Home / News / Bakken News / Pipeline that leaked into Montana river was split at weld
Closeup of a weld on a steel pipe for a gas line. (Getty Images via NewsCred)

Pipeline that leaked into Montana river was split at weld

BILLINGS, Mont. — A Montana pipeline that spilled 30,000 gallons of oil had been split at the site of an exposed weld where the line crosses beneath the Yellowstone River, officials said, prompting a warning for pipeline companies nationwide to take precautions against flooding.

The damaged section of the 12-inch pipeline that crosses the Yellowstone upstream of the city of Glendive was pulled from the river Wednesday.

It will be sent to a laboratory in Oklahoma for analysis, said Tim Butters, pipeline safety administrator at the U.S. Department of Transportation. The cause of the split has not been determined.

“There are a number of different scenarios,” Butters said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “Was it metal-related? Was it external force related? All of that needs to be looked at.”

The Yellowstone spill in January contaminated water supplies for about 6,000 residents of Glendive and raised public health concerns in communities downstream in North Dakota.

The line, which was installed in 1967, is owned by Bridger Pipeline LLC of Casper, Wyoming. Company spokesman Bill Salvin said the break occurred along a section of the line between 100- and 120-feet long that somehow became exposed to the river.

Related: Broken pipeline that spilled into Yellowstone to be removed

An advisory warning pipeline companies about potential damage from severe flooding was scheduled to be published Thursday in the Federal Register. It cites the recent Yellowstone spill and several prior pipeline accidents caused by flooding or similar issues at river crossings in Iowa, Nebraska and Montana.

There are thousands of such river crossings nationwide, including at least 64 in Montana.

Federal regulations require pipelines to be buried just four feet beneath river bottoms.

Officials have said they have no plans to tighten those rules. Rather, it’s up to companies to make sure their pipelines are safe, Butters said.

Only about 2,500 gallons of oil were recovered from the January spill.

Salvin said Bridger Pipeline will begin assessing the river’s shoreline for damage once water levels drop. However, no more oil is expected to be recovered.

“We’ve recovered everything that can be recovered at this point, so it’s now what can be remediated,” he said.

This article was written by Matthew Brown from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


  1. With that said everyone and their brother has a welding rig in the oilfield

  2. I like to see how all the welds hold up in the Bakken 50yrs from now….because everyone’s a “welder” in the oil patch 😉

  3. Probably a union welder…. Bill Le Febvre

  4. Buy a truck rip the bed off and bolt a welder on it. Now your a welder!

  5. They sure take resposibility for their mistakes don’t they? Don’t even see what they have done.

  6. What about the welding inspector… isn’t that what they get paid to do

  7. Almost all pipeline welders are union, it is up to the company to test and inspect the welds and the welders certs.

  8. Probably the work of one of are old body men from carstar. Melvin Rusty Landes are you seeing this?

  9. Ignorance runs rampant amongst the uneducated

  10. Union welder will get a raise!

  11. If you read the article it was welded in the 60s.

  12. More then likely the reason it broke was due to stress on the pipe due too temp. change from being warm underground to cold in the water

  13. Welds are x rayed. Union or not. Up to the gas company for specs and xray inspection they hire

  14. Wow a weld from the 60s split!!!!! How dare a 50 plus year old weld leak!!!!!!

  15. The better question is what we’re the reports after a DDL inspection pig was ran or if they even inspected it????? The pipeline was built in 1967 that’s an old weld!!!!! The 12 inch pipe should have been caught if a DDL was shot down the line…..

  16. Ben Anderson sounds like you should have welded it

  17. First of all, thats a poopy ass cap…

  18. If you retards would read the article instead of hating on welders, maybe you’d see this pipe was installed in 1967. That 48 years ago, in case you can’t do the math.

  19. If that’s the cap it’s complete garbage

  20. That pic is not right guys. Please remove for the respect of his family

  21. Maybe every 20 years river crossings should be replaced. Sounds costly but maybe no spills.

  22. Hey, let’s stop building anything. Eventually it will all decay anyway. Oh, and we can stop growing fruits and vegetables they all eventually rot. Wait, chickens, pigs, cows all manner of livestock dies and decomposes. My God, should we not stop propagating? I mean no one lives forever. Some people just have no common sense and want to whine about anything. Lastly, stop buying computers, cell phones, TVs and any other thing made of plastic. Plastic is made from oil and it does not readily disappear.
    I thank you

  23. that looks like 8010 downhill which is brittle as hell anyway

  24. When did oil spills get reported in gallons? 545 barrels doesn’t really scare the population but 30000 gallons will

  25. A lot of people can talk smack about a weld but how many of the people who are talking smack can even make a good weld?

  26. I love all the butt hurt welders on here. Jesus guys get a grip.

  27. Must’ve been a union welder