By Sarah Pridgeon
Oneok Partners have conducted an additional geological field survey of the Spearfish Formation, says Brad Borror, Supervisor of External Communication. The survey was commissioned in response to landowner concerns about the geological safety of the proposed route of the Bakken Pipeline.
The survey was conducted by Ground Engineering Consultants (GEC) of Colorado, a third party firm with expertise in geological field studies, Borror explains. GEC walked the proposed route through the Spearfish Formation, focusing on the portion from I-90 to Newcastle, mapping existing sinkholes down to those a few inches in diameter.
The survey concluded, according to Borror, that the terrain is not unique to Northeast Wyoming and is, in fact, similar to a number of others across the country through which pipelines are “built every day.” Oneok Partners itself operates a pipeline across similar terrain in western Oklahoma, confirms Borror, and has done so safely and successfully for years.
Oneok is confident, says Borror, that landowner concerns over the geological safety of the area can be mitigated through the use of best practices during both construction and operation. The pipelines themselves, he continues, are furthermore designed and integrity tested to withstand the opening of a new sinkhole up to 100 feet in span.
Once the Bakken Pipeline is up and running, normal operation will include 24-hour surveillance from the monitoring station, says Borror. Oneok will also fly the route every two weeks to look for any changes to the landscape that require further investigation on the ground.
PICK UP A COPY OF THIS WEEK’S SUNDANCE TIMES FOR THE REST OF THE STORY!