Through our logistics business, we transport crude oil, refined products and natural gas to and from refineries and storage facilities. The safety of our people and the residents living in the communities where we transport or store our feedstocks, fuel or other products through pipelines, storage facilities, rail cars and trucks is a top priority.
We employ a number of industry best practices, internal policies and standards that promote the safe operation of our transportation assets and facilities. We also constantly evaluate and implement improvements in our assets and processes. For example, in 2015, we removed a closed pipeline from a river crossing in Utah in order to minimize any residual spill risk to the environment.
As part of our commitment to pipeline safety, we operate a central pipeline control center that provides constant monitoring of our pipeline operations. To reduce road accidents, we have a truck driver training program and remote monitoring of fleet vehicles, which allows fleet managers to remotely identify, assess and correct driving behaviors.
Tesoro has proactively led the industry in the safe transport of crude oil via rail. We worked collaboratively with tank car manufacturers to develop enhanced rail cars that surpass regulatory standards. Many of these new tank cars were put into service in 2015. These enhanced tank cars will service the rail facility located at our Anacortes, Washington refinery and the proposed Vancouver Energy Terminal in Vancouver, Washington (joint venture with Savage Services).
Establishing Safe Harbor in Alaska’s Cook Inlet
Since 1969, Tesoro has operated the Kenai Refinery located on the Cook Inlet, 60 miles southwest of Anchorage. In 2015, we helped launch the Cook Inlet Harbor’s first-ever Harbor Safety Committee, an organization responsible for planning and implementing operational and environmental practices beyond the regulatory requirements. This includes the development of various safety, efficiency and environmental standards. A risk assessment funded by Tesoro found that the Cook Inlet Harbor did not have a Harbor Safety Committee in place. Without it, the harbor had no disaster plan or guidance document to reference in case of an emergency.
Tesoro was approached by the Regional Citizens Advisory Council (RCAC) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to help create such a plan. Tesoro leadership organized a meeting of stakeholders — 80 representatives in all — from the USCG, the RCAC, the Southwest Alaska Pilots Association, the Port of Anchorage, the Alaska Department of Environmental Quality and local environmental groups, among others.
The group ultimately decided that the creation of a Harbor Safety Committee was in the best interests of the port and those who rely on it. With Tesoro’s guidance, a project budget was developed, members were identified and a launch timeline was established. A fourth initiative, the drafting of a Harbor Safety Plan, is currently underway in collaboration with the USCG and others.
In addition to establishing Standards of Care and best practices for maritime operations in Cook Inlet, the Harbor Safety Committee also provides an important forum for a variety of stakeholders to be heard. As the technology that drives our industry continues to evolve, so too must the operational and environmental practices that guide us. For Tesoro, that means involving all community voices.