| NEW YORK
NEW YORK May 24 Two oil companies that ship
crude oil on Enbridge Energy Partners LP's North Dakota
pipeline system filed motions with federal energy regulators
this week over their concerns about Enbridge's proposal to limit
the amount of potentially deadly gas in crude oil shipped on the
Restrictions on sulfide gas limits in crude would put a
crimp in the business operations of companies that ship oil on
the line, Marathon Petroleum Corp and Murex Petroleum
Corp said in the motions.
On May 8, Enbridge had filed a request with the U.S. Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to restrict the amount of
hydrogen sulfide gas in crude shipped on its pipeline as soon as
the next day, citing concerns about the safety of its employees
handling the crude.
The request was filed three days after Enbridge found
dangerous amounts of sulfide gas in one of its storage tanks at
its Berthold, North Dakota, rail terminal that ships oil out of
the Bakken shale. The company threatened to shut the 80,000
barrel-per-day terminal if it could not limit the amount of
sulfide gas shipped on the line.
Marathon filed on Wednesday a so-called motion to intervene
in Enbridge's request to FERC, saying the new hydrogen sulfide
specification could adversely affect its crude oil suppliers.
Marathon ships crude to its refineries on Enbridge's line.
Murex Petroleum Corp had a stronger objection in its filing
late on Thursday, saying that before setting guidelines Enbridge
should explain how so much sulfide gas was in one of its tanks.
On May 15, Hess Corp filed a standard motion to
intervene in the proceeding. Plains Marketing, a unit of Plains
All American Pipeline, filed an objection to Enbridge's
request two weeks ago.
In small doses, hydrogen sulfide will irritate eyes, nose
and throat. But the company said it found 1,200 ppm (parts per
million) in one of its tanks.
"Exposure at 50 ppm or above could cause shock, convulsions,
coma or death," Enbridge said in a May 14 filing in response to
Plains, noting that at levels above 200 ppm, "respiratory
failure can occur within seconds after only a few inhalations."
Enbridge sought to limit to 5 ppm the amount of sulfide gas
in the crude.
Last week Enbridge said it would accept crude oil containing
high levels of sulfide gas with advance notice, if it can safely
accommodate the oil.
The company also said should it receive crude with sulfide
gas levels of greater than 5 ppm without its prior approval, it
"reserves the right to shut down such injection facility and may
seek reimbursement for any damages caused by the unauthorized
FERC is expected to make a decision on Enbridge's request on