BOUNTIFUL - If Tesoro is allowed to build its proposed 135-mile pipeline from the Uinta Basin to refineries in south Davis County and Salt Lake City, it will take the equivalent of 250 trucks off the road, a company spokesman said.
The pipeline as proposed would be 12 inches in diameter and will travel through four south Davis cities. It’s being designed to handle 60,000 barrels a day of waxy crude oil.
Preliminarily, plans call for the pipeline to come over the Wasatch Mountains between the Bountiful LDS temple and the Bountiful High “B” on the hillside in the northern portion of the city. If built, it will travel west on 400 North, eventually meeting Redwood Road.
But Michael Gebhardt, vice president of business development for Tesoro said the route has not been finalized.
Public hearings on the pipeline will be held next week and again in December.
On Thursday, Feb. 20, a public hearing will be held at Bountiful High School, 695 S. Orchard Drive from 6-8 p.m. That is on the heels of one held on Feb. 19 in Heber City.
“It will be an opportunity for the public to look at the Environmental Impact Statement,” Gebhardt said.
“We will have stations for education manned by experts and an opportunity for people to provide input.”
Some of the pipeline would traverse U.S. Forest Service land. However most of it would be built on private property and would follow existing pipeline and utility lines, including a Questar line and the Kern River Pipeline.
“We want to maximize using right-of-ways that exist wherever we can,” Gebhardt said.
He sees the pipeline as an alternate way to get the waxy crude oil from Duchesne County to the Salt Lake area refineries, a way that will mean 250 fewer trucks daily on Utah highways, cutting emissions from the trucks and taking some of the wear and tear off the roads.
Not everyone is happy with the proposal. Some residents fear if approved, the pipeline will facilitate even greater expansion for the nearby refineries, increasing south Davis’ dirty air despite the decreased truck travel.
Others fear further damage caused to the hillside and cities as the pipeline is installed.
Tesoro is in the early planning stages of the project and doesn’t expect a final Environmental Impact Statement for another year, Gebhardt said.
Within the past couple of years, area refineries have increasingly turned their attention to processing the waxy crude oil that Gebhardt said is lower in sulphur.
“At room temperature it’s a little bit like shoe polish or peanut butter,” he said.
It’s processed mainly for use in petrochemical feedstock that is organic compounds such as ethelyne. It’s also used as a lubricant or as gasoline or diesel fuel, Gebhardt said.
He said refineries are looking at what crude oils are available and weighing the environmental and economic factors to decide what crude oils to process.
“Over the last couple of years refineries have made investments to process waxy crude,” he said.