Up To 5,000 Gallons Of Crude Oil Spilled From Montana Pipeline

LAUREL, Mont. (AP) -- As much as 5,000 gallons of crude oil spilled Friday from a ConocoPhillips pipeline south of here near the Yellowstone River.

Cool temperatures helped cool the oil, which was partially absorbed into a gravel parking lot, and none of it reached the river, officials said.

The oil spurted from a large pipeline valve that comes out of the ground and resulted from some sort of mechanical failure, said Laurel Fire Chief Terry Ruff.

He said oil company estimated 4,500 to 5,000 gallons spilled in an area where the pipeline runs above ground for about 30 feet. The oil was contained in an area about 200 feet by 25 feet, he said.

Colley said the cold, windy weather reduced the possibility of fire but fire crews remained at the scene.

A fire crew from the Laurel refinery sent a foam truck and its hazardous materials team, and some of the oil was soaked up with sand.

A cleanup crew from ConocoPhillips planned to use a front-end loader to remove the oil-gravel-sand mixture.

Ruff said the hydrogen sulfide gas from the oil could have posed a major danger, but ``the wind helped immensely'' to dissipate the gas.