Here are a few more articles I read while on vacation in North Dakota during September.
9/27 – Grand Forks Herald – Two years after Tioga, N.D., spill, dirty pile still dwarfs clean pile – Cleanup of the big leak north of Tioga has been underway for two years. Somewhere between one-third and one-half of the contaminated dirt had been treated.
Cost so far is about $42M.
The final consensus of how the leak happened is a lighting strike broke through the soil and ruptured the line.
The state is holding off on assessing a fine until they see how the cleanup is resolved.
This actually illustrates the approach used in the state: Monitor how a company handles cleanup and then determine the fine. This creates extra motivation to do cleanup right. Do a lousy job and get hammered by the state. Do a great job in the cleanup along with restoring the land to good condition and the penalty is reduced.
That raises a great question: is the purpose of fines to punish companies or motivate them to voluntarily do a great job of cleanup?
9/28 – Rob Port at Say Anything Blog – Oil Industry Doing Good Job With Cleanup After Tioga Pipeline Spill – Mr. Port points out the motivational impact of holding off on determining the amount of the fine. The company whose pipeline got hit by lightning is going above and beyond. Coverage above says the landowners are happy with progress and the company’s goal is to return the land to as good or better condition than it was in before the leak.
9/27 – Williston Herald paper edition – Not sure what conclusions to draw so I will just describe the front page of the Sunday paper. Top article is an implied slow cleanup of the leak north of Tioga which is the article described above but with a different title. Next two articles deal with a major layoff by Baker Hughes and then laid off workers looking for work. Final article talks about an upcoming industry conference.
Subsequent articles elsewhere said there were two conferences, both of which were well attended.
9/29 – Reuters – So far, less pain than feared as U.S. shale firms renew loans – The fear had been that shale drillers would have their credit lines slashed so far that they not only could not continue drilling but would have to liquidate assets to pay down the loans. Initial indications are few drillers are seeing cuts to their credit lines.