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Tesoro Bakken Refineries Unaffected by Oil Pipe Spill, CEO Says

Tesoro Corp.'s two refineries handling Bakken crude in North Dakota and Washington state were not affected by the company's controversial pipeline spill late in September in a wheat field northeast of Tioga, ND, Tesoro CEO Greg Goff said last Thursday during a quarterly earnings conference call.

While reporting a sharp drop in year-over-year quarterly earnings, Goff said Tesoro High Plains Pipeline LLP recently restarted the segment of the pipeline that spilled 20,600 bbl of crude oil. For 3Q2013, he said Tesoro had net income of $99 million, or 72 cents/diluted share, compared with $273 million, or $1.52/diluted share, for the same period last year.

Regarding the pipeline spill, Goff said that Tesoro continues "to work with the landowner, regulators and local, state and federal officials to remediate the site and investigate the incident," which caused some consternation because of the delay of Tesoro and North Dakota officials in making it public.

At the end of October, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a safety order to the Tesoro pipeline in response to the rupture (see Shale Daily,Nov. 4). PHMSA has required the company to complete a number of short- and long-term system-wide improvements to protect people and the environment.

There are no legal requirements that the state disclose spill information publicly, but the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources and other state officials are facing criticism about the Tesoro leak, which was discovered Sept. 29 but only became public 11 days later through an Associated Press report (see Shale Daily,Oct. 28).

The spill did not affect supplies from the Bakken that flow regularly to Tesoro's refineries at Mandan, ND, and Anacortes, WA, Goff said.

In response to a question on the Bakken, Goff said prices for Bakken crude have been "very, very attractive," and Tesoro should capture those advantages in its 4Q2013 results. "Our Bakken [Mandan] refinery is running 100%, and we're taking large quantities there and to Anacortes," he said.

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