were some potential problems identified."

Tesoro had not shared results of recent pipeline tests with the state as of Wednesday but the state intends to make a request for them soon, Glatt said. Cleanup of the 7.3-acre spill area is priority with the state at present, he said.

"We want to know the integrity of the pipeline, what kind of monitoring was in place — and we will send a formalized letter asking that when we get a breather here," Glatt said. "We're going to get answers to all these questions."

In a statement to The Associated Press, San Antonio, Texas-based Tesoro said it inspected the pipeline about two weeks before the spill was reported, using a robotic device called a "smart pig" that travels through a pipeline to search for corrosion, dents and other problems.

"We were awaiting results of the analysis of that inspection when the leak was reported," Tesoro's statement said.

The company said the 20-year-old was being "remotely monitored for pressure."

The controls we had in place did not prevent this release, and we find that unacceptable," the company's statement said. "We will install controls that will."

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