A gasoline tank leak by Magellan Midstream is the largest reported spill caused by Hurricane Harvey near Houston after Magellan revised the spill amount by more than 10 times the initial estimate.
The Oklahoma-based pipeline business confirmed Monday it spilled nearly 11,000 barrels – more than 460,000 gallons – after initially estimating the Aug. 31 incident at 1,000 barrels. Magellan admitted “a small amount” of the fuel entered the Houston Ship Channel and more of the gasoline flowed into an adjacent ditch.
Harvey-related flooding caused the storage tank flooding at Magellan’s Galena Park terminal east of Houston by Hunting Bayou and the Buffalo Bayou portion of the Houston Ship Channel.
“Once Magellan representatives were able to assess the volume of the release caused by Hurricane Harvey, we promptly revised the volume and notified appropriate federal and state regulators,” Magellan spokesman Bruce Heine said Monday. “Magellan representatives and environmental experts quickly responded to the release by spraying the fuel with foam to suppress any harmful vapors.”
Heine did not respond to further questions about why there was such a wide discrepancy from the original estimate, except to repeat the previous statement.
Magellan blamed the leak from two storage tanks on Harvey’s floodwaters, citing the huge impact that Harvey had on the entire energy sector along the Texas Gulf Coast. “The specific case of the tank release is under investigation at this time,” he added.
Indeed, flooding from Harvey triggered numerous other leaks from oil and petroleum products storage tanks, including collapsed storage tank roofs from the volume of the water. Exxon Mobil, Valero Energy, Kinder Morgan and Phillips 66 all reported incidents in the Houston area. Harvey knocked out nearly 25 percent of the nation’s oil refining capacity to churn out gasoline and other fuels.
But the volume of the leak separates the Magellan incident. Magellan is one of the largest pipeline operators in Texas and had another recent incident int he Austin area. Magellan’s Longhorn oil pipeline that runs from the Permian Basin to Houston burst in July outside of Austin, leaking nearly 90,000 gallons of oil in Bastrop County.
As for the most recent Harvey incident, Magellan said the incident was contained, but that the work isn’t done.
“Federal and state regulators have been on-site during the recovery and clean-up procedures. Clean-up activities at the facility are continuing and we are currently removing and replacing affected soil,” Heine added.
This first appeared on the Houston Chronicle – an Energy Voice content partner. For more click here.