Bloomberg News

Exxon Shuts Montana Pipeline Carrying Crude to 2 Refineries

July 02, 2011

(Updates with comments starting in the second paragraph.)

July 2 (Bloomberg) -- Exxon Mobil Corp. shut a pipeline carrying crude oil to at least two refineries after the line leaked into the Yellowstone River in Montana.

The company “isolated the segment” where the release occurred earlier today from the 12-inch line operated by Exxon Mobil Pipeline Co., Kevin Allexon, a company spokesman, said in an e-mail.

The pipeline runs about 70 miles (112 kilometers) from Silvertip in south-central Montana to Billings, where it supplies a 60,000-barrel-a-day Exxon Mobil refinery and a 61,000-barrel-a-day refinery operated by ConocoPhillips, according to Bloomberg data.

Flow rates, carrying capacity and customers using the pipeline won’t be released and is considered confidential, Allexon said.

The cause of the spill near Silvertip isn’t known and is being investigated, Exxon spokeswoman Rachel Moore said in an earlier e-mailed statement.

“We are not going to speculate” on how much oil escaped into the river, Moore said. “Right now our focus is on containing the crude release and getting it cleaned up.”

The fire department of nearby Laurel, Montana, evacuated some homes amid concern of possible explosions, Moore said.

Oil flowed from the pipe for about 30 minutes before it was stopped, the Associated Press reported earlier, citing Pam Malek, an Exxon spokeswoman.

Exxon’s Billings facility is one of seven refineries it operates in the U.S. The site produces about 450 million gallons of gasoline each year and other products, including diesel fuel and propane, from crude it buys in Wyoming and Alberta, Canada, according to its website.

ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil company, produces gasoline, diesel fuel and other transportation fuels at the Billings facility for customers in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Washington, according to the company’s website.

--Editors: Theo Mullen, Sylvia Wier

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Hart in Washington at dahart@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sylvia Wier at swier@bloomberg.net


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